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It’s difficult to properly evaluate Tampa Bay’s offensive and defensive linemen without pads on. After all, in the trenches it is often the player who is the lowest and most physical that wins the battle. The linemen love when the pads come on because their job is physical in nature and they can’t perform their job to the fullest extent without them.
PewterReport.com watched the Buccaneers offensive and defensive line square off in 1-on-1 pass rush drills on Sunday morning – the team's first clash with the pads on – and kept score. Here’s our unofficial scorecard:
LOLB Quincy Black vs. RT Jeremy Trueblood – Trueblood wins 3-1 Black and fellow rookie linebacker Adam Hayward are expected to play a big role in Tampa Bay’s 3-4 defensive fronts this season as edge rushers. In four reps against Trueblood, Trueblood won three of the four by using his long arms to tie up Black. Black’s lone victory came on an impressive bull rush that drove Trueblood back towards the towel on the ground that served as the quarterback.
ROLB Adam Hayward vs. LT Donald Penn – Penn wins 3-1 Hayward and Black got in some pass rush work to start off the 1-on-1 drills before leaving and going to work out with the rest of the linebackers on another part of the field. Penn, who has been somewhat impressive in playing left and right tackle during training camp, stymied the rookie rusher in three out of four reps. Hayward’s lone sack came from a solid inside move.
LE Greg Spires vs. TE Keith Heinrich – Spires wins 2-0 Spires is having a stellar camp thus far and certainly got the best of Heinrich in back-to-back reps. Spires used a bull rush and shoved Heinrich to the ground with a “hump move” that was reminiscent of the late Reggie White. On the second rush, Heinrich put up a better fight, but had to grab Spires’ facemask to slow him down. That infuriated Spires, who almost came to blows with Heinrich. Defensive line coach Larry Coyer has been raving all offseason about Spires and after days like today, it’s easy to see why.
LE Kevin Carter vs. RT Chris Denman – Carter wins 2-0 Carter dominated the rookie right tackle on both reps today. Despite heading into his 13th season, Carter showed some explosion and used a speed rush to blow by Denman on the first rush. On the second rush, Carter used an impressive bull rush to stand Denman up and drive him backwards into the towel.
DT Ellis Wyms vs. RG Davin Joseph – Joseph wins 2-0 Joseph won both of these battles, but it was close on each occasion. Wyms had a good initial surge and penetrated, but Joseph was able to recover, anchor and prevent Wyms from finishing the job.
NT Chris Hovan vs. C John Wade – Hovan wins 2-0 Hovan is on top of his game right now and Wade is showing his age. The energy and power Hovan brought on both of his pass rushes just overwhelmed Wade, who was driven backwards and unable to really anchor his base. Hovan used a bull rush on the first win and combination move that featured the swim technique on the second rush.
DT Darrell Campbell vs. LG Anthony Davis – Tied 1-1 Davis won the first rep against Campbell with pure power and scrappiness. Davis’ technique was kind of sloppy, but he stunned Campbell and knocked him to the ground. On the second rep, Campbell’s initial quickness allowed him to penetrate, although Davis rallied late. Both Campbell and Davis fell to the ground, but Campbell was able to grab the towel.
RE Patrick Chukwurah vs. LT Jabari Levey – Chukwurah Wins 2-0 Chukwurah easily dispatched Levey on both of these reps. On the first pass rush, Chukwurah used his speed and a quick swim move to maneuver past Levey for the sack. On the second rush, Chukwurah attacked head on and was doing some kung fu fighting to get past Levey. Chukwurah has some very quick and violent hands and they were on display today.
RE Gaines Adams vs. TE Keith Heinrich – Tied 1-1 Adams blew by Heinrich on the first rep with pure speed and good hand technique. On the second rush, Heinrich did a good job of wheeling Adams outside and even threw him down. While it looked like holding, it might not have been called in a game, and Heinrich got the better of Adams.
LE Greg Peterson vs. RT Dennis Roland – Tied 1-1 Neither player did enough to truly win the reps between Peterson and Roland. Typically, in a stalemate involving pass protection, the offensive player wins because he doesn’t get beat. But in this case, Peterson eventually drove Roland back, yet he could not finish the drive. The disturbing thing was that once a stalemate was achieved, both players stopped moving their feet, which is the cardinal sin in football. Both Peterson and Roland are very raw in their technique and neither player is a lock to make the roster, even Peterson, who was Tampa Bay’s fifth-round pick this year.
