It’s game week Buccaneer fans and the team was back on the practice filed as they prepare for the New Orleans Saints. Head Coach Dirk Koetter gave some updates Monday on the state of the team as well as some injury updates.
Koetter update on Vita Vea: “He’s making good progress. Unfortunately, it’s not to the point where he can play football on the field yet, but he’s working a lot behind the scenes in the weight room, in the training room, and he’s making progress, but he’s not ready to play on the field yet.”
Koetter was also asked whether or not he knows when Vea will return and he simply said he couldn’t comment any further. To me, it doesn’t look likely that Vea will be playing week one.
Koetter update on Donovan Smith: “Yeah, we’ll see how it shakes out. You guys know well – Donovan takes a lot of pride,” Koetter said. “He’s never missed a start in his time here, and if anybody can make it, it’s him.”
My gut tells me Donovan will play on Sunday. Of course, practices later in the week will tell a bigger story, but like Koetter said, if anyone can heal that fast and play it’s Donovan.
Koetter on if it was weird not having Jameis in the building: “It was a little bit. I think I noticed it the most when I walked in the quarterback room when we broke down for individual meetings and went in the quarterback room.,” Koetter said. “I mean, it’s been a long time since Jameis hasn’t been camped out up in the front row next to his computer. It was a little bit strange, but we knew this was coming, and we planned for it. Now we’ve just got to do it.”
You have to hope that the team doesn’t have a Jameis type hangover and let his absence affect their performance or energy level. I don’t think it will because Fitzpatrick also has their respect, but it’s something to keep an eye on. Being down a vocal leader can absolutely hurt a team, but Koetter does have to prepare them for that during the week.
Koetter on it finally being week one: “Tough opener against a really good football team, but what better way for us to measure where we’re at? One of the toughest places to play in the league – going to play in the Dome in New Orleans,” Koetter said. “I know our guys are excited about it, and as you said a division game, so they know us well, we know them well. We’re excited about getting them going.”
The Saints have lost their last four season openers, while the Buccaneers have won their last two. It’s a division matchup so the two teams are very familiar with each other, so there really shouldn’t be many surprises. Will the Saints have an NFC divisional game hangover? We shall see.