On the schedule, this was day three of training camp for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But, if you ask those who really love the game of football, Sunday was when camp really began, as it was the first practice where the players were in full pads.

With the light green for contact on, Sunday was the day for players on the Buccaneers to really begin to proven themselves worthy of being on the final 53-man roster.

One of the players who is trying to make a name for himself on this roster is rookie cornerback Jamel Dean. Dean was at the podium for the first time before practice kicked off and said that the speed of the game is something he’s trying to master right off the bat.

On the other side of the ball, second-year wide receiver Justin Watson is likely more acclimated to the speed of the game than the first-year rookie Dean, however, acclimating to his new role in Bruce Arians offense is something Watson is learning early on in camp.

Watson spoke about what having a versatile role in Arians’ offense looks like, and why Larry Fitzgerald was his most-watched player this summer.

As Arians’ time in Arizona progressed, so did the ways in which they used their top receiver Fitzgerald. He wasn’t just an outside receiver in their system. In fact, there weren’t many receivers who played for Arians in Arizona who just played one role in the passing attack. Expect the Bucs aerial attack to be pretty versatile, and for Watson to play a bigger role now that Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson are gone.

Due to weather (shocker), the Bucs opened their afternoon practice in the indoor practice facility. While inside, we learned which players were sidelined for the day. Left tackle Donovan Smith was not practicing due to what Arians later classified as a non-serious achilles tweak. He joined Justin Evans, Jack Cichy, David Kenney, and DeMarkus Lodge and Nick Fitzgerald not practicing.

Vita & Suh Dominate Run Drills

Of the players who were practicing, the physicality was out early and often.

In the O-Line vs. D-Line drills, defensive tackle Vita Vea was seen going up against center Ryan Jensen in a great battle of strength. These two were far from the only ones going at it, but they definitely set the tone early.

Once the team broke out into 11-on-11, during the running portion of the indoor drills, Vea could not be moved in the middle. His footwork and ability to anchor look much more natural and comfortable than they did last year, and he was hard to move off his spot all practice long, no matter who he was going up against.

Speaking of dominating run blocking drills, oh my goodness, hello, Ndamukong Suh.

I’m pretty sure that was just a giant blown blocking assignment in the clip above, but whether it’s the fact that Suh was unblockable here or other plays, he really is living up to they hype early on.

Gabbert Goes Yard

Starting quarterback Jameis Winston’s day was fine. As the headline suggests, it was a back-and-forth day between offense and defense. Winston hit a few nice short to intermediate throws, but it was backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert who hit the deep passes on Sunday.

Gabbert was slinging it on Sunday. Some of the throws weren’t as pretty as they could have been, but he was fearless out there on the field. Anytime he saw his wide receivers had a one-on-one or leverage to the outside, he let it fly. He happened to connect on his big ones today, and his confidence ascended all the way through practice because of it.

Kicking Controversy (But In A Good Way!)

On Saturday, rookie kicker Matt Gay hit all ten of his field goal tries, including blasting one from 57 yards over the net.

With perfect as the bar, fellow kicker Cairo Santos stayed on par with Gay, making all nine of his kicks on Sunday, including his long one from 57 yards.

An Unfortunate Injury

Without a doubt, the worst part of camp is when we have to tweet updates like the one above. On a play where he was just trying to cover his man and came down off a jump awkwardly, safety Orion Stewart landed funny on his right knee, which caused him to go to the ground and immediately, clutching it in pain. The trainers took a look at him and carted him off right away.

All you can do now is hope it isn’t as serious as it seemed.

Defense Get The Last Laugh

Though it was an evenly matched day, when it came down to who got the last laugh, Sunday’s final tipping point went to the defense.

In the first team’s initial 11-on-11 2-minute drill, cornerback Vernon Hargeaves III undercut a route perfectly to come up with an interception on quarterback Jameis Winston.

Then, on the next series with the first team, defensive back M.J. Stewart was able to get by the offensive line for a sack. Stewart wasn’t the only extra player on the blitz today, as it seems to be true what we predicted that defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ defense is going to be aggressive on all fronts to get pressure on the quarterback.

On the next series, with the second team now in for both sides, linebacker Deone Bucannon should’ve had an interception off a throw by Gabbert to end their series with the ball, as well.

At the end of the day, Arians said it was a bit more sloppy that he would have liked it to be on the first day of pads, but also stated “good thing is we get to do this again tomorrow.”

We’ll be there to cover it all.

See you on Monday, Bucs fans.

