Old Fashioned Training Camp Showdown

July 4th, 2018


Chris Ballard probably won’t make Jason Licht’s Christmas card list this year.

The GM of the Colts broke some Tampa Bay hearts on draft night when he rebuffed trade offers for the No. 6 pick and selected Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson.

The Bucs were then on the clock when Licht swung a deal with the Bills, moving back five spots before picking Vita Vea. And while Vea looks like a prominent piece in a rebuilt defensive line, Nelson looks like the man who got away.

Tampa Bay’s decision to dump J.R. Sweezy leaves a gaping hole at right guard. Nelson would have been a terrific fit in pewter, but Ballard stuck to his guns — while sticking a shiv in Licht’s back.

It was a 6-foot-5, 324-pound body blow, but don’t blame Licht for the damages.

Although he craved Nelson as much as Ballard, Licht didn’t have the right ammo to move ahead of Indianapolis, so he did the next best thing.

With Nelson off the board, the Bucs moved back to 12 and pocketed a couple of second-round picks. Ballard got his guy and Licht addressed some pressing needs.

“I talked about premium players, and Quenton was in that group,” Ballard said. “I thought where we had to go, we were going to lose what I thought was a premium player. The dropoff was too much for us.”

If Ballard had agreed to the deal proposed by Buffalo, Nelson would be entrenched today as Tampa Bay’s right guard and the Bucs would boast an intriguing offensive line.

It didn’t happen, so brace yourself for an old-fashioned training camp showdown between third-year pro Caleb Benenoch and rookie Alex Cappa, with veteran Evan Smith possibly in the mix.

From The Redwood Forest

Caleb Benenoch

Benenoch filled in for an injured Demar Dotson at right tackle for the final five games of 2017 and looked like he belonged. His only other NFL start came at left guard in 2016, so Benenoch should enter camp as the front-runner.

And if Benenoch wins the job and plays well, Licht’s 2016 draft would look considerably better.

The biggest knock on Cappa is his pedigree. He was an outstanding college player, but that Humboldt State jersey turned off some scouts. After all, Cappa is the first Lumberjack to hear his name called in the draft since 1992.

The idea of Tampa Bay going into New Orleans with starting guards from Humboldt State and Hobart may seem like a longshot, but it’s not far-fetched.

According to Dirk Koetter, Cappa is a fast learner. He’d better be, because the Superdome is one of the loudest venues in the league.

Whoever wins the right guard job will play between Dotson and new center Ryan Jensen. Like Jensen, Cappa majors in nasty. Benenoch is more of a technician.

Ghost Vibe

Fury or finesse? Who cares? Offensive line coach George Warhop just wants a guy he can rely on.

Sweezy’s two-year stint in Tampa was quite forgettable, so the Bucs are moving on. Fair enough, but I have a feeling the ghost of Quenton Nelson may haunt this franchise for years.

“My first impression was, ‘This is the best offensive lineman I’ve seen coming out of the draft in awhile,’” Colts coach Frank Reich said. “I was just thinking about the first time talking to Chris about this, and our mutual consensus was, ‘This is where we have to go. We have to build the fronts.’ That’s what wins. In the long run, you have to be good up front to get to where we want to get to.”

In the NFL, those are words to live by.

Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in town. He has hung his hat at JoeBucsFan.com world headquarters since July 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also hear Ira on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio Wednesdays during football season, and see him now on Mondays at 10:30 p.m. on Spectrum Sports 360 (aka BayNews 9). Ira also is part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday show and enjoys beet salads, Riesling, Chiefs victories and needling Joe.

23 Responses to “Old Fashioned Training Camp Showdown”

  1. BrianBucs Says:

    Capps comes from a small school, but looked very impressive at the Senior bowl and held his own against the bigger school guys

  2. BrianBucs Says:

    Cappa *

  3. German Buc Says:

    Not so sure ’bout this one. Missing out on Nelson gave us a mountain for our D-line – which btw is up front, too – plus two very much needed picks to fill up the quite bare board on secondary. Let’s rally behind our guys and not cry for the ones we don’t get.

  4. Pickgrin Says:

    Nelson is for sure a generational talent. He was the “Big 3” player in this year’s draft that I coveted the most for the Bucs.

    That said – if you told me before the draft that we were going to trade down and get the #12 pick + TWO mid-2nd rounders AND a late 3rd rd pick to boot instead of the right to draft Nelson – I would have been 100% on board with that.

    We don’t know how good Vea, Stewart, Davis and Cappa will ultimately be – but I trust GM Licht’s judgement.

    If Vea becomes what we all hope, Cappa earns a starting OLine spot at some point and even 1 of those CBs turns into a solid or better outside starter – then the trade down was absolutely worth it.

