Thoughts From Saturday Morning’s Practice

August 8th, 2009
Maurice Stovall was a big target for many of Byron Leftwichs throws Saturday morning.

Maurice Stovall was a big target for many of Byron Leftwich's throws.

Some brief thoughts from Saturday morning’s practice:

* For much of the practice, thousands of Bucs fans grew frustrated. The Bucs mainly worked on special teams in the far southeast corner of the complex. The vast majority of seats (and fans) are along the west sidelines.

Hoping for scrimmages, for which the Bucs generally use the field along the west stands, fans packed the west bleachers. The only thing keeping the fans remotely interested for over an hour was the appearances of the Bucs cheerleaders and free Popsicles for the kids, who came racing out of the stands for the treats.

When the Bucs finally did scrimmage, Joe overheard one fan, after a few running plays, say, “Come on, throw the ball. I didn’t come all the way up from Bradenton for this.”

Sometimes fans forget why practices are actually held, but Joe could understand the fan’s concern.

When the Bucs did put the ball in the air, Byron Leftwich got the most work and it sure looks like the coaches are leaning toward him as the starter. Each practice Joe has watched it appears that Leftwich is inching away from the pack in the race to start at signal-caller.

This morning Leftwich threw a couple of beautiful passes. One was a fade to the left sideline that Maurice Stovall hauled in and did a nice job of getting his feet in bounds. The Bucs’ defenders yelled and disputed to the referees that Stovall had pushed off, but to no avail.

Later, Leftwich made a great decision that went for a bomb to Antonio Bryant near the left sideline. While at first blush it appeared to be an underthrown ball, Leftwich wisely threw the ball to Bryant so that he had to come back to the ball. But after second thought, Leftwich put the ball in wide open territory not only where there were no defenders, but also the ball was placed where Bryant easily could make a play.

Had Leftwich thrown to Bryant in stride, it likely would have been thrown into traffic as defenders were running with Bryant in good coverage.

It also helped that Leftwich had so much time to throw he could have drank a Caybrew. Leftwich stood in the pocket flat-footed waiting for Bryant to make his move and the passing lane to open up.

Joe hopes to see much of those plays this season… while drinking a Caybrew. of course.

Leftwich also hit John Gilmore over the middle but Gilmore couldn’t haul in the pass.

Earlier, Leftwich hit Kellen Winslow in the end zone as Winslow made a nice one-handed catch, and more importantly got his feet inbounds. The crowd roared its approval.

If Joe had to use one word to describe Leftwich this morning, it would be “accurate.”

* Stovall stood out as the top receiver as Leftwich threw to him early and often and Stovall responded with catches, both in traffic and down field.

Joe hopes he does this in, say, October.

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