The Bucs Training Camp Diaries are an annual training camp feature on PewterReport.com and we are fortunate to have two really good players to profile in veteran linebacker Kevin Minter, who will offer up his perspective of Todd Bowles’ defense, and wide receiver Scotty Miller, the Bucs’ sixth-round pick, who will take PewterReport.com readers through the trials and tribulations of rookie life in Bruce Arians’ first training camp in Tampa Bay. Look for Miller’s and Minter’s Bucs Training Camp Diaries twice a week throughout training camp and the preseason.
Minter is in a unique position because no other Buccaneers defender knows more about Bowles’ scheme than he does, arriving in Arizona as a second-round pick out of LSU in 2013, which was the first year that Arians and Bowles coached the Cardinals. In addition to his inside linebacker duties, Minter will serve as a coach on the field, preparing Devin White, Tampa Bay’s first-round pick, to start and flourish as a rookie while Minter battles for the backup middle linebacker role behind him.
Bucs general manager Jason Licht signed Minter last year after Kwon Alexander went down with a knee injury, and Minter made an instant impact on special teams and recorded a sack against Carolina’s Cam Newton before a calf injury forced him to the injured reserve list. Minter will be challenged by Deone Bucannon, Devante Bond, Jack Cichy and newcomers Corey Nelson and Emmanuel Smith for one of the two reserve inside linebacker roles. The 28-year old Minter will have to prove he can once again cover kicks and punts, and make some splash plays on defense in the preseason to solidify a roster spot in 2019.
B.A. Wasn’t Happy With All Those Penalties
By Kevin Minter as told to Scott Reynolds
Very sad news about Steelers receivers coach Darryl Drake passing away [on Sunday]. He was our receivers coach in Arizona with B.A. (Bruce Arians).
Buc (inside linebacker Deone Bucannon) and I were talking to him before the game on Friday in Pittsburgh and he was just telling us how much he loved us and how much he missed us. When we heard the news this morning it was so eerie because of how he was talking to us. He was real affectionate and hugging us. I can’t do anything but pray for his family and pray for his people.
It did hit us hard this morning – we were all close out there in AZ (Arizona). When B.A. (Bruce Arians) came in and told us this morning it was really hard getting through that meeting.
Playing in Pittsburgh, I had five tackles and it definitely felt like a first game of the year for me – and a bunch of us. For the most part, I was pretty happy with the way I played, but I’m never satisfied. There are some things I need to work on. It’s been a while for me to play in a game because I came down here to Tampa last year and then wound up on injured reserve and I didn’t get to finish the season. I was definitely rusty on Friday night, but that was kind of across the board as a lot of guys were saying that, too. We’ll get better from it and keep improving.
“Nacho” (defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches) played really well and he played damn near the whole game too with Vita [Vea] and Beau [Allen] out. He played great. He’s kind of short in stature, but he plays balls to the walls on every play. And I love the “Nacho” nickname, too! Who wants to say Nunez-Roches all damn day? Do you know what I’m saying?
“Nacho” is a great guy. He plays forward whether it be pass or run, and he can play all up and down the line in several spots for us. He’s also a pretty smart player. He has great instincts and a really good football sense. He just needs to keep developing. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be in the rotation along the defensive line.
Noah [Spence] also played really well on Friday. I think this is his type of defense, playing outside linebacker in a 3-4. It’s more him, and you’re seeing it, obviously. He’s a grown man off that edge and you’re seeing it. I’m glad he’s finally found a place that is built for him.
My guy Buc got our first sack of the game – no surprise. That wasn’t even a called blitz. His man stayed in to block, so he came on a blitz and it was a great football play by Buc because he knows this defense. We led the Cardinals to the NFC Championship Game with this defense. It’s a great defense. We were a Top 5 defense almost every year. That guy knows how to ball and he’s going to help Devin White out tremendously.
Coach [Todd] Bowles isn’t happy too often. He thought we played decent, but we have a lot of things we can work on to get better. We are not a Top 10 defense yet by any means, but we’re getting there. For the most he likes our potential, but he’s not close to being satisfied.
B.A. wasn’t happy with all those penalties from Friday night. We had 14 and that’s too many. He’s always talking about having smart players, and if you’re dumb you aren’t going to be here very long. We’ve got to hone in and stop killing ourselves. B.A. yelled a little bit about it, but he’s not much of a yeller. He’ll just tell it like it is. You get it right or you get gone. That’s been his M.O. forever, and if we don’t get better with the penalties we’re going to be finding new jobs elsewhere.
We’ve got the Dolphins coming in this week and that will be cool to get some good work in against them. I know some of those guys, including wide receiver Brice Butler. He and I grew up down the street from each other in Georgia. Then you’ve got [defensive tackle] Davon Godchaux, who is an LSU kid, and of course, their quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was with us last year. Obviously it’s going to be fun seeing Fitz in practice.
I’ve been on teams that have done joint practices with other teams before. It gets the job done. Do I like it? It is what it is. At the end of the day, as long as we are getting better that’s all that’s important. I am glad we’re the home team, though. This is my first time being the host team in this situation, so I definitely like that.
When you see the other team’s different colors it just raises your intensity. You don’t have to worry about them the rest of the season, so why not get a few extra licks in? We’re going to be smart about it and hopefully don’t do anything silly like get in fights. We’ve already been told by Coach not to get into fights. If we do the punishment is a whole lot of running – a whole lot.
Previous Minter’s Bucs Camp Diary Entries
The next Minter’s Bucs Training Camp Diary entry will be published in a few days. Bucs fans and PewterReport.com readers are encouraged to leave their comments or questions for Miller below, and to follow him on social media.