FAB 4. Beckwith’s Head Games

Kendell Beckwith, Tampa Bay’s second-year SAM linebacker, wasn’t happy watching the last training camp practice from the sidelines, which is where he spent the entire camp due to his recovery from a fractured ankle from an offseason car accident.

But he had a smile on his face because despite missing every rep of OTAs (organized team activities), mini-camp and training camp he was one step closer to being back on the field. It’s been a long, hard road for a guy that loves football and being forced to watch the game from the sidelines.

“It sucks because the hardest part about being injured is just sitting on the sidelines and watching guys work and compete,” Beckwith said. “All I can do is use my imagination and just think about how I would play certain things and how I would cover certain guys. How would I fit that? That’s basically what I do all day.”

Bucs LB Kendell Beckwith - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs LB Kendell Beckwith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Mental reps – two words that no football player likes to hear. Every player would rather be on the field taking live reps instead.

But for Beckwith, it’s been a month of playing head games every day on the practice field, and watching and waiting.

“I don’t like it – I’m not a fan of it at all,” Beckwith said. “But it’s definitely time for me to use to get better at the mental side of things. It’s different watching it from the sidelines instead of being out there actually doing stuff. This is time I’m using to really get the mental side down and really be in tune with our defense. All I can do is imagine what I would do out there and learn from watching other guys make mistakes.”

He might have to be watching a little more. Although he has been doing some running, Beckwith has yet to be cleared to practice. That may force the Bucs to place Beckwith on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list to start the season, which would cause him to miss the first six games of the year. That decision may not be made until roster cut-down day on September 1.

“I’m one of those guys where I believe everything happens for a reason,” Beckwith said. “I don’t look at things from a negative aspect. I try to be positive and learn from everything. Playing as much as I did last year as a rookie was definitely helpful for me now.”

Beckwith was fortunate to start all 16 games during his rookie season, including several at middle linebacker for former LSU teammate Kwon Alexander when he was injured. Quite a few rookies don’t get to play a lot and don’t have a lot of their own film to watch and evaluate in the offseason, but Beckwith does after recording 73 tackles with one sack and one forced fumble while playing middle linebacker and strongside linebacker.

Bucs LB Kendell Beckwith - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs LB Kendell Beckwith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“I feel real comfortable at both of those positions,” Beckwith said. “MIKE was the position I played in college, so that was no big deal. When they asked me to step in and play for Kwon it was no big deal at all. SAM was a little new for me, but I caught on and I was able to get some things done at the position. I enjoy it.”

Beckwith’s injury has allowed the Bucs to get a long look at Adarius Taylor and rookie Jack Cichy and accelerate their learning curves at the SAM position. But the team is hopeful that Beckwith’s rehab and recovery accelerates over the next two weeks so it can avoid putting him on PUP.

Beckwith has been doing his part by working out hard in the weight room to lean down, and he’s excited that he has been recently cleared to resume running.

“Physically, I’m good,” Beckwith said. “I weighed in a couple of pounds down from last year and I really had to make sure I was watching what I eat [because of my ankle injury]. I’m feeling good.

“I’m 238 right now. Last year I played at 245 and it’s all good weight now. I’ve been eating right and working out, and that was important because I couldn’t run for a bit. I weighed in at 238 the other day and that was light as I’ve been since maybe high school. I like that, though. I want to play lighter and be as fast as I can possibly be and get after it. I’m ready to go.”

Well, he’s almost ready to go. Beckwith is almost ready to show that the mental reps he’s been forced to take will pay off when it once again takes the field. When he does resume playing, nothing will catch him off guard.

Bucs LB Kendell Beckwith - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs LB Kendell Beckwith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Nothing like the wreck he was involved in during the offseason. He was involved in a single-car crash in the offseason where the vehicle he was traveling in went in a ditch. The force of the impact caused Beckwith to break his ankle when his foot hit the floorboard hard.

“When it happened it completely caught me off guard,” Beckwith said. “I was able to walk out of the car, but my ankle felt weird. I knew something wasn’t right, but it’s fixed now. I’m going to have an even better year this year than I did last year.

“It could have been a lot worse. I’m just blessed to be here. This will be my last one – my last injury. I’m calling it right now. I got it out of the way early, so I’m done.”

