A Training Camp Quiz

July 24th, 2023

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On the brink of training camp, the 2023 Buccaneers have no shortage of questions to address.

Before traveling to Minnesota for the Sept. 10 season opener, the Bucs have several critical position duels to settle. The coaching staff also needs to closely monitor some key veterans returning from major injuries and determine which rookies are ready for prime time.

Here’s a pop quiz featuring 10 questions looming over the start of camp:


Position battles don’t get any bigger than figuring out who gives you the best chance to win under center. Baker Mayfield has had some success in the league since being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft. He’s also had some injury issues and hasn’t played well since 2020. Barring an injury to Mayfield, inexperienced Kyle Trask needs a stellar camp to have a legit chance to start.


Devin White was a big-time player down the stretch during the 2020 championship season, making impact plays in the playoffs while showcasing formidable skills at inside linebacker. Now a disgruntled White is seeking a lucrative extension or a trade. The Bucs want to see more before showing him the money. Todd Bowles expects White to report on time, but there are no guarantees White will give up his only leverage.


Rachaad White will be given every opportunity to be the featured back for a team that just finished last in rushing. Despite averaging only 28 yards per game, White hit the ground running in the offseason, exuding confidence while leading Tampa Bay in podcast appearances.


After tearing his Achilles tendon in Week 8, Shaq Barrett has worked hard to regain his quickness and agility. The Bucs are 20-8 when Barrett registers at least a partial sack, but he has only 7 1-2 takedowns in his last 18 games. Barrett turns 31 in November and the Bucs crave his pass-rush acumen off the left edge.

I’ll be ready to go, hair on fire,” Barrett says. “I can’t wait. I miss the game so much.”


First-round pick Calijah Kancey has a knack for disrupting plays in the backfield and this defense needs a jolt of energy up front. Opponents will try to capitalize on Kancey’s lack of size, but Bowles hopes to feed off his quickness. He should be fun to watch when the pads go on.


Always be closing — that’s the mantra which should be engraved above the locker of Joe Tryon-Shoyinka. The former first-round pick has struggled to put quarterbacks on the ground and his third pro season will be consequential. Four sacks won’t cut it anymore, so this is the season he needs to make his bones as an impact pass rusher.


The right guard spot is waiting for Cody Mauch — if the second-round pick is good enough to claim the job. Mauch is nasty and aggressive … traits missing all too often from the 2022 offensive line. He’s a classic Jason Licht draft choice: small school, big upside.


Russell Gage’s first year in Tampa was disappointing. He averaged only 8.4 yards per catch and 33 receiving yards per game as the No. 3 option behind Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. He also missed four weeks in midseason with a hamstring injury and suffered a concussion against Dallas in the playoff matchup. This season needs to be more productive.


Despite tearing three knee ligaments on the second day of camp, Ryan Jensen toughed it out against the Cowboys in January. He sets an ornery tone up front, but he’s 32 and still has to prove he’s back to his old form.

“Some call it dumb,” he says about his gutsy return in the postseason. “But I’m a football player and football players play football.”


The slot corner job is wide open now that Antoine Winfield Jr. is shifting back to his natural safety poisiton. That leaves Dee Delaney, Zyon McCollum and rookie Josh Hayes competing at a critical position.

“The nickel spot is open,” Bowles says. “We have ideas and things we have in mind that we want to see at that posiiton and we think we have some guys that can fill that spot.”

The best advice for any of these nickel candidates? Study film of new Hall of Famer Rondé Barber to see how the best to ever do it defined the position.

12 Responses to “A Training Camp Quiz”

  1. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I am anxious to see what a Healthy Gage can do, since it is said no one can cover him.

  2. D-Rome Says:

    This season is the least I have been excited about a Bucs season since 2014.

  3. Who Says Says Can't Say Says:

    you can read a thousand articles out there, or you can just read this one

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    Good list of 10 Ira … 5 defense & 5 offense. Any concerns about who our kicker will be & how he’ll do? Everyone’s focusing on White as the lead dog, but I’ve got a hunch that Ke’Shawn will ‘sneak’ in there & grab that position from him.

  5. Pewter Power Says:

    Definitely have to take a wait and see approach on Rachaad White. He was ok as a rookie but It’s hard to evaluate the running backs when they’re usually running through gaping holes and no one is touching them until like 5 yards downfield in college.

  6. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Barber wasn’t just the best nickel corner ever, he was the best corner back ever, period.

  7. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Plenty of talent on this team to disrupt some seasons. I don’t think we are super bowl ready but we can make the playoffs and ruin some hopes and dreams of other teams.

  8. Fred McNeil Says:

    That’s a heap big pile of questions there, ,Ira.
    Can’t wait to see the answers

  9. Fred McNeil Says:

    Hey! Thank you for fixing my thing again!

  10. Clay Says:

    What leverage does Devin White have?

  11. HC Grover Says:

    The question is this. Where are they when they play the Stainks in week 4. That will tell the tale of the season. They may bet the Bears, bearly. But if the Stainks blow them out turn out the lights.

  12. garro Says:

    “The best advice for any of these nickel candidates? Study film of new Hall of Famer Rondé Barber to see how the best to ever do it defined the position.”

    A good slot corner can make a huge difference for us this year.

    What you said Ira!

    Go Bucs!