Day-8 of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp practice was about the defense. Typically, the offense and defense both make plenty of plays during 11-on-11s, but most of what could be seen on the practice field was about the defensive side of the ball. So much so that Dirk Koetter barely gave the offensive ball any credit for the day.
“It was not a sharp day for the quarterbacks,” Koetter said while almost snickering about it. “It was not a sharp day for the offense in general. We say training camp it’s 50-50. Today it was 10-90 for the defense. I mean it was jut not a good day for the offense today.”
One of the things the Buccaneers need to figure out on the offensive side of the ball this preseason is the right side of the offensive line, and listening to the Buccaneers head coach, it’s one of those decisions that could take a bit.
“We’ve had a couple of injuries, so that dictates how practice is,” Koetter told 620 WDAE. Dot’s easing his way back into 11-on-11. “Leonard Wester has missed the last two days, and Caleb left practice today and I’m not sure what the extent of that is. It’s just unsettled right now until we see who’s going to be available for New Orleans. You gotta constantly be working your depth and working your guys because you don’t know how it’s going to end up, especially when guys are banged up.”
One offensive player who got some praise from Koetter today was quarterback Jameis Winston who found himself taking reps with the third team again today. When it comes to the shoulder that caused the Bucs quarterback to miss several games a season ago, Koetter thinks it looks better than it has in a long time.
“Jameis is really throwing the football well,” Koetter explained. “If you watch Jameis in the individual periods, his arm and his shoulder are the best they’ve been in quite a while. He’s really finishing his throws.”
Two guys who continue to catch people’s eyes defensively are fellow rookie and fellow second-round picks M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis whose play, physicality, and maturity have all stood out since rookie camp.
“Both those guys are competing hard, and they’re both not afraid to be physical,” Koetter said about his rookie corners. “Sometimes especially corners, they might be a little bit timid, but both of these guys are playing really physical and they’re fighting at line of scrimmage. They’re giving our guys fits getting off the line of scrimmage. They’re giving our guys fits getting off the line of scrimmage with the possible exception of a couple of our top receivers.”
The pair have caught people’s attention, and they should have plenty of opportunities to continue to do so Thursday night in the preseason opener in Miami. Whether Brent Grimes or Vernon Hargreaves find their way onto the field in Miami or not, Banks and Stewart should see plenty of playing time in their NFL debuts, and while Banks told 620 WDAE he thought about it quickly but is more focused on practicing and getting better every day, Stewart says he thinks about the moment a lot.
“I think about it every night,” Stewart told 620 WDAE while smiling like a kid thinking about what could be under the tree on Christmas morning. “I think about that every night. Especially watching that Hall of Fame Game last night. It’s just exciting. That’s why I come to compete every day in practice, because I know I have that preseason coming up. That’s the time for me to go out there and show everybody, show the world what I can do.”
The Buccaneers get back to practice Saturday morning with practice being open to the public for the first time since Sunday.