The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted men and women from the armed forces for their military appreciation day as Tropical Storm Emily's track towards Tampa led to yet another rain filled practice. The Bucs spent a good amount of time Monday morning working on the run game, and were able to get in a full practice despite the weather.
"We did everything just how we had it scripted," Koetter said. "You've got all this stuff going on, you add the wet field, the wet ball, those are great challenges for us. We can't duplicate it."
While the idea of working in wet weather with a wet football is something that was met with mixed emotions, the idea of getting into full pads and hitting each other is something everyone seems to be equally excited about. On both sides of the ball, players had talked for days about suiting up and hitting, and today they finally were able to bang heads, which Koetter says added a different level of energy to practice.
"Oh yea, for sure. I think especially defensive players and o-line. That's how they make their money," Koetter told 620 WDAE. "Those guys want to lay the wood out there on somebody. Even though we're still trying to protect each other this is a contact sport."
As excited as players were to make contact, the defense was probably thrilled to see a morning of practice that saw a lot of work for the running backs who they're allowed to put a thumping on, unlike quarterback Jameis Winston.
One of those backs putting in a lot of work today was Jacquizz Rodgers who's expected to see the majority of work early in the season as Doug Martin finishes the final three games of his four-game suspension. Koetter was asked if Rodgers could become a feature back this year if given the opportunity, but the Bucs head coach is more concerned with just getting to the season with a healthy backfield.
"I don't see why not," Koetter said about Jacquizz being able to handle the load." That's hard for any back to do. Backs take a pounding out there. Right now we're just worried about getting to Miami on September 10th, but we have good depth at running back. It's going to be fine. It's going to work out.
While much of the talk around the running game always starts with the offensive line, Rodgers spoke Monday about how much having a tight end who can block as well as rookie O.J. Howard will help set things up for the run game.
"Oh man, today in 1-on-1's he was just beasting everybody," Rodgers said about his rookie tight end. "It will be good to have a tight end like him just beasting defensive ends and set the edge for us so we have running lanes."
Whether it's on the ground of through the air, Rodgers knows this offense has the weapons to be very productive, but explained they still have to do the work, because it doesn't much matter how good you look on paper.
"Offensively, I think the sky's the limit for us, Rodgers said. "We just have to focus on the details and just coming out here each and every day and just working to get better and realize nothing is going to be given to us even though it looks good in paper."
Desean Jackson echoed his teammate's excitement about the offense as he spoke to the media about the array of weapons at the offenses disposal and the team's ability to be explosive.
"Explosive man, making a lot of plays," Jackson said about his expectations for the offense. "It's definitely a dynamic offense here. We've got a lot of weapons. I'm excited to be here and be an addition to this offense. We're putting in a lot of work."
Jackson also joked that he's going to be in Mike Evans' ear when it comes to making sure Evans has a big year in regards to YAC.
I told him this year he can't let the first guy tackle him," Jackson joked. "Once he catches the ball, he can't let the first guy tackle him. If he does, than he's going to have to hear it from me. He's doing a great job, he's working hard. He's definitely a physical receiver, he's big, huge guy so he's able to go up and make some crazy plays. I think this year he'll definitely have some more YAC after the catch."
While Jackson joked about making sure Evans doesn't go down early, he was 100% serious when talking about wanting to be there for his younger teammates as a leader, and as someone who can teach them some of the tricks he's picked up during his time in the league.
"I have a lot of experience under my belt," Jackson said. "Anything I can give back to these young guys, teach them, give them little pointers, that's what I'm here to do. I'm not here to keep all the information to myself. I love to pass information down, and vice versa, if them guys see anything in my game they can pass to me, I'm always open ears and willing to learn."
When it comes to the defensive side of the football, one player that has caught the eye of Koetter early on is rookie linebacker Kendell Beckwith. Beckwith who missed the entire offseason program as he healed up from a torn ACL looked rusty during the two days of rookie practices before training camp began, but Koetter has been impressed by the way he's bounced back since.
"It's only been eight months since his ACL, and very few guys come back that fast," Koetter said. "The first couple days we were out here in rookie practice before the throng of fans and media was here, Kendall, I was a little nervous. Not about his knee, just he looked rusty. After four practices he's probably our most improved player. As far as a guy that where he started and where he is after four practices. It really is a good story, and kind of an amazing story how fast he's back."
Beckwith has a real opportunity to make an impact on this team if he can stay healthy and impress, as the team has suggested he and Devante Bond will compete for the starting strong side linebacker position, and as Kwon Alexander's back up at middle linebacker.