Warren Sapp, OTAs & The Bucs’ Absences

June 4th, 2017

A hot topic on SiriusXM NFL Radio last week was players who skip spring practices.

Also known as OTAs, the voluntary on-field sessions with coaches aren’t taken seriously by everyone. Some players — some Buccaneers — take days off.

Would America’s Quarterback, Jameis Winston, skip a practice because something came up that wasn’t the death — or imminent death — of a family member? Of course not.

Anyone think Ali Marpet would take a personal day and just study center film at home while he gets a few massages and wolfs down tacos? It’s not going to happen.

But DeSean Jackson, Brent Grimes and others have skipped their share of practices this year. They’re playing by the rules and they have the street cred to pull it off. Their team needs them more than they need their teams.

While hosting on NFL Radio, former Raiders, Jaguars and Bills linebacker Kirk Morrison (2005-2012) shared a story about OTA attendance, one that has ties to the Buccaneers.

Back in 2006, Art Shell had just been hired to be Oakland head coach for the second time. A voluntary spring minicamp was scheduled — NFL labor rules were different then — and Morrison, then a third-year Raiders player, showed up and found a surprise. There was Warren Sapp, entering his 12th season and third with Oakland.

Sapp, then 33 years old, was there early, and he was working intensely.

Morris simply had to ask Sapp what he was doing there. Why did he show up when he had nothing to prove and it was very voluntary?

Sapp told Morris that showing up for practice, whenever it is, is all about respecting the head coach. It was simple for Sapp: Coach calls a practice, then that’s where you go. You don’t disrespect your coach by staying home.

Sapp went on to have 10 sacks that season for a 2-14 football team.

So today, Joe is wondering about the meaning of Sapp’s actions and words. Is OTA attendance no big deal? Is Jameis secretly furious that Jackson is so busy that he can’t show up — when the entire team has six weeks of vacation beginning in 12 days?

At practice Thursday, Grimes looked extraordinarily fit and very sharp. Unlike Jackson, who wasn’t there, Grimes isn’t trying to adjust to new teammates and coaches.

What Joe does know is Jackson, on May 23, ironically stressed the importance of OTAs. He went out of his way to say the current final phase, which allows defensive backs to cover receivers, is key time — and then he bailed on lots of it.

Joe sure hopes the Jameis-Jackson chemistry doesn’t struggle early in the season.

26 Responses to “Warren Sapp, OTAs & The Bucs’ Absences”

  1. Fsuking Says:

    I’m supposed to be the franchise player and we in here talkin about practice! I mean listen. Not a game, not a game, not a game, we talkin about practice!

  2. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I don’t think any of us don’t want Jackson at OTA’s. It’s just not a good look. However, we all had to kind of know this was a real possibility. It’s not like it’s his first time skipping OTA’s, and he has been a great player while skipping them. I’m sure the Bucs knew it as well. Jackson is a proven veteran, and he obviously can perform well without the voluntary practices.

  3. biff barker Says:

    Think the pendulum has swung as far to the left as possible from the Ray Perkins thee a day “Death Sentence” practices.

    OTA’s is just practicing to practice. But to call any team event voluntary is complete BS. An oxymoron.

  4. Mort Says:

    As long as he is at training camp and they connect during the season, who cares? I’d rather get Godwin the reps anyway.

  5. Capt. Blighe Says:

    Jackson is protecting his moneymaker (legs).
    Even in the season he doesn’t want a lot of balls thrown to him.
    He wants 3-4 long passes (20 yards) to him a a game.
    So he has a chance to take one or two the house.
    I gaurantee you he will have a minor injury and miss 2-3 preseason games.
    Just like ME13 has done in the past.

  6. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Wise words Mort.

  7. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Capt. B I kinda hope that’s true because I want our workhorse ME to remain just that,the workhorse. Desean not being overly concerned with touches will be fantastic. Just let’em stretch thangs here and there like he’s accustomed to.

  8. Maze Says:

    Pay check collectors

  9. Mike Johnson Says:

    Theres no alarm button here. If the rules of the game say attendance is not mandatory for vets then they are within their rights not to attend. Jackson and Grimes are seasoned vets. When the official whistle blows? You can be sure both will be ready.

  10. LovieBall Says:

    Jackson doesn’t need to be there. He knows he is good and he is not trying to be a leader on the team.

  11. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    LovieBall expresses a valid opinion.

    There are two reasons for OTA attendance….one is real…the other is show although I concede as Sapp said the show is paying respect to your coach and teamates.

    But just look at the examples. Got to have your franchise QB at EVERY practice or team gathering….Ali Marpet…absolutely needs to be at every gathering working on a new position.

    DJAX…not really…he’s run all the routes hundreds of times…he knows his body…what it needs to stay sharp…he’s a long term veteran…I’d feel the same way if GMC or DL took a day or two off here and there.

    At some point we have to trust in our own professionalism. Trust our players to know if they NEED to be at an OTA…trust Licht/Koetter to craft a team of players who do the right thing every time.

  12. DBS Says:

    And if he was here and running hard and got hurt and could not play the season everyone knows what the first words said would be. Speed will change when pads go on and people can hit and disrupt timing. Training camp is what will make the real difference.

