With training camp nearing it’s end and position battles still going strong, Buccaneers safety D.J. Swearinger picked a good time to have his best practice.
The former Texan intercepted two passes Wednesday, one coming off a slant from Jameis Winston to Louis Murphy and another off an overthrown ball from Mike Glennon during 7-on-7’s. Swearinger also broke up a pass intended for Austin Seferian-Jenkins as he knocked the ball out and shook his head in celebration.
“Just competing man,” Swearinger said about his performance. “My guys underneath are making good drops and I’m making good drops. We’re all making good plays. I just happened to be the one to make those plays, but it’s a full team effort.”
While he’s often labeled as an in-the-box safety, the hard-hitting Swearinger is out to prove he can also be a center fielder and takeaway machine.
“I’m not kind of a ball-hawk, I am a ball-hawk,” Swearinger said. “I see myself as a playmaker first and foremost. Whether it’s taking the ball out of the running back’s hand, jarring the ball loose or going and getting an interception – you’ve got to be a playmaker in this league.”
Coming from a 3-4 system in Houston, some questioned whether Swearinger would be able to adjust to the Bucs base 4-3, Cover 2 defense. But three months since arriving in Tampa, he’s not at all intimidated by the transition.
“Football is football,” he said. “Whether you’re in this defense, that defense or the next defense. Take the coaching, study hard in the playbook and you can adjust to any defense. You should take it as a challenge. Any defender would want a challenge.”
Lovie Smith, who’s always careful not to overhype camp performances, spoke after practice about Swearinger, and his first preseason game in particular.
“He’s been making plays, maybe three days in a row,” Smith said. “And he had a good strip in the game (in Minnesota). D.J.’s a good football player, but it’s one thing for us to say you’re a good football player (during practice). We need to see production on the field and we’re taking notice.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
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