Under another perfect Florida spring afternoon, 55 rookie Buccaneers took to the manicured, golf-course quality practice fields behind One Buccaneer Place in hopes of impressing the staff and getting a head start on learning offensive and defensive play books. Former Buccaneers great and Ring of Honor member Jimmy Giles was in attendance, along with a large contingency of media members, including ESPN’s Michelle Steele and the NFL Network’s Jeff Darlington.
The format for Saturday’s practice was pretty much the same script as Friday. The day started off with some general warmups then went into the stretch period. After breaking into individual groups, quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Seth Lobato went to the south end of the practice field and spent time working with short passes to the running backs and tight ends.
Offensive line coach George Warhop and his group of rookie linemen spent the entire first hour of media viewing on the far east end of the practice fields, behind a storage building. The media was allowed to walk down that sideline and PewterReport.com had a good vantage point of Warhop drilling his troops. Listening to Warhop you get the impression of a drill sergeant minus the profanity-laced tirades. Warhop’s booming gravely voice travels well and it was easy to hear his instructions as the players ran through the drills. At one point Warhop corrected second-round draft pick Donovan Smith on a down field blocking drill.
“Stay nice and tight all the way through!” Wathop barked. “Don’t open yourself up.”
Donovan earned praise the next time through the drill.
The offensive line drills were fast-paced, going from the blocking sleds, to one-on-ones to combo double-team and linebacker release drills. Warhop and the offensive line came under fire after last season’s performance, and rightfully so – but it wasn’t from a lack of coaching. The Bucs have their fingers crossed Ali Marpet and Donovan Smith will be plug-and-play Day 1 starters this season.
Next, the quarterbacks came back towards the middle of the field where Winston and Lobato alternated reps throwing short and intermediate passes to the wide receivers. Winston, who struggled with accuracy on Friday was nearly perfect in this drill, which consisted mainly of skinny posts. Winston looked assertive and only misfired on one pass attempt.
Later the cornerbacks joined the receivers for some one-on-one action with Winston working in one group and Lobato in the other. Winston had a handful of misfires but also some outstanding passes. Seeing him up close, it is easy to see his above average arm strength. He doesn’t have a Doug Williams cannon arm, but more than adequate spin on the ball that’s especially impressive on the deep outs. Winston’s ball placement was almost perfect on that particular route and of the misses, they came on high passes that sailed harmlessly out of bounds. Not a single defender was able to get a hand on the ball as the passes were always to the outside, not to the inside. Thinking back, I can’t remember Winston throwing a single pick-six in college and it was clear why after watching this drill. When he misses it is never to the inside where pick-sixes often happen when defenders jump routes.
Late in the media viewing portion of practice, Winston did throw an interception. Winston threw a deep go-route to former UCF receiver Rannell Hall with Deshazor Everett in coverage. Everett did a great job of staying on Hall’s inside hip and made an outstanding play shielding Hall and high-pointing the ball for an interception. Speaking of Hall, the former UCF Knight has been the most impressive receiver, and possibly player, on the rookie roster. Hall has shown excellent route running in addition to terrific hands.
Head coach Lovie Smith talked about Winston’s last two days.
“He’s getting better,” Smith said. “There’s a lot to learn for all of the rookies, but for the quarterback that’s a big playbook. But he’s cramming like it’s the final exams right now, doing a good job. We’ve seen marked improvement from the moment we gave him his playbook. Jameis is a bright guy and he’ll get it all.”
The defensive ends worked on the far right field doing one-on-one rush drills. Undrafted free agent defensive tackle Quayshawne Buckley out of Idaho stood out and looked quick off the ball, earning a lot of praise from defensive line coach Joe Cullen.
Undrafted free agent defensive lineman Caushaud Lyons out of Tusculum has good size at 6’5, 295 pounds but had trouble with his hands and shedding the blocker. UFA defensive end Ryan Delaire struggled with his stance, but got praise from Cullen after showing great explosiveness and speed off the snap.
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@example.com
DT Quayshawne Buckley is from Idaho not Iowa.
Luke Easterling thought overall, there looks to be a lot more talent at this year’s #Bucs rookie mini-camp than last year’s. Will be some intense competition.
Will PR sum up what you guys saw and who you like from the tryouts? Pretty sure Winston and the draft picks are solid. Maybe 2 or 3 tryouts stood out. Are there any UDFAs already signed that didn’t cut it? PR’s opinion, please!
hey Macabee…check this out you should apply for this and represent the bucs…
Why funkdoc19, you wouldn’t be trying to get rid of me, would you? Just kidding! And thanks for the thought, but while it sounds interesting, it also sounds like work and I’m done with that.
Actually, I understand stats and analytics, but I’ve come to really enjoy the simpler game of football. I learned something while watching games with my wife last season. Having read the CBA, the NFL rules book and everything else football, on every play I was quick to explain the rules to her.
After a while, she said “I really like football a lot more when I don’t understand the rules”. So I’m going to keep it simple – just watch the games and of course talk to you guys every once in a while.
Thanks anyway, but I’ll just see ya around! lol.
Macabee- Don’t quit your day job
I just meant that you had great insight and I enjoy reading your comments. Thought you might be good at writing more in-depth stuff. You’ve got good wit and humor…and it sounds like you’ve got time on your hands as well
I think this year we will really get to assess Warhop coaching ability with having a real OC on staff.
I’m sure last year he was more involved in other aspects than assignments and fine tuning his troops execution.
Thanks funkdoc for the link!
“When he misses it is never to the inside where pick-sixes often happen when defenders jump routes.”
6.6 yards per return on FSU’s 20 ints last year.
Which isn’t bad.
So Roland, what’s your photo analysis with the one in this article?
Much better form. Like his shorter throws usually are.
And I LOL at your post 🙂
We are starting to see that Tampa has some undrafted heroes and tampa may be better off then some teams.Go Bucs
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