  13. R.O. Says:

    Appreciate reading what I already already heard. Sarcasm..

  14. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    It’s not like he’s trying to be great.
    I mean only the legends – don’t miss practice (unless their hurt)
    Only the legends lead by example.

    He’s not trying to be the next….
    • Jerry Rice
    • Larry Fitzgerald
    • Marvin Harrison
    • Cris Carter
    • Hines Ward
    • James Lofton

    He’s a hired gun. Nothing more – Nothing less.

    Hell, we don’t even need him to run; the entire route tree.
    Long as he can still fly on..
    • Go Routes
    • Hitches
    • Crossing Routes ← Savage
    • In Routes
    • Post Routes
    >>>>Maybe a few of (WR) Screens (Poor Hump)

    We good.

    Ref: How Gruden would preserve – Joey “The “White Tiger” Galloway.
    Remember Joey rarely made it to the practice field.

    Per: “The Greatest Coach In Buccaneer History” – Jon Gruden

    “I think you guys are very intelligent, but I think you misunderstood what he was saying,” said Galloway, set to enter his 14th season. “I think when you go and see the white tiger there’s always posted times of when he gets to eat. The zookeeper posts that time. And coach is the zookeeper.”

  15. Not there yet Says:

    If the bucs need Jackson more than we need him then we are not ready for the playoffs. I don’t like the keyshawn type arrogance and being this is his first year in the offense he hasn’t earned anything in Tampa yet.

  16. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Insane the amount of production – Gruden was able to get out Joey; late in his career.

    Joey Galloway (2005-2007)
    • 2005 – (AGE:34) 83 receptions, 1,287 yards, 15.5-yard average, 10 TDs
    • 2006 – (AGE:35) 62 receptions, 1,057 yards, 17.0-yard average, 7 TDs
    • 2007 – (AGE:36) 57 receptions, 1,014 yards, 17.8-yard average, 6 TDs

  17. webster Says:

    Remember sapp did not like keyshawn because he would miss otas. Some players are just wired differently. I wish all players were as dedicated as sapp but obviously that is not the case.

  18. feelthepewterpower Says:

    Joe, will you call out D. Jackson directly and ask him why he stresses the necessity of OTA’s when he isn’t out there practicing?
    “Call out?” There’s nothing to hear. Jackson stressed the importance of OTAs, not the necessity. He’s skipping a bunch. It’s self-explanatory. He isn’t making it a priority. Joe would ask Jackson if there was a specific reason why he skipped OTAs. –Joe

  19. feelthepewterpower Says:

    OK, maybe not a necessity per se (since it is voluntary) but he has stressed the importance of OTA’s as you said. Wasn’t he asked about his veteran influence at his presser in March?

  20. Cash Says:

    What part of voluntary don’t you people get? So what Sapp chose to work when he didn’t have too. If your co-worker shows up for non madatory, non paid work does that mean you have to as well? I wonder how many of you show up to your job when not required?

  21. Vern4499 Says:

    Jackson has never done OTAs. He never attended when in DC.

  22. DislocatedBucsFan Says:

    When your in an organization or fraternity like the NFL is you develop a certain Comradery with the man to left and right of you. Because on Sunday if someone takes a day off, it very well may cost you a game. I relate this to the Army in a sense. Our comradery wasn’t necessarily outside the wire. It was developed stateside when you’re in a training event, haven’t slept in days, hungry, cold, wet and tired. But pushing on. Looking left and right and seeing the guy next to you pushing just as hard. That way, when the time comes and the lead flies you know damn well that both men to the left and right of you has your back. You know what he’s thinking and he knows what your thinking. You act as one entity. That is developed in training. Although he has the right to miss, I don’t think Jameis is too cool with it. I wouldn’t be. We call those types “sick call rangers” or simply “SH*T BAGS.”

  23. C2 Says:

    ^Totally out of context analogy. If DeSaean Jackson were a rookie trying to prove himself you might have a point. The man is at the tail end of a solid career where he is been one of the best at what he does. Getting injured by some rookie trying to make a team in voluntary offseason workouts is just silly. Being there every day and being a standout in May and then not being able to play in September would mean nothing.

    Much respect for your enthusiastic service to country, but this is football, where there is no honor in risking injury or tired legs to your veteran star to prove some meaningless point in May.

  24. Bucsfanman Says:

    @LUV- I remember early comparisons to production from “older” WRs being a topic of conversation. Joey was 3 years older when Gruden got him. If we can get half of the production we got from Joey, we’ll be in good shape. If DJax can mimic what Joey did, watch the F out!
    Droppin’ knowledge! Good job!

  25. Pawel Says:

    At least there is less chance of an injury.

  26. Laflare Says:

    Let’s not turn this into some crazy narrative without actually knowing what Jackson is doing when he’s not there and where he actually is, i mean, before YouTube is littered with vids of him at beaches or anywhere else there’s tons of sand running through it. It’s June, let’s leave the red flags at the hip and see how this teams rolls out the closer we get to August. I get the point of the Sapp example, but let’s not act like he’s the be all, end all or even a standard. of ethical player conduct. I get the point, but let’s not reach here