The Buccaneers were back in action at One Buc Place on Wednesday, and here are the news and notes from the practice and media session.
Lightning Delay During Minicamp
The Buccaneers were sent inside during practice on Wednesday due to lightning in the area, something that must be frustrating for a team already without a couple of rookies (Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins) who haven't been able to get full reps with the team. Lovie Smith and Jeff Tedford are installing new systems, and there's a whole new practice routine, so they can't be happy about being sent inside during valuable minicamp time.
The Bucs announced open practices for training camp, and hopefully a majority of those dates will have clear skies and no storms so fans can see the team in action.
Big Day for Rashaan Melvin
One day after receiving praise from his coach in a press conference, the buzz from members of the media in attendance on Wednesday was about corner Rashaan Melvin. An undrafted rookie last season, Melvin made some big plays on Wednesday and is in the mix at the corner position based on all reports coming out of One Buc.
Melvin was impressive last summer, as well, but injuries sidelined him and he didn't seem to play as well in live action as he did in shorts on the practice field. But he's got some fantastic defensive coaches to work with in Smith, Leslie Frazier and Gill Byrd, so could he take the next step and become a regular contributor?
In Search of Special Teamers
Remember when it was almost a certainty that Devin Hester would be coming to Tampa Bay? Missing out on the talented returner may be a thorn in the side of the Buccaneers this season. According to Lovie Smith, the Bucs don't have a front-runner returning kicks, and he mentioned on Tuesday that the punt returners were looking shaky as well.
Jeff Demps has plenty of speed, but has shown poor decision making in limited returns over his brief NFL career. No other players on the Bucs roster stand out as strong kick return options, so it will be interesting to see if the Buccaneers get any production from this phase of the game this year. According to Smith, Demps has been joined by Charles Sims and Skye Dawson as returners so far this offseason.
- The offensive line was set up the same way it was on Tuesday, with Kadeem Edwards and Patrick Omameh at guard. Jamon Meredith was running with the second team.
- There were no new injuries to report on the day, which is good news considering the rash of ACL tears going on around the league. (Both of these notes per Greg Auman.)
- Lovie Smith said that Clinton McDonald has become a leader, and that his championship ring is a motivator for teammates. McDonald might not be an every-down player, but he's going to make the Buccaneers' defensive line a lot better.
- Tony Dungy was at practice today. Lovie wasn't kidding when he said he wanted to bring back Bucs greats and get them involved in the team. He also had some positive words about Hardy Nickerson, who is on his coaching staff this year.