Under brilliant blue skies peppered with a few stray cumulus clouds and temperatures in the mid-80’s, the newest crop of rookies took the field for the first time in 2015. The media crowd was much larger than normal as most were here to get their first glimpse of former FSU star and first round overall draft pick Jameis Winston.
The day started with some general warmups then went into the stretch period. The quarterbacks, Winston and Seth Lobato, went to the southern part of the field and worked with short passes to the tight ends.
Winston was extremely sharp with the short throws, showing nice touch and very tight spirals. Next the QB duo headed to the middle part of the field and the media had excellent sideline access to watch Winston work with a brand new crop of receivers. It was clear that the two units were unfamiliar with each other as both quarterback struggled with consistency on the more intermediate routes. The receivers had a number of drops including fifth round pick Kenny Bell who had a pass go through his hands and hit him on the face mask. The receivers were so bad at times that I joked with the Tribune’s Roy Cummings and Martin Fennelly that it looked like the old NFL Films 1976 Bucs training camp blooper reel. The only thing missing was Abe Gibron barking at players wearing his two-sizes too small white coaching shirt tucked into his also too small creamsicle coaching shorts.
Bell did make up for a few of his lapses with an outstanding deep route that completely turned cornerback Dominique Johnson in a circle. Bell used the route and his expectational speed to blow by Brown and catch a wounded duck Winston deep ball. One receiver who had an excellent day was former UCF standout Rannell Hall. Hall easily showed the best hands of the bunch and ran very precise routes. Some of Winston’s best throws of the day went to Hall.
All in all it was a mixed bag for Winston. For every outstanding throw, there was one that was off the mark. At times it appeared to me that Winston was trying too hard to show off perfect mechanics. It was also evident that the lack of work with the receivers, some of which will be unemployed by Sunday, hurt Winston, but not all of his incompletions can be pinned directly on that.
After practice head coach Lovie Smith talked about Winston’s first day.
“He can throw the football. And again, it wasn’t a perfect pass every time he threw it today, but he was just getting used to throwing the ball to our receivers. Your first practice on this field, there’s a lot that goes into that, the lead up. We didn’t have any injuries today, and again, we were able to get through the script and we’ll be able to learn quite a bit from this practice.”
Other rookie mini-camp impressions:
Along with Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet the Bucs had three other linemen on the field, including Jeremiah Warren, a 2014 undrafted free agent out of USF, Ben Gottschalk who signed with the team in early April after spending brief time on the Chiefs practice squad, and Edawn Coughman, a 26-year old who’s been a practice squad journeyman since going undrafted out of Shaw in 2011.
Among the five guys practicing – with vocal, hands-on offensive line coach George Warhop – it was Smith who stood out the most, which is good for the Bucs given his early draft selection. The 6-foot-6, 325-pound lineman looked the part of a left tackle, displaying his strong arms and ability to seal the edge during bag drills. Smith was constantly lined-up against fellow second round pick, Ali Marpet.
The former Hobart College star had good moments during drills, however, spent a decent amount of time with Warhop and other coaches in his ear, correcting his movements. There was one drill where Warhop made him start over three times, yelling at him to move his hips while driving the opponent from a low stance. Throughout the draft process, Marpet had been touted as a smart player and quick-study. He certainly fit that description on Friday, as he was seen standing by a coach and asking questions throughout the afternoon.
As for the other three lesser-known guys, Coughman looked to be the most fluid. At 6-foot-4, 309 he seemed to be the only one out there who could challenge Smith, but that’s likely because he’s the only one with prior NFL experience. Gottschalk was lining up with Marpet, participating more in the inside drills designed for guards and centers. The USF product, Warren, also looks more suited for guard, but there’s no question that the three undrafted guys face an upward battle at making the practice squad in 2015.
Defensive end George Uko looked significantly more polished than the rest of the rookie defensive linemen. During the bag drills, the former USC Trojan showed a powerful punch and quick rip move to go along with his quick feet.
Tight end Taylor Sloat, a 2014 free agent addition out of UC-Davis, was practicing on Friday looked good. Like last year, Sloat wasn’t very agile and he didn’t display much quick twitch athleticism, but the UC-Davis product showed good hands and managed to get open despite his lack of movement skills.
Tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi, who spent time with the Browns, Ravens, Redskins and Dolphins over the course of the last two seasons, looked very good during one-on-ones on Friday. Ogbuehi was signed after his performance at the Veterans Combine earlier this year and was allowed to participate in Friday’s practice. He looked bigger than his 6-foot-2, 230 pound listed size and showed off some nice athleticism. He’s in the mix as a potential “H” back.
Former Louisville Cardinals running back Dominique Brown was a standout player at the East-West Shine Game in January because of his versatility as a runner, receiver and blocker, and he showed off all three of those polished traits at Friday’s practice. For a 6-foot-2, 234 pound running back, Brown showed good foot quickness and soft hands in the early portion of practice. The Louisville product shook off Boston College linebacker Josh Keyes on a Texas route during one-on-ones, which earned him praise from the coaching staff. If Brown continues to impress, he could be a real contender for a roster spot because of his size and versatility.
Abe Gibron photo courtesy of ESPN.go
Buccaneer action photos by Cliff Welch/PR
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
PANIC BUTTON alert!!!!…(how does that sarcasm font work on PR anyway). This is all to be expected…if they had performed perfectly, it would also have been a mirage…once we get to preseason if we still see wounded ducks and dropped passes and poor hips, then I will really start looking for the phone number of that panic button installation company…
Oh….and I think the 2-sizes-too-small creamsicle outfits are sort of becoming…can we get those back?
