Day-13 of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp was spirited until the end, and while it may have ended with a fight between who many in the media thought (not confirmed) was Kwon Alexander and Ryan Jensen, head coach Dirk Koetter was very happy with how the day’s practice went.
“Yea, we had a fight,” Koetter told 620 WDAE. “Big deal. I mean, it’s football. That was one of our best practices of the year right there. It just didn’t end on a positive note from a fight standpoint, but you’re dreaming if you think that stuffs not going to happen in football. I don’t think twice about that. It’s over, what happened happened, and it’s going to happen again sometime. That’s just the way it is.”
While he isn’t surprised by the fight, it is something Koetter doesn’t want to see when it comes to blows, but regardless of the finish, the Bucs head coach was very happy with the energy his team showed Monday.
“We had unbelievable energy on both sides,” Koetter told 620 WDAE. “Coming off a day off, sometimes these guys come out here and drag. The weather might have helped a little bit, but I thought our energy was excellent all day. You’re always going to coach execution when you’re working with this many guys, but if they have good energy and they’re talking and communicating with each other it’s going to help our team get better.”
One guy who looks to have gotten better since his rookie year is safety Justin Evans who has been good in camp, and has moved between safety and nickel back in recent days due to the injuries the team has suffered at corner. While the move was one that happened because of injuries, Koetter says it will help Evans continue to grow.
“A lot of times guys have to move by necessity of injures,” Koetter told 620 WDAE. “That’s the case, so once you get to the point where we’re down multiple corners right now in practice, and we’re down two nickels, two of our three nickels are out of practice right now. No one feels sorry for you. You gotta adjust. It gives Justin a chance to play a new position which will only help him understand the whole defense more. Also, we think Justin’s a playmaker and it gets him closer to the action. He got a lot of snaps at nickel. Since we’re working with Tennessee this week, he may be playing some nickel down at Tennessee.”
Another guy who will have a much bigger role in 2018 is running back Peyton Barber, but while he’ll see many touches in the upcoming season, there’s no reason to expect he’ll be the only player out of the backfield to see significant time.
“Peyton could be a three-down player if we asked him to,” Koetter said. “The reason you don’t see a whole lot of three-down backs in the NFL is because it’s hard of them. They get tired. They take a pounding. I don’t think any position get hits more, and gets hit harder than running back in the NFL. Linemen are hitting each other every play, but usually those backs get hurt somebodies got a ten-yard running start when they hit him. I do not think that we’ll be going with a three-down back just because I think it’s very hard to do. I think those guys that are that in the league are really on an elite status.”
After missing much of camp to this point, Brent Grimes has been on the field in recent days, and it sounds like it may have helped keep him from losing his mind!
“It was just good to be out here,” the veteran corners said about getting back to work with his teammates. “I’ve been just a guy hanging out for a while.”
Hanging out is OK for a lot of us out at Bucs practice, but Grimes hasn’t stayed in the NFL so long by being lazy.
“For my sanity I just need to move around,” Grimes said with a smile on his face. “I’m not good at sitting still for real long. It’s good to come out and work with the guys and be part of the team in that aspect. To get out and actually put in the football work with the team, you just feel part of the team more when you do that, and I had fun, and it just makes my day better.”
Grimes and his teammates will hit the road after Tuesday’s practice to practice in Tennessee before taking on the Tennessee Titans Saturday night. While some guys are just excited to hit somebody other than their own teammates, it sounds like the long-time corner isn’t exactly super excited about the extended trip.
“No, I don’t to tell you the truth,” Grimes said when asked if he gets excited to work with another team. “Unless they were coming here. It’s a lot of traveling, but you get a good work out. In that aspect, you get some good work. Instead of seeing the same plays, the same guys all over again. You get to see different things, and work on different things. It’s cool, it gives you a semi-game atmosphere a little bit, on a really minor scale, but it’s cool. But as a whole, no, I don’t like living in a hotel for a week.”
When it comes to the upcoming season, Grimes sees good things ahead for a Buccaneers team with low expectations.
“I’m optimistic. I’ve been seeing a lot of good things, but you never really know until the game, but we are doing a lot of good things. We added a lot of new, good pieces, and people are practicing well with the D-line and things like that. They’re doing well, so I’m excited to see them in the regular season, and in that aspect, I’m really optimistic.”
The Buccaneers will be back on the practice field Tuesday when they hold their next to last public practice beginning at 9:45.