By Evan Winkofsky
Without out a doubt the biggest question after Friday night’s performance in Jacksonville was the offensive line and if it would be able to give Josh McCown enough time to find his play makers.
On Sunday afternoon the Buccaneers looked to address that concern by inserting Jace Daniels in at RG replacing Jamon Meredith on the first team. Head Coach Lovie Smith has been impressed by Jace’s performance in practice and in the team’s first dress rehearsal. “For Jace, he’s gotten himself into that position. In order to eventually get to the first team, you have to play with the first team. You have to do some good things in practice. Jace has been doing that throughout, whether it be center or guard.”
According to Lovie don’t expect the change to be permanent. “We are working different combinations right now. That is all we have done. He (Jamon) is still in the mix.”
Jace Daniels responded positively when asked if he was nervous about his snaps with the first team saying you can’t be. “When you’re going against Gerald (McCoy) you have to be able to get off the ball and match his intensity.”
Lovie reiterated once again after practice that they want to get better at every position and nothing is set in stone on the depth chart. After preseason game number one the first team offensive line looks like this: Collins (LT) Cousins (LG) Dietrich-Smith (C) Daniels (RG) Dotson (RT).
To the defensive side of the ball it was good to see number 21 back on the practice field. Alteraan Verner has been making progress throughout camp and he was able to get back out on the football field as he continues his return from a hamstring injury. “He’s not ready to be thrown out there full speed ahead” Said Lovie. Verner seemed comfortable and obviously was encouraged by his progress and action today. ““It felt real good just to have some pads on and just doing some movement with the team. I just did individuals today, I’m just taking it back slowly and seeing how I feel.”
With Verner out a lot more has been asked from Safeties Mark Barron and Dashon Goldson. Goldson has been pleased with what he has seen even with the injuries, “I think the guys have been stepping up big time, we’ve got a lot of young guys doing a lot of things for us, especially in the game, it’s preseason, it’s for a lot of guys to show what they got or what they can bring to the table. I think the young guys stepped up, they played well, they still have to iron out a couple of things and I think we’re on a good track right now.”
Another day, another practice and another chance for the Bucs to improve. There is no doubt that Lovie Smith and this coaching staff understand this team’s strengths and weaknesses and will take every opportunity to make sure this team is ready to go before week one vs. Carolina. The offensive line will continue to be a fluid situation but there is no need to hit the panic button.
- Quote of the Day: Lovie on D-Line “You need to flash as much as anything. If you get reps you have to do something for us to take notice. You don’t want to blend in and be gray.”
- One guy that has been impressive at times is WR Robert Herron. Lovie Said “He’s shown flashes throughout. One great play and drop another. A lot of that is normal rookie play. But I try and concentrate on the plays where he has caught the ball. Some of the quickness we have seen throughout.”
- The Offense spent a period going through their pre-snap mechanics with both the 1st and 2nd team. The Jeff Tedford offense is still a work in progress but the players look comfortable.
- The Offensive and Defensive lines went at it in a one on one and at times one on two drill. The most impressive DL was Adrian Clayborn. Time after time he beat his man and got right to the football. McCoy without question showed his versatility engaging a double team before spinning right onto the ball. Even William Gholston made plays being held on multiple occasions to stop his progress on the ball.
- TD’s were at a premium but Josh McCown found Louis Murphy on a deep seem route in 11 on 11. McCown also hit Vincent Jackson perfectly in stride deep down the middle for a big gain.
- Rainey and Page fielded almost all of the punt returns and the Bucs cycled through 6 different players (Sims, James, Demps, Murphy, Patton and Herron) on kickoff returns.
Photo Courtesy Of Evan Winkofsky