The end of the full team practice is here, with most guys getting a break tomorrow as Tuesday is a special team workout. It seems this was the day for the defense to shine as they made some big splash plays. Let's take a look at some stories around camp.
- A few minor injuries, but nothing serious. Antonio Bryant and Kellen Winslow both are day to day with minor injuries. It's bound to happen just getting going in camp, and you just hope that the Bucs, and the 31 other teams can avoid any big injuries (The Eagles already lost their starting MLB for the year).
- The red zone play was a focus in the early session on Monday. Pewter Report has a good article on it that you can check out right here. Morris is dead on in his assessment that the Bucs have to get better in the red zone. How many times do we see the team settle for three points inside the 20 yard line? Pretty dang aggravating to watch.
- The big talk of camp has been the banishment of the cool down tents from the practice field. It sounds like all staff is very aware and cognizant of the health issues and are keeping players hydrated, but he (Morris) wants to focus on mental toughness and getting used to the heat in the middle of the day. It's an advantage to practice in it as you know what to expect whereas teams from outside Florida can't really prepare for it.
- In the afternoon practice, it looks like Angelo Crowell hurt his leg, but not seriously. Quincy Black started to work with the ones after that. I won't be surprised to see Black on the field more times than not this year. This kid was an athlete coming out of school, but a project. This new system may fit him better as he has size and can make plays. We'll have to see how he handles game situations.
- The run game has been trumpeted all off season and every single back is looking good. Might be the most loaded position on the team. That's pretty exciting to think that we run 3-4 deep at running back.
- Luke McCown is still running the ones. I'm gonna keep saying it, it's his job to lose. Although the QB's all looked relatively good in the red zone drills. McCown seems to be shaking off some rust and can really avoid the pressure and still get off a good accurate throw. As long as he understands it's OK to throw the ball away occasionally, I'm impressed.
- Elbert Mack is a name to remember, at least in August. He's picking off passes left and right. Should end up being the nickelback when all is said and done.
- Jim Bates had this to say about Ronde Barber (check it out at tbo.com, or link is here)
There are guys who have been spotty,'' Bates said. "Ronde has had a good camp. I mean, if you had to pick one, the seasoned pro has really been steady, he's really playing well. And there are several other guys that have played well, but Ronde in particular.
I'm not gonna read too much into that just yet. It sounds a lot like lip service right now. I hope that Ronde does well this year, it's not like he helps the Bucs if he plays poorly. And we aren't that deep at DB, so we need him to be on the field and to play like the former All-Pro he was/is.
- Michael Clayton is on fire right now. Every report has him not only looking confident, but playing the part too. Catch bombs, catching TD passes. A healthy and consistent Michael Clayton will only add to what could be a fierce offense.
- Cadillac was in full gear at practice again. I can't say it enough, I'm amazed. His attitude is even more impressive. It seems he realizes how special it is to suit up on Sundays and have this opportunity. With how deflated our team was when he got hurt, he's obviously a special character for the Bucs. Hopefully his heart can find it's way to the rest of the team. I don't care if it's a garbage game or not, just once this season I want him to be announced in starting line ups and to find the end zone. I can't imagine a TD would ever feel better than to see #24 rumble down the field and score.
- I'm not sure on the afternoon session, but in the morning session Mike Nugent took all the kicks and made them all, minus one that got blocked. Don't think this is any indication as to who is leading for the job. Expect to see both guys rotated in and out for now.
As I mentioned in yesterday's post, consistency will be the key. Right now both the offense and defense have had both good and bad sessions. There's some playmaking ability at every position, but it's still gonna be awhile to see if the team can gel, trust each other, and take their own responsibility without ad-libbing. Our offense looks to be a more run based version of the Oakland days of yore. Stretch the field out vertically, but the Bucs appear to do that after establishing the run, opposite of those old Oakland teams.
Morris has had a pretty good pulse on camp so far, putting players through far more rigorous sessions that Gruden ever had. He's had them run conditioning drills, extra gassers and is flying around with a lot of enthusiasm. I'd rather him err on the side of too much hard hitting than too little, I'm tired of soft teams.
Until next team, keep it tuned into Buc 'Em for all your Bucs info.