DT Jovan Haye vs. RG Jeb Terry – Tied 1-1 Like Campbell, Haye has problems staying on his feet at times when he rushes. However, the hard-working Terry played a part in that, too. Terry allowed Haye to expose his shoulder and then slammed him to the ground. On the second rep, both players battled to the ground, but it was Haye that got up first and recorded the sack.
NT Ryan Sims vs. C Dan Buenning – Sims wins 2-0 Sims has gotten in better shape over the summer and is starting to show some good quickness. He used his 330-pound frame to bull rush Buenning straight back on both rushes. Either Buenning’s knee isn’t fully healthy yet or he doesn’t have enough confidence in his knee at this juncture of his rehab. Buenning seemed hesitant to stick his foot in the ground and really plant and anchor against Sims.
DT Darrell Campbell vs. LG Arron Sears – Tied 1-1 Sears won the first battle by getting into a great pass set, showing good arm extension and a nice, wide base. However, part of being a pro is doing things consistently. The rookie couldn’t maintain his form on the second rush and that allowed Campbell to shoot through the B gap off Sears’ left shoulder and penetrate. Sears was upset with himself, took his helmet off and said a few choice words.
LE Greg Peterson vs. TE Matt Herian – Peterson wins 2-0 Herian really struggled in pass protection today. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that he’s just 6-foot-5 and weighs only 245 pounds. He gave up about 40 pounds to Peterson and the rookie defensive end took full advantage. Herian had to grab Peterson and hold him twice to try to prevent Peterson from advancing but it didn’t work. Senior offensive line coach Aaron Kromer worked with Herian in a one-on-one setting shortly after his reps were over.
LE Greg Peterson vs. RT Donald Penn – Penn wins 2-0 Penn initially won the first rush, but then disengaged too quickly. He needs to sustain his blocks longer. The second rush was essentially a stalemate and Peterson fared better. However, Penn was scrappy enough to prevent Peterson from getting the sack.
DT Ellis Wyms vs. RG Chris Denman – Tied 1-1 Aside from getting reps at right tackle, Denman is also being worked into the rotation at right guard to try to establish some position versatility. Wyms was able to beat Denman through the B gap with a quick, initial burst. On the second snap, Denman recouped and was able to anchor with a wide enough base to stymie Wyms.
DT Justin Frick vs. C Nick Mihlhauser – Tied 1-1 The Frick vs. Mihlhauser clash is certainly undercard status and isn’t close to being a headliner. Frick showed a good surge off the snap and bull-rushed Mihlhauser into the backfield on the first rush. On the second one, Mihlhauser was able to recovery and hold his ground.
DT Darrell Campbell vs. LG Jonathan Clinkscale – Campbell wins 2-0 Campbell used his speed and a quick first step to beat Clinkscale off the ball pretty badly on his first rep. It was more of the same on the second rush as Clinkscale exhibited some pretty poor technique. It was a quick, easy victory for Campbell on both rushes.
RE Julian Jenkins vs. LT Jabari Levey – Levey wins 2-0 Jenkins has really worked hard in the weight room and looks like he has added some muscle and size to his 6-foot-3 frame. Now he just needs to add some pass rush moves. Jenkins isn’t strong enough to overpower opponents and doesn’t have the quickness necessary to outrace tackles around the edge. Levey was able to handle Jenkins fairly easily.
DE Patrick Chukwurah vs. TE Matt Herian – Chukwurah wins 1-0 Herian was given some additional pass rush reps because he struggled so mightily earlier in the drills. It didn’t help much as Chukwurah used his speed and hands to easily get the rookie tight end.
DE Gaines Adams vs. TE Matt Herian – Adams wins 1-0 It was more of the same for Herian, who was overmatched by Adams’ talent. Herian doesn’t stand a chance of making the Buccaneers unless his pass protection improves significantly in the next three weeks.
LE Greg Peterson vs. RT Chris Denman – Denman wins 1-0 In the final rep of this drill, both rookies squared off with Denman winning the battle. Peterson must do a better job of using his hands off the snap and also keeping his feet moving when he engages an offensive lineman.
Neither starting left tackle Luke Petitgout nor center Matt Lehr participated in the individual pass rush drills, but both did participate in the team drills.
By PewterReport.com's unofficial count, the defense beat the offense, 24-19 in the 1-on-1 pass rush drills in full pads on Sunday morning.
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Scott Reynolds is in his 25th 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 sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: email@example.com