BY: Kevin Weiss
Early in the afternoon, it first appeared practice would be delayed or cut short for due to inclement weather. However, the Bucs lucked out as the rain and dark clouds went away just in time for the 5:00 p.m. practice.
The team is less than a week away from their first preseason game and this is the point where progress is being noticed by the Bucs coaching staff and mistakes are less common throughout.
At the start of practice, the offense outperformed the defense throughout, both in 11-on-11 and 7-on-7, highlighted by big catches from Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans.
“I thought our offense today really started off strong and got after the defense fairly well,” Head Coach Lovie Smith said.
The tables were turned at the tail end of practice when the goal line situations were put into play and the Bucs defense was able to shine with shattering hits and tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
“When the ball is on the 2-yard line, you’ve got to get touchdowns every time, “ Smith exclaimed. “I saw the defense, without a lot of life, pick it up.”
One of the positives of this Bucs training camp is how quickly the offense has adjusted to the schemes, formations, and terminology of offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford. Wide Receiver Vincent Jackson has been impressed by what he has seen so far.
“I think we’re ahead of the curve for being a new offense with a lot of new guys together.” Jackson said. “I think we’re doing good.”
Just as important as Jackson’s understanding of the offense is the relationship he has built with new quarterback Josh McCown.
“He’s a very smart guy,” Jackson said in reference to McCown.
“We spend a lot of time off the field away from this facility going to high schools and just spending some time talking through some things, running some basic routes and getting a feel for each other.”
In addition to the use of the vertically gifted wide receivers and tight ends has been the emphasis on getting the fullbacks involved in the passing game. Quite often, Jorvorskie Lane and Lonnie Pryor have gotten opportunities to catch the ball on check downs to the flat, where they are able to utilize their girth to outmuscle smaller corners and safeties to gain extra yards. It is not a flashy play, but one that gets the chains moving when the offense is in a bind or has to get rid of the ball quickly.
The next practice is Monday, August 4th from 4:30-7 p.m., which is open to the public.
- Quote of the day: “I don’t really like to talk about it – I like to do it.”-TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins said when asked by a reporter on what level he expects to play at this season.
- Alterraun Verner, Mike Jenkins, and Evan Dietrich-Smith sat out with injuries.
- The only overages used by the defense in live drills were Cover 1 and Cover 2.
- RBs Doug Martin and Bobby Rainey got reps with the first team offense, while Charles Sims and Mike James were on the second team while Jeff Demps worked with the third team.
- QB Josh McCown showed off his running ability by scrambling right on a naked bootleg and side-stepping defenders for what would have been a first-down.
- Defensive coaches spent a considerable amount of time critiquing cornerbacks on their footwork, alignment, and technique in individual drills.
- Backup MLB Dane Fletcher picked off a pass from Mike Glennon for the lone interception of the afternoon.
- The play of the day: A back-shoulder fade from Josh McCown to Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the back corner of the end zone from the 2-yard line, over the head of the covering defender.