On Friday, the first day jitters were out of the way and the real practice could begin — as much as you can say that without pads on.
The weather was much more cooperative on Friday, and the players got a good introductory feel to what late summer and early fall was going to be like in Tampa Bay — hot.
As practice began, the Bucs ran through some simple drills at about half speed. These periods of practice aren’t too exciting, but they can hold value to try to figure out what the depth chart is like early on.
According to who was taking snaps from which quarterback, the Bucs depth chart at center goes: Ryan Jensen, Evan Smith, Mike Liedktke, Ali Marpet, Alex Cappa and Demone Harris.
Yesterday we showed a clip where rookie running back Ronald Jones struggled a bit when catching the ball out of the backfield. Today Jones had a different struggle: pass protection.
Pass catching and pass protection are crucial to becoming a third down back, if that is the path Jones is on to start the season. But, as shown above, Jones needs some work in both of those areas right now.
Being a third down back is all about trust, and right now Jones has to work on gaining that trust from the coaching staff; he can’t let balls get out of his hands or a player come in to sack his quarterback.
However, Jones did pick up some coaching and looked better as the day went on, and he also had a nice catch out of the backfield in the 11-on-11 scrimmage later in the day.
Third down duties are a work in progress for the rookie back.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was once again the No. 1 quarterback, and on Friday he tested the limits of his arm with some big passes down the field to his top passing weapons.
In the clip above, Fitzpatrick recognized the one-on-one coverage that wide receiver Mike Evans had to the sideline and drop the pass in over the defender.
That was just the beginning.
After hitting Evans, Fitzpatrick decided to move up a level and took on the speed of wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
On his first attempt, as seen above, he misjudged how quickly the veteran speedster could cover ground and under threw him.
But, on his second attempt to hit Jackson deep, Fitzpatrick unleashed just about every ounce of arm strength he had and hit Jackson in stride for six points.
Ryan Griffin primarily handled the second team reps while Winston was mostly with the third team on Friday. It’s worth noting that Winston’s off day on Thursday bled over into Friday, as the suspended franchise quarterback did not have a good day. Winston has looked about as bad as we’ve seen him in a Buccaneer uniform over the last two days. It’s certainly been a whirlwind for him getting to camp and addressing the media for the first time since his suspension, but no matter what unit he’s the quarterback of, he has to be better.