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Five things we learned at the first day of Buccaneers mini-camp

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers started their annual mandatory mini-camp today, and the coaches and players talked to the media, while opening part of practice to reporters. Here are five things we learned today.

Vincent Jackson joins earlier injured players

The Bucs had a new injury today: wide receiver Vincent Jackson was sitting out practice. He joined guard J.R. Sweezy, center Joe Hawley and wide receiver Louis Murphy, who are all expected to be out until training camp, with Murphy possibly out for a little longer than that. Running back Russell  Hansbrough was back, albeit in limited fashion, per Greg Auman. The Bucs gave no details on Jackson's injury, which probably means it's minor.

Cornerback battles

Some of the best battles for playing time this season should occur at cornerback, and so far, Brent Grimes and Alterraun Verner have been winning quite handily. First-round pick Vernon Hargreaves has mostly been a second-team slot cornerback, per Auman, and doesn't appear to be getting close to a starting spot -- but then it's only June, and there's plenty of time left. Fourth-round pick Ryan Smith is playing with the second and third string as well, and probably doesn't have much of a shot at playing time as a rookie.

Punters and punt returners

We're getting some clarity on special teams: receivers Adam Humphries, Donteea Dye and Bernard Reedy were the primary players getting reps as punt returners. None of them have particularly impressive backgrounds there, but at least we know who to look out for. At punter, Bryan Anger was the first player to get the ball, while last year's punter Jake Schum is going to have to put up a challenge to beat him. All of that per Greg Auman.

Noah Spence getting some coverage duties

Here's an interesting development: the Bucs had rookie defensive end/linebacker drop back into coverage a couple of times. The Bucs have said they plan to run some 3-4 looks in addition to their 4-3 base defense, but it's not clear how often we'll see it. Of course, those dropbacks may have just been part of a 4-3 zone blitz, too -- that's a bit immaterial, as the biggest difference between a 3-4 and 4-3 will be whether Spence has his hand up or down. The scheme should remain the same. It'll just be interesting to see how varied the Bucs will be in dropping their pass rushers back into coverage.

Dirk Koetter likes kicking people out of practice

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