By Tom Krasniqi
The Buccaneers are getting down to business on the football field. Right now, there are 89 players on the roster.
And on Tuesday, the Bucs began Phase 3 of their offseason training program, otherwise known as “organized team activites” or OTAs.
New head coach Lovie Smith likes this portion of the offseason. Up until now, there was mostly classroom work and workouts. Now, the new head coach wants to see how his team lines up against each other on the football field.
“You can’t wait to get to the NFL’s version of spring ball with Phase 3 which we started today,” Lovie said after Tuesday’s practice session.
Lovie believes the coaching staff will start to get a better understanding of what type of team he has. You can’t get a real evaluation until the pads go on— right now, the team is in shorts and helmets in non-contact drills— but the learning process of installing new systems is getting easier.
“Guys know a little bit more of what we’re doing right now, what’s expected of them,” Lovie said. “We don’t have a lot of mental mistakes right now so you get a chance to get a better evaluation of where we are.”
Unfortunately when you line up and practice, injuries will occur. And that’s exactly what happened during Tuesday’s session.
Rookie WR Mike Evans tweaked his left hamstring during a one-on-drill as he was working against CB Mike Jenkins, who also got banged up on the play. Jenkins had the wind knocked out of him and should be fine. But what about the first round pick?
“Mike Evans today tweaked his hamstring a little bit,” Lovie said. “Things like that will come up from time to time. That’s just a part of the offseason program.”
It’s not considered serious. Evans is penciled in to be a starter. Lovie believes rookies will suffer injuries early because many of them are not in football shape and they’re not accustomed to the pace of practice.
Lovie says that won’t be a problem moving forward. He says his team has “great veteran leadership on both sides of the ball.”
News & notes:
- Lovie said WR Vincent Jackson also has a “tweaked hamstring” and was not practicing.
- Safety Dashon Goldson is still not practicing as he continues to recover from offseason foot surgery. He hopes to be return for the start of training camp.
- Starting safety Mark Barron was back on the practice field after sitting out some practice sessions with an unspecified injury.
- QB Mike Glennon says Lovie and GM Jason Licht told him from the beginning that he would be the QB of the future: “They told me that all along so there was no reason to question anything.”
- The first team offensive line lined up this way on Tuesday: LT Anthony Collins, LG Oniel Cousins, C Evan Dietrich-Smith, RG Jamon Meredith, RT Demar Dotson. No sign of Carl Nicks on Tuesday.
- Rookie WR Robert Herron is a blur. The 6th round pick out of Wyoming is super quick and shifty coming out of his breaks. He looks like a natural slot receiver.
- RB Jeff Demps showed off his explosive speed at times, but he also put the ball on the ground late in practice during 11-on-11 drills.
- Rookie tackle Kevin Pamphile lined up at left tackle with the second team.
- CB Alterraun Verner made a nice diving interception towards the end of practice during 11-on-11s.
Check out all of the audio from today's workout HERE.
Photo: Getty Images