Day-14 of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp practice was a day that included a special guest. After practice the Bucs held a press conference to announce Tony Dungy’s induction into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor.
“It’s great to have coach here,” Koetter said about having Dungy at Tuesday’s practice. “It’s rare that you get a guy that’s in the Colts ring of honor, the Bucs ring of honor, and the NFL Hall of Fame. It doesn’t get much bigger than that. Coach spent about 20 minutes talking to the players this morning. Who better than a local guy, and a guy that does care about the Bucs, and was here and did a phenomenal job. We’re very honored to have him here with us today.”
While Dungy was spoke to the team, was around practice, and even stopped by to talk with Ronnie and TKras, there were a couple noticeable players missing on the field once practice began, most notably, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. However, there’s no need for concern, as Koetter was just allowing a few veterans some rest before they head out for a couple of competitive practices against the Tennessee Titans.
“Fitz had a day off today,” Koetter explained when asked why the veteran quarterback couldn’t be seen throwing during the day’s work. “We probably had six or seven guys that we held out today, because we know we’re going into two hard days in Tennessee, so some of those veteran guys we gave them some slack today.”
For Koetter, the opportunity to work against another team gives the Buccaneers some things they can’t get while just working against themselves.
“The two days of practice working against different schemes and different players because what happens when you work against yourself this much is guys start to cheat off the script a little bit and they know each other’s tendencies, so it’s always really good to go against someone you haven’t seen before,” the Bucs head coach said. “That will just carry over from the two days into Saturday night.”
Monday, Koetter explained that Justin Evans had been moved into the slot because of some of the injuries they’ve suffered at corner. A move that was partially made possible by the ability of rookie Jordan Whitehead to move into the safety position Evans slid down from. For Koetter, Whitehead’s ability to step up and play downhill is the best part of his game.
“I think that’s probably his best thing,” Koetter told 620 WDAE. “ When we watched him on his college tape at Pitt, one of the things that jumped is that they’re a quarters-based defense, and in a quarters defense you’re really in a nine-man front, and those safeties gotta fit like linebackers, and he definitely showed that. The other thing is Pitt played him as a running back sometimes, and the way he’d hit it up in there as a runner, we thought he was type of player, of course you can’t really show that when you’re not in pads, so that was really his first chance to show it, and we’re excited that he did.”
Flexibility is beyond valuable in the NFL, especially in the defensive backfield. Tuesday Koetter explained how he needs his DBs to move around just like he needs his receivers to.
“You gotta have flexibility,” The Bucs head coach explained. “I look at those DBs similar to how you look at the wide outs. Chris Godwin can play four wide out spots. Mike, can play four wide out spots. We’re getting stressed at our depth at corner right now and nickel, so Justin Evans is becoming one of those guys that has to move around. M.J. Stewart is in that same spot. When you get hit with injuries at one position, we don’t cancel practice. I mean, we gotta figure something out. In the long run it builds your depth.”
The Bucs will travel to Tennessee where they’ll hold two joint practices against the Titans before the teams meet for their second tune up on Saturday night at 8:00.