The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wrapped up training camp on Thursday with their final practice heading into Saturday night’s preseason home opener against the Cleveland Browns.
Dirk Koetter came off the practice field clearly excited that camp is behind the team, and that the media won’t be able to hang around during practice, as media is only allowed on the field for 30 minutes a day outside of training camp.
“Last day of open media. Who’s happy,” Koetter asked as he stepped in front of the cameras and microphones. “I am happy.”
While the Bucs have been able to steer clear of any major injuries during camp, the team is starting to see some players dinged up, as Kwon Alexander and Mike Evans were out of practice again Thursday. Gerald McCoy did suit up for practice, but didn’t see much action before after being sidelined with an undisclosed injury – or ding – or something. The team isn’t required to put out an injury report during the preseason, and isn’t very forthcoming about what is ailing their players for competitive reasons.
While the team has suffered more dings as camp has progressed, Koetter suggested many of those “dings,” shouldn’t be something to be too concerned about.
“We’ve got several guys that are dinged up,” when asked why Gerald McCoy didn’t seem to see many reps. “We had quite a few guys out today, but I don’t think it’s anything serious.”
One player who isn’t quite the fan favorite like guys like Kwon, Evans and McCoy, but was on the practice field was Charles Sims. While fans and many in the media haven’t been very high on Sims, Koetter explained Thursday that he’s had a very good training camp.
“Pretty much everything,” the Bucs head coach said about what’s impressed him about Sims. “He’s hitting the holes hard in the running game. He can play every position in the passing game, and he’s one of our best protectors. He’s also doing a really nice job on special teams. He’s playing the core on special teams, so he’s doing the dirty work on special teams because he’s such a good blocker. He doesn’t say much, so nobody talks about him, but he’s as solid as the day is long. He’s just a really good football player.”
While Koetter has expressed displeasure with his team’s effort at times during camp, and is constantly pushing his team for more, he spoke Thursday about why this team should be in the best position they’ve been in since he became the offensive coordinator three years ago.
“I just think that we’ve probably developed the best depth that we’ve had in the three seasons that I’ve been here,” Koetter said about this year’s training camp. “It’s going to be tough at the end because we’ve got decent depth at several positions.”
The depth and talent of the 2017 Buccaneers have created huge expectations both inside and outside the locker room, but Clinton McDonald explained Thursday that those should be the expectations for all 32 teams, every year.
“If any of the 32 teams come into training camp and they aren’t using the word playoffs or even Super Bowl, then they’re objectives aren’t where they want to be,” McDonald said. “Nobody wants to get beat and not go to the playoffs, nobody wants to go to the playoffs and get beat in the first round. Everybody’s objective on all 32 teams is to go to the Super Bowl and be Super Bowl champs this year.”
One player who will see their first action inside Raymond James Stadium is Bucs 3rd-round-pick Chris Godwin, who says he’s very excited to play in front of the home fans for the first time on Saturday night.
“I’m honestly really excited. I’ve never played there before, Godwin said. “To be able to go out there in front of our fans will be great. I’ve gotten a little bit of taste of how our fans are all throughout camp when they come out here at practice, so I’m really excited to get there.”