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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took the field at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex for their first special teams training camp practice.
Temperatures were cooler than yesterday afternoon, but they were still in the low 90s and featured cloudy skies and high humidity. Some heavy cloud cover brought in a nice, cool breeze toward the end of the one hour and 15 minute workout.
Cornerback Juran Bolden (abdominal strain), fullback Rick Razzano (hamstring), wide receiver Larry Brackins (hamstring) and linebacker Jeff Gooch (hamstring) were in attendance, but they did not participate in the special teams workout.
Bucs special teams coach Richard Bisaccia had some help during the workout. Head coach Jon Gruden, defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, tight ends/special teams assistant Ron Middleton, running backs coach Art Valero and defensive backs coach Mike Tomlin were all out on the field on Monday afternoon to help run the special teams drills and players.
Tight ends Anthony Becht, Alex Smith, Nate Lawrie, Will Heller and Dave Moore, wide receivers Edell Shepherd, Paris Warren, J.R. Russell, Derrick McCoy, Chris Davis, Kevin Youngblood, DeAndrew Rubin and Derrick Lewis, offensive linemen Jeb Terry and Kevin Fischer, running backs Earnest Graham and Derek Watson, and fullback Jameel Cook were the offensive players participating in the special teams workout.
Linebackers Ryan Nece, Barrett Ruud, Marquis Cooper, Bam Hardmon and Josh Buhl, safeties Jermaine Phillips, Dexter Jackson, Will Allen, Donte Nicholson, Hamza Abdullah, Kalvin Pearson and Claudius Osei, cornerbacks Torrie Cox, Ronyell Whitaker, James Patrick, Kevin Arbet and Blue Adams and defensive linemen Dewayne White, Delbert Cowsette, Josh Savage, Bryant McNeal, Jon Bradley and Lynn McGruder were all of the defensive players participating in the special teams practice.
Kickers Matt Bryant and Todd France, and punters Josh Bidwell and Brian Simnjanovski were also in attendance. Neither Bryant nor France attempted any field goal attempts during this practice. They did, however, do some onside kicks and kickoffs.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the special teams practice was the players missing from the workout, including wide receivers Michael Clayton and Ike Hilliard, rookie running back Cadillac Williams, linebacker Shelton Quarles and cornerbacks Ronde Barber and Brian Kelly, all of whom have made an impact on special teams for the Bucs in the past or were mentioned as possible candidates to contribute this season.
The Bucs lost their three top special teams tacklers from a year ago – Keith Burns, John Howell and Corey Ivy, and they expect some of their younger players, preferably some of their draft picks from the past two seasons, to step up in their place this season.
Rubin, who led the nation in kickoff return average at one point while returning kickoffs and punts for South Florida, fielded more punts than any of the players on the field for this workout. Shepherd, Cox, Smart and Lewis joined him.
The players fielding kickoffs for the Bucs were Rubin, Shepherd, Lewis, Russell, Davis and Youngblood.
Whitaker, Arbet, Adams and Cox saw extensive playing time as gunners during the afternoon special teams practice.
Moore handled most of the long snapping duties.
This special teams practice, which was the first of this training camp, wasn’t as intense as the sessions held during the padded practices. Bisaccia and Co. focused more on teaching the players where to line up, different responsibilities and refining their technique in certain situations.
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