  5. Not there yet Says:

    Should be Benenoch job to lose, don’t think sweezy was cut because of cappa. It’s not like you can show much in ota’s. Cappa should be Dotson’s replacement after this season

  6. AlteredEgo Says:

    Cappa..will find technique > than scrappy….kids is in for some cruel school…hope he can catch up in time …I will say he stock rose pre draft as others saw what the Bucs bit on…wish him the best

  7. Jeff Says:

    I was elated when Nelson is not in a Bucs jersey. Nothing against him, I hope he has a long successful career, but a guard with a high first round pick? There is no value there, did Mankins win the patriots any Super Bowls, did Davin Joseph turn the Bucs around, did Randle McDaniel win any championships for the Vikings? Point is Vita Vea has a better chance to make a game changing impact than Nelson or any guard.

  8. Destinjohnny Says:

    After 5 years in the saddlle, this is the offensive line Jason has put together ?

  9. Darin Says:

    German buc
    I agree. I think we’re better off with Vea, Davis, and Stewart. The offense is ok. Unless that D improves significantly the record wont. Missing out on Nelson could be a blessing. We shall find out once we see those 3 and this defense play.

  10. DB55 Says:

    2 out of those 3 second round picks were totally wasted especially with the talent that was left on the board.

  11. aussieBucfan Says:

    So pick up the phone and ask the colts if they will let Jack Mewhort go.

    Ok so he has had injury troubles and may be a one year rental but paying 1.2m is better than Sweezy’s 5.4m and adds another possible G to the mix.

    Colts are stacked at gaurd somebody is going to tip out..

  12. teacherman777 Says:

    The mistake was not drafting a guard in the 2nd round!

    Two press corners? But Mike Smith plays off coversge?


    We should have 1 CB and 1 OG after Ronald Jones.

  13. Bucco Bruce Says:

    Tony Mandrich was a “can’t-miss” talent, too. Look how that turned out. Bottom line….NOBODY’S can’t-miss until they prove it on an NFL field

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’m happy with how things turned out…..if one of the extra players we got turns out to be a starter….we are winners in this year’s draft.

  15. Pryda... sec147 Says:

    Move Marpet to RG and maybe someone else does LG?

  16. Capt.Tim Says:

    Marpet played left tackle in College, and is more comfortable on the left.

    Probowl guard Ritchie Incognito.
    Answers all of our line issues this year.

    The only thing Ritchie did wrong- was try to do, what his coaches told him to do.
    They directed him- as the Leader on their Offensive line, to try and make a man of someone- who cant be made into a man

    His teammates loved him there, and they loved him at his last team.
    Sign him. Let him play at Rg this year. Benenoch can replace Dotson- like he did sucessfully last year.
    Give the Nasty Cappa, a year to learn from the nasty Incognito.
    Thrn Cappa will be ready to play RG next year

    Its the perfect answer

  17. stpetebucsfan Says:

    What is with the desire for Incongito…besides already being 35 and past his prime as Barney Fife might have said back in the day….”He’s a nut”.

    Incognito has MAJOR problems. He’s been kicked off too many teams for me to list. He’s taken penalties that have literally cost his team a loss. This guy is trash…a total douche bag.

    On May 23, 2018, Incognito was placed on an “involuntary psychiatric hold” for his part in an altercation at a Life Time Fitness health club in Boca Raton, Florida. Incognito allegedly threw a tennis ball and a dumbbell at another gym patron. [69] He was reported to be in an “altered, paranoid state,” suspecting that he was being spied on.[70] On June 6, 2018, he was back in training, hoping to get back to the NFL

    Dang…we have a QB who was almost kept out of the the top draft pick because of charges and allegations from his college career.

    His first off season he parties with his main defense witness in the rape allegations…let’s not let people forget eh…oh and in case they did forget let’s also add a convicted rapist to make sure everybody remembers those charges and oh lets get so drunk that you use a blacked out defense in the latest sex allegation.

    So DB55 is simply reporting facts hating? Who hates whom? Us for being disappointed in absolutely inexplicable moronic behavor…or Jameis hating on us for going out getting drunk with two low lifes with toxic reps.

    But that’s not enough….oh noes…let’s bring in a guy who as recently as this last spring was in an “altered parnoid state”. Yeah that’s the ticket.

