BY: Jay Recher
After a very uninspiring game against the Jaguars in Jacksonville Friday night, the Buccaneers used today’s practice to fine tune some of the things they were struggling on.
Much has been made of the struggles on the offensive line and today the practice plan seemed to work on how to deal with this issue. Josh McCown and the rest of the quarterback crew were focusing on making quick throws and utilizing the tight ends and running backs for check downs. A player that continues to stand out is Rookie TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins. He made a couple of nice grabs throughout the day and always seems to stand out when the offense takes the field. Even though he is starting to make a name for himself, he remains humble.
“Everyone’s working real hard. I’m trying to do the best I can to help the team,” Seferian-Jenkins said.
The Bucs also started implementing a little more of OC Jeff Tedford’s offensive game plan in practice today. There was a lot more pre-snap motion from the offense and there was a ton of time spent on screen passes. Doug Martin and Eric Page were two of the guys who were called upon to catch some screens from the QBs. Page also later on in practice during 11 on 11 drills ran a reverse for 30+ yards much to the delight of the public watching in the stands.
One thing that Lovie Smith wasn’t happy with about Friday night was the inability to secure an interception. Lovie counted three different occurrences during the game where there was an opportunity to turn the ball over but the defense was unsuccessful. With that being said, 2 or 3 times throughout practice the defensive backs were off in the corner of the second practice field drilling hard on footwork and holding onto the football when they caught it.
It was very tough to hold onto the football today because of the inclement weather. The rain was heavy at the beginning, and at the end of practice with a light drizzle in between. There were some fumbled snaps and dropped passes but the Bucs fought through it and finished practice on a high note.
“Every day we know there’s a threat of rain,” Coach Smith stated.
The team huddled on the field at the end of practice and the rain was coming down. Guys were engaged and energized knowing that they just put in a good day at practice even though it wasn’t a “good day” weather-wise.
After today we can all agree…. the Bucs have brighter days ahead.
- Quote of the day – “He’s a mauler. He’ll put a body on a guy. They’re giving him a shot and I think he’s taking this opportunity and going to run with it.” – C Evan Dietrich-Smith talking about new RG Jace Daniels after Daniels’ second day as a starter.
- Catch of the day – Louis Murphy made a great catch over the middle between two defenders that wowed the crowd. The tough part of the catch was that it was thrown behind him and it was right as the rain started getting heavier.
- “Smash” of the day – Usually we put our hit of the day here but the “smash” seemed to better fit today. On one red zone drill LB Lavonte David and FB Jorvorski Lane met at the line of scrimmage. It was like a locomotive and a macktruck colliding. BOOM! Neither man budged an inch but you could hear the crack of the pads from inside One Buc.
- Coach Lovie Smith gave a quick injury update of the players. Ends Da’Quan Bowers and Steven Means were out today with upper leg injuries. At CB, Alterraun Verner is doing more and more every day and Rashaan Melvin’s ankle is sore but he will probably play Saturday vs. the Dolphins.
- The yoga balls were out today again at practice. This time they were being thrown at the QBs as they dropped back to simulate a pass rush.
- There was a little more intensity during red zone drills today. The sound of the pads colliding was louder than previous days. The offense seemed to play with a little more desperation. Jeff Demps was utilizing his speed for a few TDs and TE Brandon Myers had some real nice blocks to open holes for the running game.