After the first organized team activity Buccaneers quarterback Jeff Garcia discussed his view of the offseason. Garcia conveyed his thoughts on the new Buccaneers as well. For Garcia, not relocating teams in the offseason for the first time in four years has been valuable.
"It's a new feeling," Garcia said laughing. "I'm not trying to relocate and it's actually a great feeling to be back with a team for a second season. Hopefully now I can just concentrate on getting better. I haven't necessarily had that in the past few years. I've moved around a lot and it's been unfortunate in a lot ways. But I had to go where the opportunities were presented to me. It's just one of those things where it becomes where you get to a new system and can never really get your feet settled in. I feel good about the position that I'm in this year. Being able to come back and be an asset to this team and really helping this team to improve on the things that we did last year.
The 38 year-old Garcia, who helped lead Tampa Bay to its third NFC South division title in six seasons, is looking forward to drawing on his experience from last season in Jon Gruden's offense and hopefully making it back to the Pro Bowl.
"Being able to come out here today in my first OTA and really not miss a beat as far as calling the plays as far as executing the plays as compared to where I was last year is big," Garcia said. "My head was spinning when I heard the terminology and still trying to figure it all out. I'm not at that point. I can take off from where I am right now and build upon that. I think going to the season I just feel I'll be so much more confident and secure in how to run this system as to where I was last year, and last year things didn't go all that bad. There were a lot of positive things that were done on the offensive side. But I can do so much better for this team and we can be so much better as an offense. And that's what I'm excited about."
Garcia discussed his new teammates, a few of which he is already quite familiar with.
Center Jeff Faine, who signed a six-year, $37.5 million contract with Tampa Bay on Feb. 29, and wide receiver Antonio Bryant were teammates of Garcia in his one season in Cleveland.
Garcia acknowledged the fact that Bryant, who sat out of the NFL last year and has had some off-the-field issues, must take advantage of what could be his last chance in the NFL.
"Well I think he should be looking at this as maybe one of his last opportunities and to really learn from what's happened in the past for him, and to not go down that road again," Garcia said of Bryant. "He has tremendous ability. I played with him in Cleveland you can watch his highlight films and the guy makes plays all over the field. But there are other issues that have to be cleaned up and hopefully have been put behind him. In my experience of working with him I have nothing but positive things to say, and hopefully it'll be that way and I think it can be that way and I think he'll be a positive addition to this team"
The battery of Faine to Garcia will be back together and the Bucs' quarterback certainly has no qualms with that.
"Well Jeff was a teammate of mine in Cleveland and I think he's a great center. I think he has great abilities. He's a very athletic center, he's young, he's mobile, he's aggressive. I really felt like last year John Wade did an outstanding job playing center for our team. He was a sturdy dependable guy. It's too bad that we don't have John back here, but Jeff Faine is a great guy who can come in here and can do just as good job if not maybe grow at the position and improve the position."
In addition to his former Cleveland teammates, Garcia knows another new Buc well. That player is running back Warrick Dunn, who is back in Tampa Bay after spending six seasons in Atlanta.
"I love Warrick Dunn. Great player, great teammate, great asset to this team, Garcia said of Dunn. "He's a tremendous back, tremendous abilities, he can play any down, he can do anything for your team. With what they've relied on him at Atlanta and what he did prior to being in Atlanta right here in Tampa Bay. I know he's a fan favorite, a great guy and a great teammate. I've been fortunate enough to have met him prior to him joining the team and be around him. He's a just a first class person, and to have a guy like that with his ability to play on the field it's just a win-win situation."
Last season the Bucs tight ends caught nine touchdown passes. Even with that production the Buccaneers saw the opportunity to improve the talent around starter Alex Smith by signing Ben Troupe and John Gillmore inf free agency.
After Tampa Bay's first OTA on Tuesday Garcia liked what he saw.
"Well we have some skilled talent there at the tight end position," Garcia said. "It's very competitive. I think Ben Troupe's a very talented guy he brings some speed, the ability to get down the field. I think he'll challenge Alex [Smith] in a lot of ways. He'll push Alex. Gilmore coming from Chicago is going to be a great asset as far as a blocking tight end but also the ability to catch the football himself. I think just the quality at the position is one thing we're trying to improve upon, and create a more competitive atmosphere so that the best will rise to the top."
While some players are not fond of the offseason training regiment and choose not to participate, Garcia sees the OTAs as an opportunity.
"For me it's definitely repetition it's getting more comfortable with the plays and the terminology and for the new guys here a lot is being thrown at them real fast so they need to stay on top of things even when they're away from the facility," said Garcia. "It's just one of those things for me it's improving on last year. I want to get more comfortable and fluid with the system. Get better in my decision-making and that's what I'm trying to build on and that's what I'm trying to perfect."
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