The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wrapped up their week of training camp practices Saturday in front of the most ruckus crowd of training camp, and outside of one really poor decision, after which Dirk Koetter said Jameis Winston got an earful for, the Bucs third-year signal caller and the offense had another solid day during practice.
The team did red zone work right in front of the 620 WDAE broadcast area inside the media tent, so I had a very good view of Winston making some very good throws into the end zone where he found Chris Godwin for one diving touchdown and Desean Jackson with a couple of nice passes as well. Another needle threading pass from Winston to Josh Huff bounced off the receiver’s hands. Overall, the offense had another strong day after allowing the defense to gain the upper hand for much of the practices before yesterday.
It was another hot day of Bucs practice today at One Buc Place after some cooler and more overcast and rain-filled days to start camp, but the Bucs head coach was happy to see his guys working hard in the heat because those are the conditions guys can grow the most under.
"Four straight days in pads – we talked to these guys about the struggle and fighting through the struggle,” Koetter said. “Your body learns the most when it's under duress. They pushed through today. I'm sure they'll be corrections in film this afternoon. Day off tomorrow, back at it on Monday."
One of the most important things for a Buccaneers offense that’s trying to find their rhythm will be the play of the offensive line which is working on building continuity with a new starting right guard in J.R. Sweezy, and with Ali Marpet moving over to center. Koetter spoke about the process for the offensive line after practice, and he sees things coming together for the group that will propel or hamper an offense that seemingly has weapons galore this season. Side note: I really like the word galore.
"I think they're on the right track. It's a process,” the Bucs second-year head coach explained. “I think they're on the right track for sure. They're working together with Ali [Marpet] in the middle and Ali is the main communicator. That's a change and Ali's got to get used to it. Instead of someone else making the calls to him, he's making the calls for everybody else. So that's just taking a little bit of time, and that's okay."
When it comes to those weapons, one of the newest and most dangerous weapons for Winston and Koetter is veteran receiver Desean Jackson, and his abilities were on full display Saturday.
"DeSean had a great day. He got off to a fast start,” Koetter said. “You know, one of his best plays, I don't even know [if it was noticed] because it was over there on the sideline in that last period. He caught that quick out, broke that tackle and he was gone. So, big day for DeSean, fun to see."
Jackson hasn’t just been an explosive offensive weapon during his career, but the wideout has also been a big time special teams contributor as a returner at times during his stint with the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins, but while Koetter didn’t rule it out, it sounds like something we shouldn’t be expecting to see very often.
"Emergency,” Koetter cautioned. “Yeah, emergency. The same one he did years ago. Game on the line, you've got to have one – there's a chance we'd put him back there."
Jackson spoke after practice today as well, and talked about getting in some red zone work, the talent on the offense, and his quarterback’s play down close to the goal line
“Any time you’re able to get that close down there it’s a little harder because the field gets smaller,” the Bucs new speedster explained. “But, we have some great players in there, ‘Jaboo’ made some great throws. So it was good today.”
The Bucs are less than a week away from their first preseason game, and Buccaneers fans are excited to see Desean Jackson in his number 11 jersey for the first time (he wears 1 practice) Jackson explained you probably won’t be seeing much of him Friday night against Cincinnati Bengals if he has his way!
“I’m going to save my plays for the regular season when it counts,” Jackson said. “Obviously preseason is something we have to go through. I’m sure we’ll get some reps, get some plays in there. Not try to show too much because we’re expecting a big year this year, come out and light it up September 10th. So as far as preseason, it will definitely be good to get out there and get some play timing down. Getting everything we’ve been working on out versus somebody else.”