One of the most compelling aspects of Bucs training camp each is that the team brings 90 players to One Buccaneer Place and only 53 end up making the final roster. Nearly half of the players that report to Tampa Bay in August will be gone by early September when the final roster cuts come.
Rookie wide receiver Kenny Bell was a fifth-round draft pick this year but is not guaranteed a roster spot, despite a solid career at the University of Nebraska. The player with the best hair in the NFL since Tiquan Underwood, knows he will have to impress the Bucs coaching staff, not just to earn playing time, but to make the 53-man roster.
Bell, who totaled 2,698 yards receiving and 21 touchdowns as a receiver, also excelled on special teams (25.0 yard avg. on kickoff returns) for the Cornhuskers, something making him attractive to the Buccaneers. The always upbeat and smiling Bell is one of the nicest guys in the Bucs camp and will endear himself to all Bucs fans who have the chance to meet him.
With multiple entries over the next four weeks, Bell will be sharing his training camp story exclusively with PewterReport.com readers in his Training Camp Diary. Follow along as Bell lives life on the bubble and works to earn a roster spot and remain a Tampa Bay Buccaneer in 2015.
WHO I AM AND WHAT I WANT TO IMPROVE ON
By Kenny Bell as told to Mark Cook
My name is Kenny Bell. I play wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I’m from Boulder, Colorado and I attended the University of Nebraska where I had the best time of my life. It was fantastic and now I’m blessed enough to have the opportunity to be here at the Bucs training camp getting to showcase some skills that I possess.
I’m just thankful for the opportunity. Saturday, was a very long day, as well as all of training camp. We get up at 6:30 a.m. every morning and the weather has been messing with us, and anytime you get weather like this, it throws off your vibe for the whole day. So we had to pack up and go to USF and we practiced later, we practiced under the lights, we practiced on turf which is all adversity for us. But as a team I think we grow from stuff like that. Because we live in Tampa Bay now and we play at Raymond James, there are going to be some games that we get wet; there is no question about that in the early season. So that’s something that we have to adjust to but we took pride in adjusting to it.
Obviously we’ve got to catch the ball better, we have to throw the ball better, and we always have to be better as a unit but for us to go out on our first day, and get flooded out like that, and no one panics and we go out and we fly around the way we did Saturday, I’m proud of our performance and I’m proud of our mentality heading into practice.
Now, making a turn around to Sunday morning, and we’re a few installs a head because we haven’t been able to practice, we’ve been installing. To come out here and practice the way we did today (Sunday), I’m very proud of our receiving core as a whole.
I had an all right day, but there are obviously things I can get better at, there’s always that something I’m going to take home and practice no matter how good or how bad. I was told a long time ago my old head coach, Bo Pellini told me, “Be a thermostat, man. You don’t ever want to be a thermometer.” You don’t want to get too high or too low. You want to set the tone and stay right there’. There are going to be bad days, this is football, there is no question about that. But there is going to be great days. But you don’t boast on those great days, and you don’t weigh on those bad ones. You pack it up, you get better and you see what you can do tomorrow and that’s exactly what I’m going to do tonight.
A goal for me every day is no dropped balls and no mental errors. That’s something that’s huge, I didn’t drop one today but I had a few mistakes and that’s unacceptable. You know, you want to make a club, you have to be able to do it right, and you have to be able to do it right from a lot of positions and that’s what is being asked of me. And that’s what’s being asked of everyone in my receiving corps with Coach Dirk (Koetter’s) offense, and it’s something that we all take pride in, but it’s also something that we need to work on every day.
As far as QB Jameis Winston, it’s a work in progress. Obviously, everything here is a work in progress. I mean, its training camp. Just like we try and get better every day, everybody tries to get better every day from quarterbacks, D-line, linebackers. As a group, as a team, we have to improve on the season last year, and that’s not something we talk about but its also something that we need improve on. We’re not naive enough to say we’ll do it the same way and be alright. So, we come out here, we do the little things right, and that’s what Jameis is trying to do. That’s what I love about him, if he does something wrong he takes responsibility for it and he fixes it, and that’s the mentality that I think everyone on the team is starting to take.
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, the beach and family time.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
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