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Buccaneers Training Camp: Position Battles, Injuries and Notes from Wednesday's Practice

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The Bucs held a closed practice on Wednesday, and here's what we learned from the media in attendance.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Without any fans in attendance, the Buccaneers took to the practice field in shorts on Wednesday to finish up preparations for Friday's preseason opener against Jacksonville.

Here are some noteworthy bits of information from various media members in attendance.

Injuries

Da'Quan Bowers and Tommy Streeter returned to the field in some capacity on Wednesday after sitting out Tuesday's practice due to injury and illness respectively, according to Scott Smith.

Greg Auman reports that Alterraun Verner and Mike Jenkins continue to stand on the sidelines during practice, both nursing nagging lower body injuries. The veterans don't particularly need a ton of time in camp, so there's still no reason for concern here.

And with no other names being reported as sitting out due to injury, that means that Luke Stocker is back on the practice field on Wednesday, a good sign for his participation in the first preseason game on Friday evening.

Mark Barron was seen on the sideline at times during Wednesday's practice, according to Tom Krasniqi. But Rick Brown of the Ledger notes that lots of backups got reps during practice, so perhaps Barron is just sitting out to give the other guys a look? Either way, it doesn't seem to be too serious.

Position Battles

Punt returner remains a key battleground on the Buccaneer roster, and Bobby Rainey apparently experienced some trouble fielding a punt during today's practice. Eric Page has been the only consistent catcher of punts this summer, something that will go a long way toward earning a roster spot.

Apparently Vincent Jackson muffed a punt, as well, but as TKras mentions on his Twitter feed, I wouldn't read too much into that.

Da'Quan Bowers got some work at defensive end on Wednesday according to Pewter Report, and if he can prove his versatility inside and outside, he'll stand a very good chance of making the roster. There aren't a ton of qualified linemen behind him looking to take his spot, so if he's able to show the ability to play multiple positions, it will likely keep him in Tampa for at least another year.

Brady Fredericksen of the Ledger notes that Bobby Rainey continued to get work with the first team at running back, a trend throughout camp.

And according to Pewter Report, Oniel Cousins put in some work at tackle at practice, kicking out from his usual guard spot. Once again, versatility may earn some players a spot on the 53-man roster, and Cousins certainly needs to prove what he's capable of after some really poor NFL tape in recent seasons.

Notes from Practice

  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins seems to be inspired by his "depth chart snub" as he put in another strong practice session on Wednesday, according to JoeBucsFan. Lovie Smith shared some praise for ASJ in his press conference, per Greg Auman.
  • Tim Wright, on the other hand, may be resting on his lead a bit, dropping the ball on Wednesday to follow up on a drop or two on Tuesday.
  • In a post-practice press conference, Lovie Smith told the media that he was ready to see the defensive line at full speed in a game situation, which is where roster spots will be won and lost.
  • Smith also mentioned that Jeff Tedford would coach from the booth during the season, while Leslie Frazier would remain with him on the sidelines.
  • I'm not sure if I should be encouraged or discouraged by Lovie Smith's appreciation for my favorite quarterback in the draft, Blake Bortles.
  • Smith revealed that the starters will play "about a quarter" in Friday's preseason opener against Jacksonville.