Day two of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' open training camp looked a lot like day one from a fan's perspective. There were a little less people in the stands on Sunday, but the chanting and the energy seemed to be even higher than before. Everyone was pretty excited for the first day of full pads, the players included.
Mother Nature was somewhat kind holding off the morning showers for the team to get a complete practice in, although there was a cool/funny moment about that involving Gerald McCoy before practice began. When McCoy finished his stretching, he walked over to the fans, jumped the fence and sat down right in the first row.
After his stretching, McCoy hopped the fence to take a seat. "It's too early for it to be this hot, man!"— Trevor Sikkema (@TrevorSikkema) July 31, 2016
If you listen you can hear McCoy say he was just trying to get away from the sun. He tells a fan, "it's too early for it to be this hot!"
People got a hoot out of it.
Jameis Winston, QB
Winston was a bit off today. Nothing like, "he's in danger of having that starting spot slip away" but he struggled enough for me to take notice. Early on when he tried to put a little more velocity on passes, his accuracy suffered, even on short and intermediate throws. As practice when on, I saw him take a little heat off his passes, and most then sailed correctly to their target. But again, when the 11-on-11 segment began, Winston wasn't as precise on passes that required some extra zip. Just something I noticed.
After practice concluded, Winston stuck around with Donteea Dye and worked on his deep passes. It appeared he noticed he was off, too.
Charles Sims, RB
Though I have no complaints about Doug Martin's day, Charles Sims had a great day for himself, a day I think he needed after being quiet for the first couple sessions of camp. First Sims impressed in pass protection, standing up starting middle linebacker Kwon Alexander in a drill that favors the defense.
Charles Sims handling Kwon Alexander pretty well in pass protection. pic.twitter.com/SBbhOsKYZu— Trevor Sikkema (@TrevorSikkema) July 31, 2016
Then once the team got into their full scrimmage, Sims again caught the attention of everyone watching by taking a screen pass all the way down the sideline.
Have a feeling Koetter will dial up this kind of play for Sims a few times each week. pic.twitter.com/tmK7Ws72LC— Trevor Sikkema (@TrevorSikkema) July 31, 2016
No hits from the secondary players, which probably would've stopped the play after the initial ten yards, but you still have to look at that play as a successful first down. It was good to see Sims have success in the roles you know he'll be on the field for. Martin will always be the primary back, but watching Sims do well in pass protection and pass catching make him an ideal spell to Martin because the defense can't just key in on a certain play when Sims comes in. Often we see backup running backs who are just pass blockers or just short yardage players. This has a tendency to give away the play call. No so with Sims.
Tight End Group
The tight ends seem to be getting a lot of special attention. Practice for the team starts at 8:45, but today marked the second day in a row (that I could see) that the tight ends were out there at 8:15 already running drills with no one else on the field. Throw in the fact that they get their own drill with the quarterbacks and have blocking drills against the linebackers and defensive ends separately. It appears head coach Dirk Koetter is making that position a point of emphasis.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Cameron Brate seem to be getting most of the reps, though Brate had a few drops today.
The most important takeaway from the defense to me was the new look of the defensive line.
Yesterday's first team featured a more traditional look with two speed players on the outside (Ayers and Spence) paired with two power players on the inside (McCoy and McDonald). However, today it seemed the defensive line rotated in more of a situational manner than just a first or second team. On one team (the one that got the most reps), there was McCoy and McDonald on the inside with Ayers at LDE and Williams Gholston occupying that RDE spot. This is more of the power lineup used to stop the run, but they were left in on certain passing downs as well.
The second rotation involved McCoy and Ayers on the inside with Spence at LDE and either Kourtnei Brown or Howard Jones at RDE. The key factor here is Ayers moving to the inside to pair speed with whatever McCoy is doing instead of a bigger defensive tackle to eat up blockers. We know the penetration strategy is to first and foremost get McCoy in as many one-on-one situations as they can. Putting Ayers and Spence both to his right is an interesting way to do that. This is a tactic used to stretch out the offensive line to create holes. We'll see if they stick with it.
Vernon Hargreaves, CB
Hargreaves started out the day where he left off yesterday at the nickel spot on the second team. After the first 11-on-11 drill, the team worked on special teams where Hargreaves spent a good amount of time as the team's primary gunner.
Hargreaves getting a lot of work as a gunner. Was the first one down there on most plays they let them finish. pic.twitter.com/0EJDzd3Ql8— Trevor Sikkema (@TrevorSikkema) July 31, 2016
He was usually the first man down to the ball carrier when they let the players finish out the drill. It appears Hargreaves will be used often on both kick and punt coverage teams.
But the day got even better for VH3 as he saw some time at outside corner on the second team instead of just at nickel. Time will tell if this was just a little switch or if it's a sign that he's climbing the ladder. It's not a bad thing if he were to remain as a nickel player due to his quickness and abilities to stay with slot receivers, but outside corner means more time on the field. We'll see.
Play of the Day
The play of the day was surely this diving interception from Daryl Smith on a tipped Winston pass.
This starting linebacker group of Smith, David and Alexander are making an impact without hits, which is good. You figure once they can get more physical, we'll see what they can really do.
After missing a kick from somewhere easy like 35-40 yards out, Aguayo ripped this 51-yard field goal with plenty of leg.
Aguayo from 51. Plenty of leg, too pic.twitter.com/NNOEtHqIDo— Trevor Sikkema (@TrevorSikkema) July 31, 2016
From The Stands
Today's fan picture proves that being a Bucs fan is like being family.
Like father like son. BUCSTASTIC & LIL BUCSTASTIC.