Day 4: Buccaneers Training Camp Notes, Nuggets & Observations

July 31st, 2017

Day 4 of training camp rumbled on this morning under the rain at One Buc Palace. Closed to the public, practice was filled by fans as part of a military appreciation event. Joe was taking notes. Here you go:

*Messy day on the field with rather steady rain, heavy at times. The grass was soggy-soft. Joe stepped on it and can vouch for the feel. The Buccaneers put their pads on, cleared to hit for the first time this year, but the pounding was very limited. One play, for Joe, really typified the conditions. America’s Quarterback, Jameis Winston, threw deep for DeSean Jackson (very deep). Jackson had Josh Robinson beat but Jameis’ throw was short. Jackson didn’t fight to come back for the ball and Robinson completely wiped out (slipped Three Stooges style) as he went for the pick. There also was a play with Vernon Hargreaves covering Donteea Dye over the middle and it was a clear pass interference, with Hargreaves hitting Dye before the ball arrived. Better footing and that might have been a very different play all around.

**Even though it was the first day of pads, there really wasn’t much hitting. It sure seemed like defenders were told to lay off. With the exception of the third-team linebackers (who were awfully feisty), there was limited physical contact. For example, on a handoff to the right side, Gerald McCoy broke through the line and could have totally destroyed Martin. Think of a grizzly bear about to pounce with its front paws held high. But as soon as GMC started to smother Martin, he pulled his arms backwards and backed off. The only real hit Joe noticed was in a return drill walk-through (it was slow developing so Joe guesses it was a walk-through). The misplaced Stampeder, Donteea Dye, ran to the right and began to slow down and was near a dead stop when enforcer and fan favorite Chris Conte put Dye on the ground. It wasn’t a vicious hit, but Conte put a shoulder down as if to say, “Stay in your lane, Stampeder. Also, tight end Alan Cross took a pass in the right flat from Jameis and was immediately met by Kwon Alexander. In a game setting, Cross would now be looking up at hospital surgical lights, instead Kwon just tapped him. You can also see a Kwon shoulder delivered to rookie RB Jeremy McNichols on video here.

**On offense, the reserve running backs seem to be getting more work with the “ones” (first team) that in years past. Maybe that is a figment of Joe’s imagination; maybe not.

Of course, Bucs running back Doug Martin starts the season serving the balance of his suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. So for the first three games (at least) there is no Martin.

Over the weekend, specifically Saturday, rookie Jeremy McNichols was getting some looks with the ones. Today, it was Peyton Barber. He looked alright in catching a pass in the left flat but running or catching is not his issue. It is pass protection. Talking with Bucs types off the record over the past year or so, they have high hopes for Barber as a runner. What seems to be keeping Barber on the bubble is his (in)ability to pass block. Not sure if he has been able to master this skill or not. Today, the first day in pads, the defense was not going full-blast. If Barber can handle pass protection, Joe has a hunch his touches will increase.

**The Bucs worked on a lot of short passes and screens today. If you remember, Joe mentioned in yesterday’s notes, that a particular pass play to the right side needed work. Apparently, Bucs coaches agreed. One screen pass jumped out at Joe not so much for who caught it (Adam Humphries) or who threw it (America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston) but who was blocking. The screen pass to the left worked perfectly for a huge gain and who was leading the convoy? Left tackle Donovan Smith.

To give some folks a picture, in Jameis’ freshman year with Florida State, while playing at Miami in a prime time game broadcast nationally, Jameis threw a screen pass to the left for Devonta Freeman. The play had a virtual fleet of offensive linemen charging down the left sideline guiding Freeman to a long touchdown. That was what this Humphries screen play looked like, with Smith and others serving as the road graders.

**Hard Knocks will no doubt feature backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and his Rubik’s Cube obsession and talent. After practice, the Hard Knocks crew filmed Fitzpatrick and his kids competing against each other to solve the Cube fastest. Nick Folk’s wife and kids looked on. Of note, Folk’s wife is a known fitness freak and is very pregnant. Pretty impressive to see her playing soccer on the wet One Buc Palace fields with a baby in her belly. Don’t be surprised to see her on the HBO reality show/documentary.

**Folks, Chris Baker wasn’t practicing, but Gerald McCoy certainly is. His get-off is so evident to anyone paying attention. Kevin Pamphile got a taste of the regular season today. It was funny. Joe asked several players about taking it easy today on the physicality because of the weather. Nearly every player said, yeah, the order was to stay safe on the soggy turf. But one man disagreed: Demar Dotson. “What the hell were you watching,” Dotson said to Joe. “There’s no take it easy in any of those defensive linemen out there today. C’mon.” Joe didn’t have the heart to tell Dotson that some of his D-linemen were among those who admitted it wasn’t a go-all-out kind of day.

