The Tampa Bay Buccaneers started their offseason program two weeks ago, but that was just the first part of a three-phase offseason, as mandated by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The past two weeks, the Buccaneers have been limited to strength and conditioning work, injury rehab and, of course, classroom work. The players couldn't wear helmets, and the only players allowed to use a football were quarterbacks and receivers, provided no one was covering the receivers. That's all awfully specific.
But that changes tomorrow, as the Bucs hold their one voluntary minicamp for veteran players, per Rick Stroud. Only teams with new head coaches are allowed to hold such a minicamp. During this time, the players will be allowed to receive individual coaching, they'll be allowed to go through drills, they'll be allowed to wear helmets, and team offense versus team defense drills will be allowed. However, pads and shells are not allowed, live contact will not be permitted, and one-on-one offense versus defense drills are still forbidden.
Still, that will be the first time the Bucs will get on the field under new head coach Greg Schiano. Although the practices are closed to the public and most are closed to the media too, we should be able to get some reports on how these practices differ from those under Raheem Morris - which saw some less-than-stellar reviews. This is just the start of Schiano's on-field work, though - hit the jump to read the exact details of what will and won't be allowed during the rest of the offseason program.
First: a small disclaimer. This is all information pulled straight from the CBA, which is written in legalese - which is often a little difficult to read, and sometimes (appears to be) contradictory. Good fun. There may be a few mistakes in here, but I'll not where there is any ambiguity. I feel for the man who had to read this and figure out a way to put together a coherent offseason schedule.
In any case, the Bucs entire offseason workout program can be no longer than nine weeks, eight of which have to be consecutive. The time period during which this can happen is twelve weeks, so they have room for three weeks off. Interestingly, the CBA does not state whether the Voluntary Veteran Minicamp counts towards these nine weeks of offseason work allowed. Ah, good fun, this legalese.
In any case, the Bucs started phase one of the offseason workout program two weeks ago, the limits of which I gave at the start of this story. There are two more phases: a three-week phase, which allows players to receive on-field coaching, but disallows the wearing of helmets and offense versus defense drills in any way, shape or form. Phase Three lasts four weeks, and comprises what is generally known as OTAs. The team can hold three of these OTA days during the first two weeks of Phase Three, and they can hold four during either week three or four. In the remaining week, they will hold the Mandatory Veteran Minicamp, which is exactly the same as the Voluntary Veteran Minicamp - except it's, well, mandatory.
Now, remember that these nine weeks can be fit into a twelve-week period, which would mean the Bucs' offseason program ends on or about June 16. However, eight of the nine offseason program weeks have to be consecutive, so in reality that period will likely end a lot sooner. Then again, depending on whether or not this upcoming minicamp counts toward those weeks and whether the Bucs used last week as part of their offseason program, those eight consecutive weeks could have already started, or they could start after the draft.
In addition, the Bucs can hold as many rookie minicamps as they wish during what is called the "Rookie Football Development Program". A phase that lasts seven weeks and starts "on or about" May 16.
You got that? Cool, 'cause I'm confused as hell. Could you explain it to me?