Tampa Bay Buccaneers: What We've Learned Through Week 1 of Training Camp By Luke Easterling Aug 7, 2015 Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports Despite the valiant attempts of severe thunderstorms to wash out their first round of practices, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have gotten their 2015 training camp underway over the past week.Fans and coaches alike are getting their first look at what they hope to be a much-improved team this year, having finished with a league-worst 2-14 record in 2014.Despite last year's poor finish and failure to meet high expectations, there's plenty of hope to be found around One Buc Place. Much of that hope rests on the shoulders of Jameis Winston, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft and the team's new franchise quarterback who will be counted on as the starter from Day 1.With the first week of training camp in the books, let's take a look at what we've learned so far about this year's Tampa Bay team.Winston Is Promsing, but Still Just a RookieChris O'Meara/Associated Press Jameis Winston has had some impressive moments so far in his first NFL training camp, but as the team has moved into full-pad practices, he's also starting to show he's still a mere mortal.As PewterReport.com pointed out, Winston has struggled at times during full-team drills, as he did during Tuesday's practice:“ The team then moved into the first 11-on-11 portion of the day, and Winston struggled. His first pass, intended for Jackson on the sideline, was poorly thrown and picked off by Alterraun Verner. Then, following a short completion, Winston threw another pick, this time into the hands of Lavonte David, who undercut tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins slant route in the middle of the field. Winston ended the drill 4-for-8, including the two picks.”Winston understandably seems far more comfortable during seven-on-seven drills, but it's important to remember any rookie quarterback should be expected to have growing pains in his first NFL practices. With preseason games fast approaching, Winston will soon get his first chance to take his lumps in live competition, during which fans should expect a few mistakes.Mid-Round Draft Picks Could Contribute Plenty EarlyChris O'Meara/Associated Press It's not too common for rookies to come out of the fourth or fifth round and make an instant impact, but it looks like the Bucs have a couple of players who could do just that this season.A fifth-round pick out of Nebraska, receiver Kenny Bell has already put together an impressive training camp. Bell has rarely dropped a pass, making a few highlight-worthy grabs along the way, and seems to be developing a strong chemistry with his new quarterback, Jameis Winston.Head coach Lovie Smith noted Bell stood out in Sunday's practice, per Rick Brown of the Lakeland Ledger:“ He was productive in college. His speed, you are able to see some of it on some of the passes that he caught. Kenny can also do some things in the kicking game, whether it is returning punts or a gunner on our special teams. …We always talk to our players about doing something to be noticed and we noticed Kenny (Sunday).”Bell isn't the only mid-round pick who has turned heads, however. Linebacker Kwon Alexander—whom the Bucs traded up to grab in the fourth round—is already showing the kind of athleticism and versatility Tampa Bay's coaching staff covets.Bucs linebackers coach—and a former star at linebacker for the team himself—Hardy Nickerson says they're giving Alexander a chance to show where he fits best, per Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com:“ He's a really good football player with really good range. The main thing for us is we want guys that are versatile. We're just seeing where he fits best. Initially during the offseason he was at SAM, then he played some MIKE in the nickel package. The move was to see where he fits in best, so he's been playing some MIKE linebacker so far.”It's clear the Bucs have big plans for both Bell and Alexander, and they'll be given every opportunity to deliver from Day 1.Doug Martin Is the 'Lead Back'Chris O'Meara/Associated Press Coming into training camp, many expected the Bucs to have a committee situation at running back, with Doug Martin and Charles Sims challenging each other for the most touches, while Bobby Rainey and others fought over the scraps.But head coach Lovie Smith has already made it clear Martin will be the team's lead back, per Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times:“ Definitely a key for us. We talked about being able to establish the run. Doug will be the lead guy doing that, so it's very important that we open up some holes and let him do his thing.I don't know about 2012 and, last year, none of us performed the way we needed to. I just know Doug has been great through the offseason program. Seems like he is running hard out there right now. No complaints. Again, he, like the rest of us, plans on performing a lot better this year and he'll get an opportunity to.”After a Pro Bowl rookie season that saw him rack up nearly 2,000 total yards, Martin has been slowed by injuries over the past two seasons, all while running behind a struggling offensive line. It looks like he'll be given every chance to recapture his 2012 form this season, which will be key for an offense run by a rookie starting quarterback.Johnthan Banks Leads the SecondaryKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports When the Bucs signed Alterraun Verner in free agency last year, he was expected to fill the void as Tampa Bay's top cover man, left empty by the departure of Darrelle Revis.But it was second-year pro Johnthan Banks who established himself as the team's best corner last year, and that trend has continued into this year's training camp, says defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, per Rick Brown of the Lakeland Ledger:“ Johnthan really came on for us late in the season. He's kind of picked up where he left off over the offseason program and here in training camp as well. We're hoping and expecting big things from Johnthan as he takes another step in the maturation process. He's doing some good things, and we'll just see how he continues to develop.”Banks led the team with four interceptions last year and brings the size necessary to hang with the league's bigger receivers at 6'2", 185 pounds. It looks like the second-round pick out of Mississippi State will again be counted on by the Bucs to shut down the likes of Julio Jones, Roddy White, Kelvin Benjamin and Marques Colston this year.An Indoor Practice Facility Must Happen FastKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports After a persistent barrage of thunderstorms forced the Bucs to delay and eventually move their first scheduled practice of training camp, the clamoring for an indoor practice facility grew to a deafening degree from fans.But team co-chairman Bryan Glazer says the team has already been making progress toward building such a facility, per Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune:“ We actually are working on that right now. The architects are drawing that up. It’s a work in progress but that is going to happen. As soon as we get the drawings done we’ll give you further details.Over the years we haven’t missed too many practices. But we have been talking about this for a while now. The architects are actually drawing that up right now.”Tampa is known for routine afternoon thunderstorms throughout the summer, so an indoor facility has always made plenty of sense for the Bucs. It looks like the impact those storms have already had on this year's practice time will help move that process along.link
Luke is a bit harsh on Jameis IMO. Yes, Winston had a uneven first week, but how many rookie quarterbacks face blitzing in the first days in pads? What I find encouraging is that Winston seems to bounce back from any mistakes and just goes on from there. I’ve gone from being a Mariota supporter before the draft to solidly in this kids corner. I also am encouraged to hear reports from the vets about how well he already knows the playbook and how he works at progressions during passing downs.Another big thing that wasn't mentioned was that it appears that both Smith and Marpet are doing very well for rookies and that the game isn't too big for either of them. I really love hearing that Marpet is having success against Gerald McCoy in practice and hearing him talk about being technically sound. This is far bigger news IMO than that Lovie has made Martin the lead back.It's only been one week and we haven't yet faced off against another team, so it's not surprising that we are hearing good reports about players in the first week of camp. Heck, I hear that Josh McCown is tearing it up in Cleveland :) . Still, it's nice to hear that some undrafted players are flashing and that the defensive line is having some good practices.We'll know a lot more about this team in roughly 3 weeks.
I went to yesterday’s practice and will say that what you are seeing is not the same Winston from FSU. He is throwing late and not throwing guys open as often as he usually does. His late throws could be due to a number of things but if I had to narrow it down it would be getting adjusts to the playbook and nfl speed. He flashed those skills several times but you can tell he is trying to go through his progressions and be careful with his attempts.When this playbook becomes second nature to him then we will see the real Winston imo. Possibly even in a real setting as Jameis typically turns it up to another level. Winston looks like a rookie with promise no matter how you view it...Glennon is more consistent with his throws but he also has more time in the NFL. From what I have seen Jameis is still doing better then Glennon in 11 on 11 situations and showed he can move out of the pocket to improvise on plays.Too many dropped passes and too many fumbles. They have to address these issues as they dropped a ton of catchable balls from Jameis and all QBs. Receivers were fumbling down field often. Not sure if that's a good sign from the DBs or a bad for our WRs. I can tell you this our D swarms the ball carrier and attacks the ball trying to strip it! They go hard at it...
I don’t know that we have learned a hell of a lot. That Winston looks like a rookie? No shit.A few of the draft picks and undrafted guys are looking halfway decent? Big shcker there. I think the preseason games will be more telling. Its always good to see the guys go against the enemy, rather than there roommates.
I like how Lovie is going about handling Winston. He KNOWS Jameis struggled in college with those zone coverages b/c he ignored the check down. There’s no doubt about it because we have Evans and Jackson at 6’5 we won’t be seeing man coverage on a regular basis UNLESS we face a team with premiere corners. Develop these habits right now so when the bullets are flying next month and teams are scared to death about our 2 big guys outside they’ll want us to nickel and dime them. I expect teams to blitz too but Winston has always handled pressure well so I’m not concerned. His biggest weakness was his inability to make the easy, safe throws. Guy trusts his arm way too much and he will learn with trial and error the speed is way way different than it is in the NFL.
The only sure thing we learned, is they need a GD indoor practice facility. Could you imagine the uproar if Winston or Gerald got hurt on a sloppy field? Sure there will be sloppy fields during the season. But losing a player in practice is a different story. Its practice man. [AI]
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