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Bucs Training Camp Report: Veteran Leadership Showing the Way on Day Six

 
Posted July 31st, 2014 @ 6:23pm

It was a hot day here at Bucs practice on the final day of July but the temperature didn't seem to affect the guys who have been down this road before. Gerald McCoy was very vocal and led the defense in stretching at the beginning of practice. Josh McCown was instructing young receiver Robert Herron on how to run certain routes. Vincent Jackson was first man up at every drill and showed the strength and ability that has made him one of the best receivers this league has to offer.

The Bucs, however, need more than just their top-tier guys to perform well this season if they want to make a push into the playoffs. "We need to have more than one good player", Lovie Smith said. The team has a multitude of talent at the skill positions and guys are making the roster decisions more and more difficult as the days go by. Speedster Eric Page was one of a slew of guys lining up for a crack to run back punts, but he was the only one to take one to the house for a touchdown. Rookie Charles Sims and his north/south-type of running style did an excellent job of getting up-field during kickoff returns.

The one player that really stood out to me today was 1st Round Draft Pick Mike Evans. Evans came out a little sluggish during the beginning of practice. He wasn't coming out of his breaks quickly enough and seemed a bit off on his timing routes. As the practice went on we saw the Mike Evans that should be a big threat for this offense. As the Bucs offense was working on their red zone offense, Evans used his size and his athleticism to make a number of catches in the back of the end zone. Time will tell how efficient he will be between the 20-yard lines but as of now he is money in the bank in the red zone.

The main constant for this team seems to be the unbelievable rapport between Josh McCown and Vincent Jackson. Whether it was a deep ball or a back shoulder throw, these guys seem to be in mid-season form. These two players really were leaders on the field today and it is no surprise that they are expected to have a big year. McCown leads more with his words and tries to educate the other quarterbacks on how to be professionals. Jackson is more of a leader by example and you can tell that the younger receivers really look up to him.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Bucs really did some damage today in practice. During the pass protection drill, the backs could not seem to contain the pass rush and protect the tackling dummy filling in as the quarterback. One guy that really seemed to make an impression on the coaches was Defensive End Scott Solomon. "Scott has really opened some eyes around here", Lovie stated.

It wasn't just the pass rush that was impressive today. The defense also accumulated 3 interceptions during practice today. Mike Glennon was picked off by Linebackers Ka'Lial Glaud and Danny Lansanah and Josh McCown was picked off by Safety Mark Barron. And just like in his days with Chicago, Lovie employed his defense to try and take the turnovers to the end zone. You could see that in the body language of the players who caught the picks. They weren't just content with the ball, they wanted points.

As training camp rolls on, it seems like the Buccaneers are in a good place and trending upward as the season nears. Coach Lovie Smith is happy with his group and excited to see what the rest of camp has in store. "We are right on par with where we should be."

Notes:

-  Quote of the Day: Josh McCown on Mike Glennon: "I'm just trying to help him as much as I can with what I've seen with my experiences and helping him grow as a player. He's obviously been here and knows the guys so he's been giving me feedback....especially like working with Vincent. I've really enjoyed working with him."
-  Hit of the Day: There wasn't as much volatility at practice as there was yesterday, but one collision that had everyone buzzing was between Safety Major Wright and Wide Receiver Skye Dawson. Major stood Dawson up on a hit after a screen pass and even though Dawson didn't go down, you could hear the pads CRACK together from across Dale Mabry Highway.
-  Catch of the Day: Louis Murphy had two touchdowns today at practice; both thrown by QB Mike Glennon. The first one however was a thing of beauty as Glennon slipped one right over the DB's head and Murphy dove fully extended and caught the ball. What a grab!
-  The linebackers started the day with a unique drill using big yoga balls. The 'backers evaded two defenders and then reached low to scoop up the ball as it was rolled to them by coaches. This simulated the players getting low and using their legs when tackling.
-  Safety Mark Barron recorded an interception for the 2nd day in a row and seems to be really comfortable in Lovie's defense. He is really noticeable on the field and is primed to have a big year in the turnover department.
-  For the second practice in a row, the Bucs worked on some running plays using their Wide Receivers. With such a multitude of speed and agility on the edge, reverses and end arounds can definitely add another dynamic to this offense.
-  Cornerbacks Mike Jenkins and Alterraun Verner were not practicing again today at practice due to injury, but their presence was definitely felt. The corners were on the field during most of the drills shouting instruction and encouragement to their fellow D Backs.

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