16 Responses to “Day 4: Buccaneers Training Camp Notes, Nuggets & Observations”

  1. Doctor Stroud Says:

    Thanks, Joe! Good work! If Hard Knocks wants to feature “Crocodile Hunter” cockroaches, Jameis Winston’s leg brace, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s Rubik’s Cube exploits, and Mrs. Folk’s soccer skills, then I am fine with that. I just don’t want the crew or the series to be a distraction to the team.

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “For example, on a handoff to the right side, Gerald McCoy broke through the line and could have totally destroyed Martin.” That’s the kind of line that I really never want to see again Joe. Who was supposed to block GMC? Marpet? Pamphile? Are they supposed to double team GMC? What should make us think that Suh won’t be doing exactly the same thing in Game 1? And surely don’t understand the Dotson quote. All the other guys are laying off & Dots thinks they’re going full speed? This after yesterday’s report that Noah Spence was having a field day motoring around our 2 tackles? Please tell me again why I’m supposed to believe that our OLine will be so much better this year.

  3. Pickgrin Says:

    Thanks Joe.

    Glad to hear that most everyone was taking the “play safe out there” directive to heart. Injuries are about the only thing that has real potential to derail our forthcoming 2017 Championship run.

  4. Lord Cornelius Says:

    @ Defense Rules

    In general I think you won’t really know until preseason. It was visible going into 2014 that the line was looking terrible.

    But going off practice reports it’s hard to know. I’m noticing all the different media watching these practices are coming away with different takes about who is dominating / doing well or what excites them. It’s likely because you can only remember so many plays from a day and can only pay attention to so many things when multiple drills are going on while constantly shuffling players.

    Just because Joe mentioned this one GMC play; it doesn’t mean there were multiple plays in which the O-line won the battle. In fact; Pewterrepot actually highlighted a few plays in which the run blocking was basically perfect.

  5. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    It’s practice! Going at less than full speed in the rain.

    I want to see we do against the Bengals and Jax. Then I’ll either be very happy or panic…..

  6. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    “Fan favorite Chris Conte”

    Gets me everytime

  7. Bucco bruce Says:

    Just bought season tickets! I’m so fuching happy.Tampaaaaààa

  8. Fred E. Bucs Says:

    “In a game setting, Cross would now be looking up at hospital surgical lights…”

    As funny as it is true!

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    Lord C … OK, I feel better now. Joe just scares me once in awhile with words like ‘totally destroyed’. DTs like Campbell & Suh & Poe (to name but a few) won’t be aiming for Dougie, they’ll be aiming for Jameis. And this OLine better protect him if we expect to go anyplace.

  10. bucsfaninchina Says:

    very pregnant

    So how pregnant, on a scale from 1-10?

  11. Fred E. Bucs Says:

    I think Barber making this roster will be based on his improvement in pass blocking…at least show an upward trajectory. Sims needs to do better on first and second down, period, dot. Both are going to get a lot of pre-season time. I’d play Doug to see if he is putting out the juice, and Jeremy to get his legs under him, but start him in Game 3 of Preseason…splitting early game time with Quizz. But Quizz I’ll bet sees the least time of all. I’m thinking Barber and Sims likely own the back quarters. Probably see little or either of them in Game 4 of the Preseason. Hanbrough, Hicks, and B. Sims then.

  12. The Buc Realist Says:

    Even preseason games do not tell the whole story!!! It depends what the teams are trying to accomplish!!! not uncommon in the first and second game to just have lineman go one on one so coaches can evaluate players.

  13. Lord Cornelius Says:

    @ Realist

    True – but typically I feel like line play on both sides can at least show how strong your personnel is compared to other teams.

    The year before the Broncos defense broke out they were leading preseason in sacks which carried over (i only remember this because i drafted them in fantasy that year on a whim because of their preseason front 7 performance). In general the years our line has looked really bad in preseason it has translated into the regular season; and the same thing with the line looking improved.

  14. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I have been on a writing binge the last couple days and have so much to catch up on!

  15. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Congrats on your writing binge. Finished one but just now starting on another.
    JBF is a tempting place to visit though.

  16. Trubucfan22 Says:

    So We can expect Dotson to suck again this year. Great. I hope our young guys are ready to replace him this season.