The Buccaneers got a strong dose of the home-field advantage at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, as the team practiced in intense heat and humidity for over two hours in their first full practice of training camp for 2014.
So what did we learn about the team from the first full day on the practice field? Here's what I saw during my time at camp today.
Practice began with wide receivers working on breaking press coverage, while backs ran through a handoff run-through with quarterbacks.
There wasn't much to be seen here, but the team then moved into some thrown-and-catch with the various positions, and we got our first glimpse of Austin Seferian-Jenkins in action. And he moves really, really well.
In fact, he would find himself getting downfield in one-on-ones and in scrimmages quite a bit over the course of practice, and certainly showed the kind of offensive threat the team hopes for out of him after spending their second round pick on the former Washington Husky.
Mike Evans, on the other hand, showed some rookie jitters, slipping and falling on a comeback route and dropping a few passes on the day. He had been set back during other offseason work due to a hamstring issue, and definitely doesn't seem up to speed just yet.
Eric Page, Robert Herron and Skye Dawson were definitely up to speed, as the trio of smaller Bucs receivers made multiple nice plays each on Saturday. Dawson in particular put a nice spin move on a defender in 11-on-11 drills at the end of practice to put a cherry on what would be a solid performance.
But no offensive players stood out quite as much as Jeff Demps and Bobby Rainey. Demps absolutely embarrassed linebackers in one-on-ones, including this gem that I was able to catch on camera:
Watching just how much faster Demps is than everyone else on the field, it's easy to see a scenario in which he makes the team and features as a Devin Hester-like offensive weapon and return man for the Bucs. He just has to stay healthy and prove he can be a regular contributor and not waste his opportunities.
Rainey was the one player who stood out the most to me on offense, getting reps with the first-team offense quite a bit, and not disappointing when he did.
As far as the "big two" quarterbacks are concerned, neither was perfect, but Josh McCown did make the bigger plays of the afternoon, including an excellent deep ball to Vincent Jackson over Alterraun Verner. Mike Glennon responded with a nice deep toss to Tommy Streeter, but also missed on a few throws, particularly on the run.
No player on defense stood out more to me on Saturday than Danny Lansanah. The backup linebacker was always around the football, getting "tackles" (the players couldn't actually tackle), pass breakups, and even involving himself in some turnovers and near-turnovers.
He needs to stand out on special teams to make the roster, as well, but he certainly impressed me with how he moved around on defense.
Michael Johnson had one of the highlights of the day when he batted down a screen pass headed to his side of the field. Mark Barron had another highlight when he stepped in front of Chris Owusu to intercept a Josh McCown pass.
Another player who impressed me was Johnthan Banks, who on at least one occasion in one-on-ones, locked up Vincent Jackson and prevented the dominant receiver from having a chance at a play.
The defense spent most of their time on the field furthest from the stands, so my exposure to them was limited. However, when they were scrimmaging, it should be noted that Leonard Johnson was the third corner with the first-team defense, and that Clinton McDonald tended to be next to Gerald McCoy on the starting unit.
One final thing to note from the defense was that Da'Quan Bowers spent a lot of time as an interior defender, with William Gholston, Steven Means and others playing outside with the backups.
Overall, the team seemed fairly sharp for what amounts to their first full practice, and no major injuries appeared to surface during the session.