By Tom Krasniqi
They’ve been going at it for 3 weeks under the hot and humid conditions at One Buc Place. Players are putting the work in. Coaches are making sure the program is on track.
Training camp is a grind. Veterans hate it. The rookies get baptized by fire. But now— it’s all over.
The Bucs held their final training camp practice on Thursday afternoon. Practice was delayed early for about one hour because of a lightning threat. Late in practice, lightning chased the players off the field once again.
And with that — it was all over and camp finally broke. The players breathed a sigh of relief.
“Training camp has been good man, it’s been good,” defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said afterward. “Different. Definitely different from the past couple of years.”
Of course, the last two training camps were run by Greg Schiano— who’s more of a drill sergeant. Lovie Smith is the complete opposite and the players respect him for that.
With new systems on both sides of the ball, the players had to absorb a ton of information. Lovie was pleased with the results of camp.
“I feel like we’ve had a good camp,” Lovie said after Thursday’s practice. “We realize what’s at stake this week. We want to play a lot better.”
Make no mistake— plenty of work still needs to be done and questions still remain. The offensive line was a mess last week against the Jaguars. The team is still trying different combinations along the o-line. The return game is in question. Who’s playing slot receiver?
Many questions indeed. Not enough answers as of yet.
Lovie did mention one player who turned into a real pleasant surprise during camp — fullback Jorvorskie Lane.
“Big guy, great feet— can catch the football,” Lovie said of the burly fullback. “I wanted to see if he can be a blocker too, and he’s been that.”
The Bucs hope to find those answers on Saturday night when the Miami Dolphins come to Raymond James Stadium for the second preseason game.
Lovie says the team will so “some game planning” for the second preseason game.
“We’ll play into the second quarter,” Lovie said when asked about how much playing time the starters would get.
The game will be another tool to getting the Bucs ready for the ultimate goal—the September 7 season opener against Carolina.
News & notes:
- CBs Alterraun Verner (hamstring) and Mike Jenkins (leg) did not practice again. DE Da’Quan Bowers also sat out.
- RB Charles Sims is in a walking boot after spraining his ankle during Tuesday’s practice session. Lovie on Sims being in a walking boot: “That’s normally not a good thing.”
- Lovie says Verner, Jenkins and Sims will not play against Miami.
- QB Josh McCown hit a streaking TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins down the sideline for a big gain during 11 on 11 drills. ASJ continues to flash big play potential.
- The Bucs had Oniel Cousins at LG with the first team and Patrick Omameh at RG.
- The team is trying to solve the quandary in the return game. Eric Page has the inside track right now on both return jobs. RB Bobby Rainey is expected to get a look on Saturday night as well.
- Bucs signed former Chargers first round pick DE/LB Larry English and they waived injured DT Jibreel Black. English (6-2, 255) racked up 11 sacks in 52 games over 5 seasons with San Diego. He was the 16th overall pick back in the 2009 draft.
- A number of Buccaneers- including head coach Lovie Smith, Gerald McCoy, LaVonte David and Mike Evans took the ALS ice bucket challenge.
- On Saturday night, the Bucs take on the Miami Dolphins at Raymond James Stadium in preseason game #2. Our coverage begins at 5pm on 620wdae and 95.3FM. For more details on Bucs stories and practice sound, check out 620wdae.com and buccaneers.com.
- Keep it locked on 620am WDAE and 95.3FM as well as the Bucs blog at 620wdae.com for the best Bucs coverage.