  18. Jeffbuc Says:

    So Darby was an eye witness at FSU for jameis so that makes him a pos. Then he tried to stick up for his friend this time. You call him a pos I call him my best friend. I don’t know what friends you roll with st Pete bucs fan? But I want friends who have my back like Darby did. Why does that make him a scumbag. And as for the banks guy he wasn’t convicted yet. And he was a friend of Darby they went to high school together. Jameis was suppose to do a background check on him in the middle of the club. Even that wouldn’t have brought up anything because he wasn’t convicted of anything yet. So just keep showing your hate for jameis and just spewing hate that is t even fact. Me and st Pete buc fan were throwing down beers at bucs draft party we’re friends meet my friend Brian. What do you do google his name and do a background check? No you shake his hand and say hello Brian nice to meet you. So go on with your bs logic he was hanging out with people who are pieces of crap and convicted felon. Hindsight is 20/20 hater. This article isn’t even about jameis yet your hate shines through. Your are just as bad as tmax towards McCoy as you are towards jameis. So either go be st Pete titans fan or stay on board the winston express. I’m done listening to all you jameis haters every post. Oh no a rich 22 year old felt up a girl on top of her clothes out of town. What a piece of crap. Come down off your high horse you and I know you have done worse in your life. I have yet to meet someone who is appalled by this. They ask me because they know I’m a big buc fan of what jameis did I tell them Kate’s version and that is it. And women and men are both like really that’s all he did why is that such a big deal. It’s whiny people like you st Pete buc fan and Roy T Buford. Who are closest racist who would never say nothing to a black mans face but will spew hate behind a keyboard. Be honest how many n word jokes do you tell a month. I bet your hard drive of your computer would put a 5 second croch grab to shame. Your what’s wrong with America so quick to judge other people to make your racist pathetic lives feel better. Where’s your up in arms when catholic priests are are let go for doing a lot worse. So let your hate go or just come out as a full blown coward racist who behind closed doors will do all these things to minorities. But at the gas station hold the door open for Tyrone and Miguel. I grew up with a super racists dad so I can smell you people out. Cowards your the same person that at bucs training camp will be screaming like a little girl to get Winston’s autograph as you bash him on here.

  19. Jeffbuc Says:

    St Pete bucs fan is a racist plain and simple. You are the jameis hater as is tmax to McCoy. You just spew hate you put out after the fact statements who he was hanging out with. How was jameis to know a friend of Darby that he met that night would be convicted of rape a year later. You act like he knew and they were just hanging out with a rapist. Looking for victims. Get a life troll. Go be st Pete titans fan. Who do you compare jameis to on the field? Let me guess Byron leftwhich. Jamarcus Russell, and Vince young. Why is that I wonder? Db55 man I see what your talking about now. All the racist keyboard tuff guys come out against jameis. Now because he did an adolescence croch grab he is guilty of rape at FSU now also. If he was white I guarantee you there would be one or two people who are offended with what he did but the majority would be sticking up for him. And they would all be pissed at the nfl for suspending him with no evidence. But because he is black and they never liked him anyways he is guilty. And the ones who can’t even get mad at what he did because they know it wasn’t that big of a deal. Have to go with they are mad because he lied to them and was deceitful.

  20. Proudbucsfan Says:

    Well said Jeffbuc, well said

  21. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    Jeff that has to be the most ignorant post ever, calling ppl racist because they thibk jameis is a POS because he touched a female that was not asking to be touched, ive been in hundreds of ubers & lyfts and its never crossed my mind to touch the driver… and neither me nor my “posse” are trying to grab girls at bars, jeff you probably need to grow up especially in todays society, or have a daughter, because they make baseball bats for dads of daughters who get groped unwarranted

  22. Destinjohnny Says:

    It’s funny in tide blogs I was calling for tua to play over Jalen hurts.
    Now Tua will be the first pick in the draft when he comes out and as much as I Love Jalen as a man, he won’t make a cfl roster as a third string qb.
    I was called the biggest racist in the world, until I pointed out that tua has darker skin than Jalen.
    With jameis is there a chance that this isn’t the first time he has done this?
    What if someone else
    Comes out? His career would be over.
    Even though he is inconsistent as a qb and locks into one guy,he has intangibles that make it hard to root against him. 6-10

  23. WestminsterCoBucsFan Says:

    He’s always been hated by 1/2 the jbf community(1/2 wanted mariota) and now the haters have more ammo for abuse…I’ll be the first person to say yeah he was probably drunk hitting on an Uber driver, he knows how to sweet talk…and she knows he has $$$$ to tip big, it’s not like she’s picking him up from some house down the street, she might have heard of a certain football game…she went along with the sweet talk for the tip and then he went too far. Maybe she never told police because he immediately stopped AND was $incerely apologetic…I don’t think he’s a monster
    People that say he is now obviously guilty for FSU allegations are ridiculous, that was completely different. Double jeopardy was established for that kind of ignorance. And Ronald Darby is a scumbag? Why? Because he’s a friend who told nfl he had an Uber ride with jameis,which wasn’t a lie.
    Jameis>mariota How many games would mariota have missed behind bucs o-line, what would bucs record be with a broken qb plus no d and no run game
    Shut up already, jameis is our best chance and people need to get behind him because there’s no way in hell hes getting cut.
    If he wins this year nobody will talk about a 3 game suspension…if we lose this year and he regresses, that’s a different story…