By Tom Krasniqi (Twitter: @TKras)
After a late Saturday night practice at Raymond James Stadium, the Bucs were back on the practice field at One Buc Place Sunday morning to continue training camp. The team practiced in pads for about two hours on Sunday and head coach Greg Schiano liked the way his team went about their business. “Great,” said Schiano when he was asked how the team looked on Sunday morning after the night practice. “[When] It’s time to go to work, they went to work.”
If you had to name the biggest star so far at camp, the name Johnthan Banks keeps popping up. The rookie cornerback was the team’s second round pick and he’s been impressive. Banks has the size (6-2, 185lbs) the team craves and he’s been physical off the line of scrimmage.
Banks believes he’s more than just a big, physical cover man. He’s also a ballhawk too. “I think I have really good ball skills. I had 16 career interceptions in college but one thing about getting your hand on the ball is… you have to know the defense. It’s one thing I’ve been working hard at…learning the defense, being comfortable and confident. I’m going out there and playing with a lot of swagger”. There’s no question he’s done that since he’s been here.
As impressive as he’s been on the field, the Bucs like his maturity off the field as well. “Johnthan is a mature guy,” said Schiano after Sunday’s practice. “I get the sense he’s pretty into his family and taking care of them. Yet, he’s got a really good sense of humor. He’s a fun guy to coach and he loves the game of football”.
The 23-year-old Banks is married and has a son. He was a decorated defensive back coming out of Mississippi State. Last year, he won the Jim Thorpe award which is given annually to the nation’s best defensive back. The Bucs selected him in the second round with the 43rd overall pick. His slow 40 time (4.6) dropped his stock but the Bucs were more than happy he was there. So far, Banks has been very impressive and barring an unforeseen event, he will be the Opening Day starter at cornerback opposite Darrelle Revis.
News & Notes:
- Schiano was vocal during the start of practice, urging his players: “Leadership leads!”
- The most vocal coach on the staff has to be new special teams coach Dave Wannstedt. His voice can easily be heard from across the street.
- CB Danny Gorrer (groin), FB Erik Lorig (calf), DE William Gholston (hamstring), DT Gary Gibson (ankle), TE Luke Stocker (calf), DE Steven Means (Achilles) among those working on the side and didn’t participate in team drills.
- RB Doug Martin took a screen pass and juked safety Mark Barron out of his cleats in the open field. Martin looks exceptional so far in camp.
- Speaking of Martin, he gushed at the idea of having Pro Bowl guards Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph back this year: “Those are some big guys to open some big holes. Can’t wait”. Fantasy owners need to take note.
- One player who stood out on Sunday was UDFA CB Rashaan Melvin (6-2, 193lbs) out of Northern Illinois. He was constantly around the ball in coverage and shows some physicality off the line of scrimmage. He also put in some extra work after practice. Keep an eye on him.
- The Bucs will hold a public practice on Monday morning from 8:45am-11:30am. Parking and admission 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.