Training Camp Quick Look - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

An important part of training camp and of any practice is the amount of contact, that takes place between players.  Being just over a week away from the opening of the 2009 training camp, I keep finding/hearing quotes from Coach Morris on contact.  He's adamant that guys get out on the field and smash each other in the face.  It's clear there won't be any favoritism for the veteran players.

What makes this a big deal is the change in culture from the Gruden days.  Under Gruden, there wasn't much contact in practice, and veteran players typically got a day off (usually Wednesday).  I understand resting players that are hurt, or saving some legs, but it looks like in the long run it hurt us.  I never felt we had a "tough" team, one that was willing to line up and beat your face in (outside of our offensive line).  Towards the end of the year, the defense just got run over.  Either they quit on Monte, were out-manned or just weren't conditioned to be hit over and over again. 

The last few teams we played just lined up and ran on us.  They hit us, ran on us, and made our defense look like a little league team.  Who's to say that it was due to lack of contact or rest for the vets?  It couldve been age, maybe we weren't as good as we thought, or maybe we just weren't prepared for the long haul.  It took miracle wins against Chicago and Kansas City, to even get to 9-7.  Over the long run of the season, I didn't think we deserved a playoff spot based on performance and how we finished.  To limp to the finish line is inexcusable and can't happen again.

But to bring it all back, one thing I think we should be on the look out for is how the team, particularly veterans respond to the new attitude and regime in practice.  I'm hoping it will toughen the team up, get them ready to play.  It may prepare the team better than previous years, it may not, but at least there won't be a culture of sitting back or lacking toughness.

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