When I woke up at about 6:30am this morning, I woke up to the sound of heavy rain and thunder. After checking the weather forecast, I wasn't sure the Bucs were going to be able to get a full practice in, if one at all.
Well, I was right.
Today's practice was very odd. Not just in the fact that weather made it difficult for the fans to see their team in action as Mother Nature cut practice about an hour short, but also because the team itself made that difficult.
The practice began with a two minute drill, something they hadn't done yet, at least in front of the general public. Jameis led the team down to within scoring distance, but ultimately had to settle for an Aguayo field goal.
However, after that drill things began to get, well, odd for a practice that was supposed to be open to the public. If you haven't been to one of these training camps, One Buc Place has three full-length fields all lined up next to each other. The stand the fans sit on runs up and down the sideline of the field closest to the parking lot; they don't have seats that allow you to see all three fields. Most of the time the team runs their drills on that field closest to the fans so that, I assume, they can give them a look at practice. But today, after the two minute drill, the team proceeded to run all of their main drills including defensive line versus offensive line, special teams drills, an 11-on-11 segment and a 7-on-7 red zone drill on the middle field away from the fans while the field closest to the stands remained empty.
I go to a lot of practices, so it's not that big of a deal to me other than the fact that I couldn't give you guys video #content. But for a practice that is open to build excitement -- not to mention that for some people that was the only practice they were going to be able to make -- I was confused as to why they ran the most entertaining and important drills on that middle field when they hadn't been doing that before.
Maybe I missed why they did it, and, hey, the coaching staff can do whatever they want to do to get the most out of a practice. I'm not trying to be a whinny fan or anything like that. But if I had skipped work on a Thursday morning to come out to see my team or anything like that, I'd be kinda annoyed. If you find out they they did that, let me know.
Mike Glennon was notably absent from practice this morning. It's been well documented that the Bucs have had Glennon on the trading block, so him not being there sparked some rumors on twitter if he had in fact been moved. But those rumors were quickly cleared up as a few of the beat reporters tweeted out that Mike and his wife were expecting the birth of their first child any day now. That's why he was out.
No official confirmation on this but Mike Glennon's wife is expecting family's first child any day. Team was prepared for him to miss a day— Roy Cummings (@RCummingsNFL) August 4, 2016
Congratulations, Mike and Jessica Glennon! Their son, Brady, was born last night at 6:20 p.m.!— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) August 4, 2016
Linebacker Cassanova McKinzy was still out today with a hamstring injury. They might sit him through the weekend. Defensive End George Johnson went down and had to be helped off by the trainers with a leg injury early in practice, but was putting weight on it and walking around shortly after.
There obviously wasn't too much to note today because of the limited drills and viewing of those drills, but there were a few details to keep in mind for future practices.
First play of the Bucs Red Zone drill: a touchdown pass to Cameron Brate— Trevor Sikkema (@TrevorSikkema) August 4, 2016
Brate got the start at tight end and was the team's primary pass catcher during the red zone drill. Over the weekend I noted the extra work tight ends had been getting, and Brate being the first red zone option made that all the more clear as to why. Koetter is going to use his tight ends quite a bit this season. I'm not sure how deep the rotation is going to be, but it's clear he views them as a variable or mismatch that his offense needs to consistently turn in their favor. For fantasy football people, keep Brate on your short list. He might come in handy.
Speaking of the tight end rotation, here was my biggest take away from the day.
So here's somethin': I didn't see Austin Seferian-Jenkins play a single snap of the red zone drill. Had his helmet in his hand and watched.— Trevor Sikkema (@TrevorSikkema) August 4, 2016
When you watch ASJ in tight end drills, he's clearly the more athletic and dynamic of the bunch. I even watched him in blocking drills, and though it's not his bread and butter, I didn't see any glaring misses on his part. Yet when the time came to run a drill that is tailor made for why he's on the team, there he stood next to the coaching staff. I saw Brate, Stocker, Myers and even Vitale get in on the mix, but not ASJ.
That's not a good sign. I don't know if he's hurt or if the coaching staff is really that down on him. But if he's healthy and not participating in a red zone drill, I'd be concerned.
After Practice Fun
After practice, offensive lineman Ali Marpet was chosen as one of the offensive players to answer question from the media at the podium.
Well, apparently it was his first time.
Ali Marpet takes the podium. "This is my first time doing this. What do I do? Do I point at you guys?"— Joe Kania (@BucsDotCom) August 4, 2016
Which was then perfectly followed up by this reply.
Welcome to the show, Ali.