If there was a theme for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and head coach Dirk Koetter today, it was that today is just day one. It's a bit too early for fans or for the organization to get excited about anything that happened on the football field, but there's an obvious energy around and about this football team that's as present as the NFL Films cameras filming every move for HBO's Hard Knocks which debuts August 8th.
Koetter spoke after practice, and explained that while practice was a little bit sloppy, it was about what you'd expect from a team that hadn't practiced in six weeks.
"Day one, about what you'd expect," the Buccaneers second-year head coach explained. I mean, we look like we've been off for six weeks. Too many balls on the ground. Too many guys on the ground, but both side made plays."
While again stressing that it's just day one, Koetter talked about how easy it is to see the speed and ability new wide receiver DeSean Jackson brings to the table when the team is on the field for practice.
"You can see Desean flash," Koetter said about Jackson. "The guy's a vet, he's been a play maker in this league. We brought him to be a play maker, and you saw it today."
The conversation with veteran defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was quite different. Despite being in a good mood, McCoy spoke about his recent tweets about being disrespected, and the concerns NFL players face with the recent CTE findings, and the situation with former teammate Brian Price, who recently ran head first through a glass door at a store.
When pressed about who his tweets were intended for, McCoy was fairly vague and refused to explain who was the intended target of the tweets.
"Oh those tweets ,yea. Sometimes you know you just gotta say what you gotta say," McCoy explained. "Whatever y'all think it means is what it means. I'm gonna let y'all decide what it means and write whatever you want."
When asked who it was directed to, McCoy continued to evade the question the way quarterbacks try to evade him. "Whoever you think it was directed to. Whatever crossed your mind when you read that, that's who it was directed to.
"Ronde," one reporter asked.
"If you think it was directed to Ronde," but I never said that, McCoy replied.
The conversation took an even more serious turn when McCoy was asked if he had seen the video of Price jumping through the door at the store.
"To see that, it hurt me to my heart. Not just me, but my wife. I talked to Mike Bennett about it. I talked to Roy Miller about it." "It hurts you to your heart. If that is the case. It is scary. I'd be a liar to say this CTE is not scary, but when you sign up to play this game, you know what you signing up for."
Jameis Winston wrapped up the media availability for the day and made it obvious that his message to his teammates, and the goal for this team was much higher than just making the playoffs.
"The message is clear," The Bucs third-year quarterback said. "Everyone has the same common goal, and that's winning a super bowl, so we have to do everything in our power to achieve that."
While expectations are higher for the Buccaneers this season, few believe they really have a chance at a Super Bowl, but Winston is quick to remind those who don't believe that anything can happen when you get into the tournament.
"It's definitely about putting your team in a situation to be in the playoffs and give yourself that chance," Winston said. Who knows what happens when you get into the playoffs. Anything can happen. You think about all the Wild Card teams that barely got in that end up winning the Super Bowl. The goal is to get there, and when we get there, the goal is to win the Super Bowl."
When it comes to practice, it went, as Koetter said, the way you'd expect the first training camp practice to go. It's hard for anyone to really stand out when nobody is wearing pads. One positive note is the center-quarterback exchange between Jameis Winston and Ali Marpet continues to look very comfortable, and Marpet's transition looks to be going well. It will be interesting to see if there's any difficulties once the contact begins.