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

17 COMMENTS

  1. This is a hopeful Fab 5, Scott. The roster sounds solid across the board. I hope the depth is there to sustain, what seems to be, the constant Achille’s heel for this team. I saw the 5-11 prediction from SI for the Bucs this year. That seems insane to me. I hope that Monken has continued success as the play caller and Koetter can take advantage of that new freedom to hone his HC skills. This team is solid. I suppose it could be 5-11 or 11-5? I’ll feeling 8 or 9 wins at this point.

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  2. I haven’t seen Kwon stand out in preseason games so far. Being a vocal leader is all well, and good but to many times I’ve seen him fill the wrong gap, or completely whiff on a tackle, not to mention he gets completely blown away by any guard who reaches him. Maybe he’s looked better in practice, but he hasn’t had one oh wow play during the last two games, so I don’t know where the A grade is coming from. To me he’s an average MLB. I think he’s to small for the position, and might be better suited to play WILL.

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  3. What about Stevie T? Is he headed to practice squad?

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    • Wasn’t he cut or waived injured?

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      • Waived (injury), I think.

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  4. It seems as though GM Licht has learned his lesson from last moving on from the likes of Chris Baker to absolute workhorses like Allen, Unrein, and Curry. From everything I’ve seen of him so far, JPP was well worth what it cost Licht from the trade with NY. Preseason games don’t always show what we’re going to see during the regular season, but both games have shown me this team is going to play hard every snap – unlike what I saw during last year’s preseason games. What I’ve been most impressed with this season is all three QBs – our 3rd stringer QB looks like he might actually be able to hold his own if called upon this season, which hasn’t been the case since he arrived in Tampa.

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    Rating: +9. From 9 votes.
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  5. Wester is a better tackle than Seaton or Liedtke

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  6. Hard to disagree with any on that proposed roster, but I would not be surprised if some shuffling or trades happened before NO.

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  7. Really good job with your fab 5 Scott. I like the player grade analysis as well.

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  8. I like everybody on the team as to their personalities and the efforts they are trying to make. I just don’t see Spence and Gholston better than Clark or O’Connor. I would go short at defensive end position rather than keep those two. As of right now I see Ryan Smith not making the team unless he shows something tonight.
    Did I miss injury status as to Safety Evans? Anybody know his injury status?

    This is the best defensive team we’ve had in a long time, and I believe Coach Smith is going to bring nothing to the plate if he continues to play conservative defense. I sure hope I am wrong as to Coach Smith as the way I look at it right now we’ll be lucky if we win 6 games. You just can’t play vanilla defense in the NFL; we’re very predictable on defense. Maybe some of our injuries are due to players trying to do more because of this scheme?

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  9. Baker got closer to that tree in Hard Knocks than any QB’s over the last few years.

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  10. Great Fab Five Scott, and thanks for bringing back the thumbs up and down! You guys have done a great job with the website – and just in time for the season!

    Going to the game tonight and can’t wait! Go Bucs!!!

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  11. Kwon as an A? Ehhhhhhh. Haven’t been impressed. Barely notice him in the few times he played. Hopefully he shows up in the season like he has in the past.

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  12. Loved your roster and comments, Scott. Seaton did have to hold to prevent a sack but every other play he looked solid to me not allowing the first sack. I think he has some potential and glad to see you included him on your roster. I have never seen Wester playing that well. I wish there was a way to keep Ogunbowale because he has the potential to replace Barber if he goes down. I hope Jones gets a good run tonight. Go Bucs. Shoot the canons tonight. Detroit has not gotten a single sack this preseason so Fitz and Jameis should have time to carve them up. I know Detroit can run the ball and our defense needs to show they can stop them!

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  13. Winning this game at the half but the defense is not good. The kicking situation is not acceptable, the coaches and GM are suspect along with this dud of a kicker.

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  14. lol sergio bailey was never going to make the team over bobo wilson maybe not even over martino

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  15. also probably less than 10% chance lambert makes the team over clarke . clarke was being used as the no 3 de in the game last night. that doesn’t just happen spontaneously obviously been showing something in camp to warrent getting those snaps . i thought y’all were supposed to be out there everyday watching practice getting a read on what’s going on. but you come out with a 53 man roster prediction with a guy who’s solidly been in the rotation thus far in preseason not making the cut? makes me wonder just how much cred i can put into those practice analysis yall like to do.

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