Yesterday we got a taste of what Buccaneers practices might look like this year after the first day of mini-camp showed us that this team was more competitive with each other than what we saw last year in their 5-11 campaign.

To follow up that practice, they switched up their environment by hosting Wednesday’s practice — in front of season pass holders — inside their new indoor practice facility due to lighting in the area in the early afternoon.

The Bucs have held practices and walkthroughs in their indoor facility before, but this was the first time we as the media and this many fans were both able to watch their team collectively practice since the facility had been completed.

The friendly competition — or “fun,” as linebacker Lavonte David would say — was on display yet again on Wednesday with plenty of highlights to go around, but rather than the vets being the ones to make all the plays, it was the rookies who had some of the top takeaways from Wednesday’s mini-camp practice.

Rookie Showcase

While rookie cornerback Carlton Davis has been the one making the headlines, fellow rookie cornerback M.J. Stewart has been steadily improving as well.

Though the play above was a great play that went against him, he bounced back well as the practice went on and almost had a diving interception at the end during the final scrimmage.

That’s been the main takeaway with Stewart so far. Yes, he’s been beat a handful of times here and there as he’s taken his rookie lumps. But, Stewart always seems to show that short term memory defensive backs always talk about and that is a great trait to showcase as a rookie, especially at cornerback.

He’s not getting down on himself when he gets beat. He’s learning from it.

Speaking of learning, defensive line coach Brentson Buckner was once again spending a little extra time with first round pick defensive tackle Vita Vea.

It’s clear that Buckner isn’t going to let Vea be anything less than his best. It doesn’t matter if it’s his first year, fifth year or tenth year, he’s going to push Vea.

The Bucs ran quite a bit of red zone work on Wednesday, and the offense and defense really did go back and forth trading shots, stops and scores.

On one play in particular, the offense went 5-wide but the defense played great coverage. So great, even, that it forced quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to try an errant throw, one that was tipped by rookie safety Jordan Whitehead and eventually intercepted by Isaiah Johnson.

It’s good to see Whitehead making some plays after that minor hamstring injury from rookie mini-camp.

On the flip side, Bucs rookie running back Ronald Jones had a drop in one of those red zone drills and decided to get a little extra work with his hands in after practice.

Jones was one of a few players after practice who were putting time in, by themselves, to improve. It was just another example of a handful of examples that we’ve seen already of this team putting more effort into this upcoming season.

House of Howard

When it came to the top highlights of the day, those were reserved for tight end O.J. Howard.

Howard had two great plays during the scrimmage portions of practice (shown above and below). It’s clear that 2017 was just the tip of the iceberg for how they plan to use Howard in the passing and running game. Expect more snaps from him in 2018, and more production because of it.

Make sure you’re following us on twitter @PewterReport to get all these video updates and more through each mini-camp practice.

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