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Koetter kicked things up a notch in training camp

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After a highly criticized “soft” camp in 2017, it sounds as if Dirk Koetter took things up a notch or two in 2018.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

There was a lot of criticism slung at head coach Dirk Koetter last year during a disappointing season. One of the topics was how “soft” his training camp practices were. Yes, Koetter was on record as saying their goal was to escape training camp without injury, but once the season ramped up so did the injuries - and the Buccaneers looked as if their level of physicality wasn’t anywhere near their opponents.

Fast forward to 2018 and a team that - on paper - is even better than the team so many had pegged for the postseason. And from the sounds of things, they are going to be better prepared, too.

Tackle Demar Dotson spoke to the media and gave his take on the big difference in this year’s camp compared to previous seasons;

“We practice physical. We practice hard. Guys practice fast, so it definitely wasn’t a cake walk of a training camp. I think coach made an emphasis with himself to make camp more physical and he definitely did a good job with that.

We worked every day. Full pads every day, guys banged every day. O-line, D-line with some good competitions going on, so it was definitely one of the most physical camps I’ve been in by far.”

This team needed that kind of grind, that kind of physicality headed into the season. After a team that believed they were going to coast to success last year, they needed the challenge of putting in the work - harder work than they’ve put in in a long time - to go out and earn their spot.

They have the talent to do it. It’s just a matter of finally playing up to that level of talent.