White Watch – Backfield Production Increased on Sunday

Bucs rookie middle linebacker Devin White is entering his first NFL training camp in Tampa Bay this season. With some high expectations for the fifth overall pick in the draft, White has already been installed as the play-caller of a brand new defense. PewterReport.com will chronicle each of White’s practices during training camp in the White Watch.

While it wasn’t a bad day by any means, Sunday was a pretty quiet day for rookie Devin White, other than it being his first NFL practice in pads.

After warm-ups and the team’s opening drills, White moved over to passing drills where it’s generally just two receivers running routes over half of the field. It’s tough to make a play on defense if you’re the linebacker covering the underneath route in such a drill. this was more about positioning and recognition than it was play making.

The team then moved to 11-on-11 drills in the indoor facility, and White was free to make a little more of an impact. In the first period of 11-on-11’s, he came flying up the middle and wrapped up running back Ronald Jones for a nice tackle for loss. Soon after, the team was cleared to move outside. Team drills continued outside where White added a nice blitz off of the edge near the end of the period.

A couple of periods later the team moved to more 11-on-11 drills closer to the goal line. White was able to rack up a nice tackle holding the offense to a minimal gain on a run to the left side and a few plays later was able to shed past his blocker, Ali Marpet, and meet Ndamukong Suh and Lavonte David in the backfield for another tackle for loss, this time against Peyton Barber.

After that it was primarily sporadic reps with the first team, mostly involving White dropping into coverage. He only saw a few reps in 7-on-7’s and the remaining 11-on-11’s.

Look for the first team to get more reps and play more freely as the Bucs get more days of camp under their belt and the physicality begins to amp up.

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: trevor@pewterreport.com
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2 years ago

Trevor! Welcome back!

Captain Sly
2 years ago

Offensive Line looked real Sloppy out there today. I know that it takes a little time for the unit to gel but this group is returning all of its starters from last year, unlike the Dline with a bunch of new faces. Coach is going to have to put some fire under those boys if he wants to see what this offense can do, because Vea & Suh are wrecking the A gap. Looks one sided to me. DEFENSE is Winning!!

2 years ago

Agree, welcome back Trev!

Alldaway 2.0
2 years ago

Vea – Suh – LVD – White. That is one nasty and tough center to the defense. I will say this about the offensive line..and that is the cream will rise to the top as they WILL be tested. May the best starting five win starting gigs on the offensive line. Santos hitting that 57 yarder is a welcomed surprise. Maybe Arians and the strength and conditioning staff are onto something. If Santos avoid doing kickoffs maybe he can handle being a full time place kicker. But Gay is really putting pressure on him as he has a much higher… Read more »

2 years ago

Did anyone watch the tape of Vita Vea vs Ryan Jensen? Please re-watch that segment and notice the reaction of #65 RG Alex Cappa. It was comical. It was as if Cappa didn’t know he was supposed to be blocking too. Or maybe he didn’t want any parts of Vea. lol. Perhaps this is what BA was referring to when he said “we had some O-Linemen mess their pants today. lol. The O-Line is gonna need work – a lotta work! Go Bucs!

2 years ago

Good luck for any team trying to run between the tackles against Suh and Vea. #50 doesn’t look “fat and out of shape” Bob.

Captain Sly
2 years ago

I “messed my pants” just watching the video Macabee.lol That #50 & #93 in there is fierce it’s like JV playing against the Varsity. Honestly I don’t know how we are going to evaluate the RB’s & QB’s when the line is being dominated like that. Spence has already wrecked D Smith’s weekend, and I hesitate to think what is next. Maybe a video of Suh stepping on the chest of Benenoch while tossing Cappa into the back of the Goal Post. 😂 BA Better bring some reinforcements Quickly. Go Bucs!!

2 years ago

O line sounds like it’s picking up where it left off in the running game. So when our guys are getting stuffed again in the backfield, let’s stop pointing fingers at the RB’s.

Alldaway 2.0
2 years ago

It is not about talent sometimes it is about brains. If you miss your assignment you are going to see a bunch of gaping holes for TFL the defense to capitalize on. Bucs will start the five smartest OL on opening day even if they are not the five best. I can guarantee that because Arians will not put up with the crud of having RB’s hit in the backfield on a simple run play. A run play should be a safe play to gain 3-4 yards not be a hole for Winston to dig this team out of 3rd… Read more »

2 years ago

Funny how we haven’t heard any Vea is a fat slob and a bust comments lately lol troll