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.
We’re Going To Be A Top 5 Defense
By Kevin Minter as told to Scott Reynolds
On the first day in pads, you want to establish yourself as a player and establish yourself as a defense. Coach [Todd] Bowles said something earlier today in our meetings, “What kind of defense are we going to be?” That practice summed up what he was talking about today. He said to be more physical than the guys in white (offense) today, and we were.
His mindset is to attack. Exotic defenses and exotic blitzes – I remember we had four or five new blitzes that we had to learn every week. There were different packages where he would bring guys from all over the field – corners, safeties and linebackers, of course. Tampa should be excited to have a D-coordinator like that.
In Coach Bowles’ system we blitz everybody. Everybody gets a shot at the quarterback at some point, but especially the middle linebackers and the safeties. The safeties are going to have a great time. Look at some of the stuff we did with our safeties back in Arizona and the stats they put him. He’s going to be sending them all of the damn time.
Speaking of safeties, it sucked to see Orion Stewart go down with that knee injury today. He was having a really good camp, too. I feel for him. They obviously picked him from the AAF and he was doing well in the OTAs. He was doing great in shorts. He and I were running together the whole time in the second defense. To see him go down like that sucks. All I can do is pray for him and wish him a speedy recovery.
— PewterReport (@PewterReport) July 28, 2019
I had a really good hit on RoJo (running back Ronald Jones II) today – kind of ran him over on a blitz when we were indoors. That was definitely a tone-setter. Coach Bowles wanted us to show what kind of defense we are going to be this year, and that play helped set the tone. Do you know what I’m saying? We have to establish the tone.
There ain’t going to be any half-assed [expletive] around here this year. It’s not going to be like that this year. We’re going to hit, and we’re going to go downhill. We’re going to be a Top 5 defense this year.
At the same time, RoJo is a young back and he’s got to see that look. Matter of fact, later in practice I came on a blitz again and he stood his ground, which was good to see. This was just the first day in pads and he was just trying to get his feet up underneath him.
I also came clean for a sack from the outside, too. That was nice. That’s the thing about Coach Bowles – he’ll blitz you from everywhere. Everybody is going to some in this defense. The inside linebackers aren’t just going to blitz the A gap in this defense. We might line up inside, but we might end up blitzing outside the C gap, too. We’ll come from everywhere. It’s been like that since our days in Arizona.
There have been some impressive guys on offense so far in camp that have caught my eye. One guy that has impressed me is (running back) Dare Ogunbowale. His routes are so good. When Dare is in the backfield you have to be on your toes, especially when he’s running his routes. The man has a mean stick. He’s been showing that since OTAs. You have to play with your technique and keep your feet up under you with Dare.
It’s the same thing with Andre Ellington. When he turns it on, he turns it on, especially in the passing game. We won games in Arizona because of Dre and his receiving ability. He had a smooth touchdown on a screen pass the other day. He’s always smooth – he’s Andre Ellington.
Oh, in case you’re wondering – I don’t have a roommate in camp this year. I’m a seventh-year vet, so I better not have a roommate!
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.