The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took to the practice field yet again on Thursday, and that meant more opportunities for the camp standouts of the first few days to shine again.
And they did just that.
The defenders had some very strong moments on Thursday, including a red-zone running drill dominated by the first-team defense. Michael Johnson and Lavonte David were in the backfield on every single play of the scrimmage, causing havoc and shutting down the running game for the offense.
The second-team defense wasn't as consistent, but Will Gholston did make a few splash plays during that period of play.
The defensive line for the second team kept Mike Glennon off his spot during 11-on-11 drills, as well. Gholston and Means have set themselves apart as the third and fourth-best defensive ends on the team, and they're overpowering the backup tackles on a regular basis.
The linebackers, including the aforementioned David, had a good day as well. Mason Foster's name could be heard from a defensive coach during run drills, praising his vision to seal up his gap and allow no clear path for the running backs. Doug Martin could never find a good space to run as Foster and David got downhill and hit their gaps to force Martin to change direction.
Ka'Lial Glaud made some plays in the backfield in scrimmages on Thursday, as well, while camp standout Danny Lansanah picked off a Mike Glennon pass in a seven-on-seven scrimmage.
The Bucs were thin at defensive back, with Mike Jenkins, Alterraun Verner and Rashaan Melvin sitting out, so Johnthan Banks was the lone first-team corner, with Deveron Carr and others filling in to help him out. Banks has looked pretty good in camp, but it was evident that the Bucs were thin at corner on the day.
Mark Barron made a nice interception on an overthrown pass from Josh McCown, continuing a solid camp for the young safety. Bradley McDougald also continues to involve himself in plays, as he tries to win the fourth safety spot from Keith Tandy and Kelcie McCray.
The quarterback battle is over. It's done. Close the case and file the paperwork.
Josh McCown's decision-making, vision, athleticism and accuracy continue to trump that of second-year quarterback Mike Glennon, and unless McCown suffers an injury or a Josh Freeman-like meltdown in the preseason, he'll be leading the Buccaneer offense for the foreseeable future.
McCown didn't have a perfect day on Thursday, but neither did Glennon, as both players misfired on occasion. But McCown was more accurate and made more big plays, while Glennon's inability to handle pressure or progress quickly through his reads became very obvious.
Don't just take my word for it, though. NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah (a former scout), and MMQB's Peter King both agree that McCown was the better player on the day, which has been true of every day of camp so far.
The running backs continue to look good when they get into space, as Doug Martin and Charles Sims both put in solid shifts on Thursday. Sims looked much quicker than anyone else on the field with the second-team offense, and I'd like to see him get reps with the first team just to get him up to speed against the best defenders available.
Bobby Rainey did have a dropped pass, but otherwise looked solid, while Mike James and Jeff Demps had quiet days, but no notable mistakes.
Jorvorskie Lane continues to lead the fullback battle, getting first-team reps and playing well.
Vincent Jackson has developed a very strong chemistry with Josh McCown already, as the veterans connected over and over in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11. Once the offense got into the red zone, Jackson was the target more often than not, and the result of the play was a touchdown more often than not.
Tommy Streeter made his usual appearance with a couple of nice grabs, while Eric Page, Robert Herron and Skye Dawson had their ups and downs. Page looks very, very quick, but did have a drop on Thursday.
The tight ends continue to be an area in need of improvement, as Tim Wright, Brandon Myers and Austin Seferian-Jenkins struggled in blocking drills, while Luke Stocker stood out. Stocker has seemingly yet to catch a pass more than five yards downfield in scrimmages, however, proving that despite being the best blocker of the bunch, he lacks in separation and athleticism downfield.
Wright, on the other hand, looks very good as a receiver, as does Seferian-Jenkins. Myers has had a very quiet camp all around, with no notable plays that I've seen.
The offensive line seems to be behind the defensive line when the two units go head to head. The guard situation is still very unsettled, and in a battle of former Bengals, Mike Johnson has trumped Anthony Collins on a few occasions. It's too early to know whether or not this is cause for alarm, however, as it could be Johnson's dominance and familiarity with Collins that's leading to his success.
The preseason will tell us so much more about the offensive line, as going up against Johnson, Gerald McCoy and the rest of the Tampa Bay defense is a tough task for any line, let alone one with the issues the Bucs have. But for now, it's still a big question mark, and the answers may not be on the roster at this moment in time.