Well buc fans I’ve been out of the country for 7 days.But I like what the bucs have done last weekend. I’d hope now that the fans give winston a chance.Go Bucs
I hate to be the Grinch or a spoil sport or the old Clint Eastwood dude that says “git off my lawn” , but I’m kinda glad this happened! Maybe we all get a healthy dose of reality.
I’m afraid everybody is about to do Winston a disservice by setting expectations too high. The guy is a rookie QB, does not know the playbook yet, and today was throwing to people that will never play in the NFL.
Pump the brakes fans. It is grossly unfair to put the onus of losing the last ten years solely on the shoulders of Winston.
He is talented, not omnipotent. He is a rookie and like all rookies will have a rookie learning curve. It makes for great headlines if he went out and never missed a throw, instead I hope the Bucs have in place a development plan that will not throw Winston to the wolves, but will bring him along at a pace that will allow him to become the QB that we never had!
He got through the first practice without someone mentioning crab legs and that’s good enough for me!
if you are expecting Winston to just walk in and instantly be perfect then you are basically a moron~this team IS and will REMAIN a project for a while…As long as players continue to improve and grow~no problem…Now if we havent seen any serious growth or progression from these guys by the end of this SEASON,then maybe its time to fret…
Not concerned in the least though. I wonder how much of it was the receivers as well who didn’t help him out.
I guess the receivers are responsible for the WOUNDED DUCKS too.
Were you there watching to call the throws wounded ducks? Even if you were, do you really get your kicks from knocking a guy on his first day of his professional career? All I ever see you do on here is bitch. Go root for the Jags or some other team.
At what point is Winston responsible for anything? Do you have a clue about what responsibility you have to the readers of this site? IMO, you’ve staked your entire career on Winston….why? Is he gonna pay your salary if he’s not who you think he is? Do you know what ‘professional integrity’ is?
I do believe Mark stated ” I wonder” which doesn’t mean it was their fault. And if you don’t like Mark’s articles on Winston don’t read them. It’s quite simple actually.
cgmasterless27- ” Bell used the route and his expectational speed to blow by Brown and catch a wounded duck Winston deep ball” That is in the article you MORON! Someone made a cynical remark. WHO THE HELL IS BASHING JW? I HAVE READ ALL THESE POSTS/ARTICLE AND DO NOT SEE ANYTHING DREADFUL. ALL OF YOUR POSTING TO BASH POSTERS WHO HAVE NOT BASHED JW IS HILARIOUS!
I don’t recall asking for your opinion dbag. I can write what I damn well please so get used to it. I’ve seen plenty bashing JW tough guy. What’s hilarious is how you think people need you to speak for them. SO again mind your own business tough guy.
Could just be the picture, but looks like Winston is not using a quick tight throwing motion. Looks like that long windup in your pic of Winston PR.
He never had good mechanics except on shorter routes. That’s part of why his intermediate and long passes get picked.
Who are any of you doubters to judge at this stage of the very beginning of the 2015 start prior to preseason camp? Go bother someone else’s web site. Don’t some of you have anything else to do like maybe trying to be a winner within yourself. It’s too early for this negative crap!
I agree with Horse and all the rest of the true BUCS fans that post here. How can any true fan have meaningful concern after Rookie Camp Day 1?? The only part of this piece that raised an eyebrow of concern or distaste was the pic of Abe Gibron taken from the 1970’s. Egads!! All of you haters just go elsewhere. I hear the Jags lost their top draft pick for the season TODAY to a freak knee injury. Those fans surely have a right to feel disgusted, go join them in their misery……
Hey, at least our picks made it through the day without a blown ACL. That really sucks for the the Jags with Fowler.
I think they should let a little air out of the ball to start off that should help a bit. Nice to hear good things of Donovan Smith. So I take it our new Offensive Coordinator made it to the practice.
New BUCS fan here guys and gals. Not sure why everyone is getting all upset at each other here over some comments that are justified and some that are not. I’ll give you a NOLE perspective to put everyone at ease for now since it’s the 1st day of rookie camp. JW has always been known as hit or miss at practice. JW has always been known to shine brightest when the lights are on and it matters most. I wouldn’t read too much into practice reports. He’s going to be hit or miss at practice, so get used to the up and down reports of his performance. Once pre-season hits and a game is played we should have a better understanding of Winston as a BUC. Again, it’s only the first day of rookie camp. Don’t get too worried or excited yet. GO BUCS!
Welcome FSU; as a fellow FSU fan, I’ve known about JW being a little hit or miss in practice, but some people on here just don’t like him so you’ll have to get used to that. AS a JW fan, I’ve caught plenty of heat from others on here, so yeah I do get defensive, but I couldn’t be happier to have Jameis on the squad. Welcome again to Buc land!
Nice to read your post and welcome FSUTBB. You’ll find some posters here will seek out any morsel of negativity in an attempt to validate their ill-conceived bias. Thirty passes on the mark will be overshadowed by one “wounded duck” not named Marcus. It’s the same folks over and over who simply want to elevate themselves from the crowd of devotees who BF47 refers to as “casual fans”. Looking forward to your insight.
Fowler news just blows- bummed for him and JAX…
As for Winston- he will continue to have supports and detractors regardless- wether it’s the media or the fans- it will likely never go away…
As for Marcus- I haven’t heard a single thing about him and his practice or if he has signed his contract or not…
negativity breeds negative results
now I can wear my creamcycle shorts again
I COULDN’T HELP BUT LOOK AT THE SECOND PIC OF WINSTON ON THE PAGE… His belly is already getting bigger and you can tell from the pick that he is throwing over a 15 yard pass as he is in his full baseball windup.
Safties are going to LOVE HIM.
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