The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have assembled for the first mandatory minicamp of the offseason, coming on the heels of some OTAs and the voluntary "new coach" minicamp held earlier this year. These workouts are no contact the players won't be in pads, but it will still be a good chance to see how the depth chart is shaking out, and which players are getting an opportunity to make the team in the team's upcoming training camp.
Here are some of the headlines and quotes from today's session.
Punter Competition Continues
The Buccaneers have every reason to try out punters until the start of the 2014 season, as Michael Koenen is getting paid quite a bit to be a below-average punter who's really good at kickoffs. That competition will continue in this minicamp, as the Bucs have brought back Iowa State rookie Kirby van der Kamp according to the Tampa Bay Times.
There's not a lot left to spend money on this offseason, but with the possible need for two starting guards before Week 1, some extra cash to spend on a veteran at that position could come in handy. Plus, money can be rolled over into next year, so the Bucs can have more cash on hand to continue to fill the holes in the roster.
Lovie Smith said after practice that there was 100% participation, but that didn't mean that everyone was practicing. Dashon Goldson, Mark Barron, Carl Nicks and Alterraun Verner were all names that were mentioned as being sidelined, and wide receiver Mike Evans was limited in some way on Tuesday, but every player was doing as much as they could, according to the Bucs' coach.
More importantly, Smith said that there were no injuries that concerned him in the long-term, including Carl Nicks. He said he anticipates having a full roster in training camp in a few weeks.
Kadeem Edwards Running with the First Team
Fifth-round rookie Kadeem Edwards was running with the first team in drills today, playing left guard in place of Carl Nicks. Smith cautioned that linemen need to see the field in live action to get a real look at how they play, but praised Edwards both physically and mentally, and said he's been working well with the coaches.
Smith said that they're working on different rotations along the offensive line, and they wanted to see Edwards and Patrick Omameh work alongside the center and tackles to see how they respond.
Standout Players from Tuesday
Danny Gorrer turned in a strong practice, as Smith noted some pick-sixes returned by the veteran corner. Lovie said that he can play both inside and out, and really likes his set of skills. Gorrer was on track to be a contributor last season before an injury sidelined him, and he will be an important part of the depth chart in 2014.
Louis Murphy got an unprompted bit of praise from Smith, as the Bucs' head coach cited some big plays from the former Gator.
Tim Wright's Role
When asked about Tim Wright's performance in minicamp, Lovie Smith had nothing but good things to say about Wright, but also gave a hint into his role. Smith said that Wright will be used as the move tight end, and will be played out wide at times as well. According to the coach, Wright can win any matchup with a linebacker or safety, and he looks forward to seeing him play a big role in the offense.
This likely means that Wright's playing time wasn't hurt all that much by the addition of Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who figures to play in-line more often than not due to his size and blocking ability. Wright should continue where he left off in 2013.
- As mentioned above, Kadeem Edwards and Patrick Omameh were running with the first team at left and right guard respectively.
- Michael Johnson is the starting right end. Yawn.
- Danny Gorrer's ability to play inside and outside means he's a bit higher on the depth chart than many may have thought. But Smith also gave some short praises for Rashaan Melvin and Mike Jenkins, who will both be in the mix for playing time at corner.
- Gerald McCoy is a superstar and a leader on the practice field, according to Smith. Nothing we didn't already know, but it's always nice to be reminded of just how great of a player and a person Gerald is.