It was another hot one today, but everyone at One Buc Place was given some relief once training camp moved into the Bucs’ new indoor practice facility. If you have yet to see it or go there - you’re missing out.
In case you haven’t heard, the #Bucs new indoor facility is amazing. pic.twitter.com/TjrQ1i0Ioh— Evan Winter (@evan_winter) July 29, 2018
Sunday’s practice was the first full-padded practice of training camp. There was plenty going on, so let’s go ahead and dive right in.
1. Vita Vea goes down.
After a string of injuries hit NFL teams on Saturday, the feeling around One Buc Place was that of not only luck, but good fortunate. Then today happened.
The Bucs’ first-round pick Vita Vea went down with what looked like a severe injury after he was carted off the field.
#Bucs first round pick, DT Vita Vea, leaves practice on a cart after suffering what appeared to be a left calf injury: pic.twitter.com/Fd34qunMBF— PewterReport (@PewterReport) July 29, 2018
Right now, reports are that it was a strained calf - which would be the equivalent of dodging about a dozen bullets - so, that’s good news. Stay tuned for updates as they come in.
For #Bucs first-round DT Vita Vea, who left practice limping today, the early word is it’s just a calf strain. I’d expect caution with his availability— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 29, 2018
Backup tackle Leonard Wester was also carted off after it looked as if he rolled his ankle after the Bucs moved indoors.
2. Peyton Barber isn’t satisfied with last season.
Barber granted Bucs Nation an exclusive interview after practice which we will have up later, but in the interview he discusses how he is trying to get better at every facet of his game.
This was on full display today as Barber looked quicker than ever thanks to his weight loss during the season. He didn’t trade the speed in for power though, as he consistently bounced off would-be tacklers and finished off run after run with determination and force.
Even though rookie Ronald Jones is lurking, don’t expect Barber to back down anytime soon.
3. Defensive Line coach Brenston Buckner is still brining the intensity.
Good Lord, Buckner is one intense man.
Always pushing his players toward their best effort, while letting them know when they’ve screwed up, he was everywhere today. There was one play in particular where defensive end William Gholston was blown up on a run play and Buckner quickly got into Gholston’s ear.
Gotta love new #Bucs dline coach Brentson Buckner. First video shows William Gholston getting pancaked, next tweet shows Buckner's reaction. pic.twitter.com/RIdhqPPljY— Evan Winter (@evan_winter) July 29, 2018
Buckner's reaction after Gholston's folly. He is not happy. Intense AF. pic.twitter.com/fr1SAcsdx8— Evan Winter (@evan_winter) July 29, 2018
The front seven is where intensity breeds and Buckner is the catalyst in this department. It’s going to be next to impossible for this pass rush to remain stagnant.
4. Justin Watson will make this roster.
Even though he may not be the most heralded draft pick, Watson could end up becoming one of the steals of the 2017 draft. He looks the part, coming in at 6-foot-3, 209-pounds, and his lanky, yet sturdy frame allows him to make tough catches and spread the defense out.
Dirk Koetter stated during his post-game presser that today was Watson’s “best day of practice” while also noting that he has “a fight on his hands” considering the Bucs’ depth at receiver.
Watson has already turned heads during rookie minicamps and it looks as if the progression will continue on into the preseason. Expect him to make the Bucs roster this season.
5. The offense had a better day.
Both Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick made some great throws today. Winston launched possibly the best deep ball he’s thrown in years when he hooked up with Desean Jackson in the Bucs’ new indoor practice facility.
Fitzpatrick made a nice throw to tight end Cameron Brate later on and Brate made a tremendous catch while falling to the ground. It’s good to see both quarterbacks making plays.
That now marks at least three deep balls that we’ve seen the Bucs complete in as many days. That vertical element may finally come to Tampa Bay in 2018.
Ryan Fitzpatrick with a very good throw and even better catch by Cameron Brate during 7-on-7s. pic.twitter.com/b6XTH0Cd8o— Evan Winter (@evan_winter) July 29, 2018
And here is the deep throw from Winston to Jackson, via pewterreport.com:
This might be the best deep ball connection we’ve seen between Jameis Winston & DeSean Jackson in two years (practice or game).— PewterReport (@PewterReport) July 29, 2018
What. A. Throw.