5 Takeaways From Buccaneers Training Camp

July 31st, 2019

Watch the preseason opener, Friday, Aug. 9 , with Ira at Buffalo Wild Wings in Wesley Chapel, just east of I-75 at 26725 State Road 56. Ira will have giveaways and the fun starts at 6:45 p.m.


Five days in, five observations.

* The Bruce Arians era is underway at One Buc Place and the new football czar sounds energized. Listening to Arians, you’d think the Bucs are poised to shake up the Vegas skeptics by ending an 11-year playoff drought.

Let’s keep some perspective.

This is the same guy who praised Jameis Winston’s performance after the first practice of training camp, a session marked by errant passes and poor reads. The point is Arians isn’t ready to call out struggling players at this stage, even if he cringes at some of the tape.

Behind closed doors, he’s the same old Bruce Arians.

Keeping his public comments benign at the moment is understandable, considering new techniques are being implemented and new schemes are being installed. Don’t worry, this new kinder, gentler version of Arians won’t last forever.

The man didn’t win two Coach of the Year awards by saying what players want to hear. He was successful because of tough love. Coach ’em hard, hug ’em later.

Hard is just around the corner.

The two early story lines of camp involve Ronald Jones and a very young, very hungry secondary.

**To the considerable relief of Jason Licht, Jones suddenly looks like a player who can inject some juice into a flat ground game. If Peyton Barber is the hammer, Jones plans on being the blowtorch and this coaching staff can’t stop talking up a second-round pick whose rookie season couldn’t have gone much worse.

“He’s an explosive kid, man,” says play-caller Byron Leftwich. “Wow, he’s an explosive kid. Just like Jameis and all these young players, we’re trying to get these guys to make the right decisions because the NFL is not really about talent. You win with technique, and that’s hard to get young guys to understand.”

Rookie safety Mike Edwards

*** Tampa Bay’s defensive backfield seems to understand the days of passivity are over. You don’t want to read too much into training camp, but these kids have been impressive, starting with Mike Edwards. They have responded to an aggressive scheme with enthusiasm and even Vernon Hargreaves, the old man of the bunch at 24, looks rejuvenated.

Unlike the past few seasons, passes are being contested. Mike Evans is still making plays because the man’s elite, but more often than not, these defensive backs are winning the battles.

**** Injuries have been minimal through five practices, and that’s always a good sign. In fact, distractions are at a minimum right now as the workouts shift to a later starting time through Saturday. Winston looked sharper on Tuesday as he incorporates some changes in his mechanics and footwork.

This transition may take awhile before Winston is fully comfortable.

This is his first pro season without answering to Dirk Koetter and even a veteran like Carson Palmer struggled a bit under Arians in the early stages of 2013, their first season together in Arizona.

Hall talk with Peter King

***** Peter King was gracious enough to join my podcast this week and I talked to my fellow Hall of Fame voter off microphone for a few minutes to discuss the candidacy of John Lynch and Ronde Barber.

King isn’t down on Lynch, but he has felt that there were at least five more deserving modern-era nominees on the ballot each year that Lynch has been in the meeting room.

You can’t argue with that approach and it’s worth noting that few Hall of Fame voters take their responsibilities more seriously than King.

Barber has been eligible for two years and hasn’t made the cut from 25 semi-finalists to the 15 finalists who are discussed. Like me, King is floored by the lack of respect shown to an all-decade cornerback.

Hopefully, Barber will be one of the finalists announced in January because he has a compelling case to be made for Canton.

14 Responses to “5 Takeaways From Buccaneers Training Camp”

  1. BucDan Says:

    Another great write up by The Sage!

  2. NOSBOS Says:

    This team is going to have a collegiate feel to it this season. That feel will be highly infectious.

  3. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Not buying the hype, prove it on the field in a regular season game. I bought the hype the last 7 years. no more.

  4. Snook Says:

    The biggest difference with this coaching staff is something Leftwich mentioned yesterday.

    The NFL isn’t about talent. Its about technique and this coaching staff is actually TEACHING technique.

  5. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Hard to believe Ronde Barber is not in the hall of fame

  6. BringBucsBack Says:

    I have said it before, let Barry Sanders pitch the voters on Lynch’s behalf.

    “… you win with technique,” says Leftwich. It’s hard to argue that fine point. I hope the team can see it to fruition.

  7. Phil Says:

    Don’t forget Simeon Rice. He belongs in more than Lynch or Barber. Without him there is no Super Bowl in Tampa. The man is a beast.

  8. Pickgrin Says:

    I will just be glad to see a live Bucs game next week – even if it is only pre-season

    Glad to hear that King is on-board with Ronde’s deservingness for HOF consideration. Barber re-wrote the book on the Nickle CB position – and on THAT basis alone he should be a shoe-in for the Hall.

    Seems Lynch is fighting an ever increasingly uphill battle to get in even though he’s been very close a # of times…. I still say the Jason Taylor 1st ballot thing was just WRONG and that Taylor basically stole Lynch’s spot in the HOF that year – (which may now never even come – unless he’s very successful as a GM on top of his stellar playing career).
    Keep plugging away on that one though Ira – John Lynch is more than deserving to be in the NFL HOF. Maybe one day these fool voters will see it.

  9. Mike Johnson Says:

    I’m straight up with you here GhostofSchiano. Cannot..willnot buy into the hype. Even if JC was coaching this team, they gotta show me..Bring it on the field. Every year, its been the SOB’s (same ole bucs). Yes, I believe we will be improved. How much is the question. You can bet the Falcons, saints and Panthers are improved also. Bring in the Pirate ship with victories. That’s what
    we need. Wins. By any means necessary. Go Bucs!

  10. Darin Says:

    Ahhhh passes can be contested?? What a concept.

  11. Cobraboy Says:

    @Mike Johnson: one can be skeptical and hopefully optimistic at the same time.

  12. #1bucsfan Says:

    97, 20, 47. Will get in. All were dominate at their positions and were well respected. Some even had to learn the hard way like QBs taking to long to throw then getting sacked by rice or a WR running across the middle then getting hit by a speeding bus or QB throwing it to the wrong guy

  13. teacherman777 Says:

    If Vernon can truly play a #1 CB and if he deserves to stay with us next year.

    We will have a truly DEEP and CHEAP stable of corners.

    Even with his huge pay raise, the average salary of our top 4 CB’s will be very cheap.

    I hope next year, we have draft ALL lineman. A new RG and RT and a new DT and DE.

  14. Buczilla Says:

    I’m obviously biased, but Lynch should have been in by now. Terrell Davis, Brian Dawkins, and Jason Taylor get in before Lynch? Barber never cracking the top 15?Hogwash. Hopefully Peter King and the rest of his northeast cronies retire and give up their voting privileges soon. Hang in there Ira, I know that you are doing your best to get our guys in, but the deck seems like it’s rigged.