The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have their first training camp practice on July 26th, but the team has already begun to assemble at One Buc Place. The rookies reported Monday and the veterans will begin to report today. Along with football season comes predictions. With that being said, here are my five bold predictions for training camp.
- Carlton Davis will beat out Vernon Hargreaves for the outside corner job.
I think that Davis has a chance to be a really good cornerback in this league. Of course, cornerback is one of the harder positions for rookies to learn, but I think he will be just fine. The Buccaneers have to adjust when it comes to Davis. Mike Smith must let him play his style which is press coverage. If they force him to play off coverage, like they have with other players in years past, we are going to see him struggle. I think that Hargreaves will ultimately be the team’s starting slot cornerback with Brent Grimes and Carlton Davis on the outside.
2. Vita Vea will be the starting defensive tackle opposite Gerald McCoy.
Tampa Bay spent the 12th overall pick on Vita Vea and clearly have big plans for the former Husky. Vea certainly won’t be playing the whole game, and will probably have limited snaps through the first few weeks as he learns the NFL game, but he will be a part of the weekly game plan. Guys like Beau Allen, Mitch Unrein and William Gholston will ultimately challenge Vea for the starting job, but I predict he beats them out in camp. Tampa Bay is certainly hoping Vea can come in and contribute heavily from day one and improve what was the worst defensive line in football last season.
3. Chris Godwin will start on the outside opposite of Mike Evans.
It should have happened last year, but better late than never, right? There have been reports from multiple media outlets that the Buccaneers are considering this option, but there will always be a competition. Nothing will be handed to the second year receiver. In all seriousness, I believe Godwin should be opposite of Mike Evans on the outside. If this scenario turned out to be true, DeSean Jackson would then be the team’s slot receiver which could create nightmare scenarios for opposing defenses. The goal is to get the best players possible on the field at all times, and this move would allow Tampa Bay to do just that.
4. Ryan Fitzpatrick shows he’s ready for the challenge.
This may not be the boldest prediction out there, but I’m confident in the 35 year old to be up for the challenge that lies ahead. Fitzpatrick is going to need to be at the top of his game if the Buccaneers want to get off on the right foot this season. Call me crazy, but I can’t see Fitzpatrick not finding a way to win at least one of the team’s first three games. Fitzpatrick knows what it takes to win in this league and I expect him to come out sharp in the pre-season. Fitz understands how the league works and it will be extremely hard to come back from an 0-3 record, so I believe he will show a greater sense of urgency this August then he has in year’s past. Hopefully for the Buccaneers sake, he can repeat his 2-1 performance last season.
5. The Buccaneers finally find a kicker!
Chandler Catanzaro and Trevor Moore will battle it out in training camp to see who the starting kicker will be come week one. While I hope this is not a jinx, I just have some sort of feeling that the Buccaneers finally found something. By all accounts, both kickers were impressive during mini-camp and will look to carry that over into training camp. My bold prediction is that Catanzaro will not miss a field goal during the preseason games and be named the starting kicker. He will also have a career best kicking percentage this year and lift the kicking curse that has been over Tampa Bay for what seems like a lifetime.