By Tom Krasniqi (Twitter: @TKras)
An offseason of change means high expectations for the 2013 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Still, plenty of questions remain. Those questions are about to be answered. The Bucs kicked off training camp on Thursday from One Buc Place in Tampa where the overcast skies kept temperature down, but the excitement level is sky high.
After going 7-9 last season, head coach Greg Schiano enters his second season as the Bucs head man. Major additions were made in the secondary after the team finished dead last in pass defense. CB Darrelle Revis and FS Dashon Goldson were brought in. CB Eric Wright is gone and CB/S Ronde Barber has retired.
Revis practiced with the team for the first time since tearing his ACL during Week 3 of last season in Miami. The $96-million man took part in some individual drills before going back for more rehab work. Schiano says Revis looked “good”. Revis was not wearing a knee brace so that’s a good sign.
Revis addressed the media after taking part in the first day of practice. “It was great”, says Revis. “I’ve been looking forward to this day since I was injured. It’s been awesome to be out there with my teammates and to be out there my coaches. Just doing what I love doing. Just playing football”. Revis admits he didn’t sleep much last night because he was so anxious to hit the practice field.
So how does Revis feel physically after his first practice with the Bucs? “I felt fine”, said Revis. “I think the biggest thing is just trying to dust the cobwebs off and get out there”. Revis and Schiano talked about the rehab plan and both say it will be a day-to-day process in easing the star cornerback back into the mix. Schiano wouldn’t say if Revis would play during the preseason but the Bucs would be crazy to do so. The coach did say that Revis will have significant input into whether he plays. The Bucs are taking a cautious approach (and they should) in bringing Revis along slowly. The target date is September 8th against the Jets, Revis’ former team. #24 took a big step today towards that goal.
News & Notes:
- DT Gerald McCoy looked noticeably slimmer. McCoy said yesterday he dropped 25 pounds in the offseason. The roster lists him at 300-pounds but he doesn’t look anywhere near that.
- Carl Nicks (toe) and Davin Joseph (knee) were limited during the first day. Schiano says Nicks is not 100% but is progressing. Like Revis, the Bucs are taking it slow with their Pro Bowl guards.
- With TE Luke Stocker (calf strain) on the PUP list, Tom Crabtree ran with the first team at tight end. Stocker can be activated at any time when he’s ready to practice although it’s not certain when that will be.
- It was strange to see a new pair of kicking specialists to start camp. With kicker Connor Barth (Achilles) done for the season and punter Michael Koenen on the PUP list, the Bucs opened camp with Lawrence Tynes as the kicker with Chas Henry handling the punting duties.
- DT Gary Gibson went down briefly with a leg injury during 11-on-11 drills but he was able to return.
- QB Josh Freeman threw the ball well today to begin camp. He showed nice zip on a slant to WR Chris Owusu during 7-on-7 action. Freeman also showed some nice touch on a deep corner route to TE Zach Miller.
- Fresh off his $40-million contract extension, WR Mike Williams turned in a strong practice on Day 1. He made the play of the day with a nifty one-handed grab on a deep post from Freeman for a touchdown.
- The WR group looks talented and deep. Vincent Jackson and Williams are entrenched as starters. Kevin Ogletree and Tiquan Underwood are battling for the #3 WR spot. Keep an eye on former USF product Carlton Mitchell, who came into camp in fantastic shape. Mitchell caught the ball well on Thursday.
- CB Danny Gorrer is off to a good start. He deflected away a pass intended for VJax, then came up with an interception off a deflected pass. Gorrer is fighting for a roster spot.
- Newcomer LB Jonathan Casillas looked agile in pass coverage and also came up with a ‘sack’ of rookie QB Mike Glennon during 11-on-11s. Glennon looked a bit shaky but hey, it’s only the first day.
- The Bucs will practice again on Friday morning from 8:45am-11:30am at One Buc Place. Admission and parking are free. For more information, check out 620wdae.com and buccaneers.com.
- For the latest news on Bucs training camp, keep it locked all day long on 620 WDAE and 95.3FM, your home of the Bucs and the best Bucs coverage.