In all honesty, Day 3 was not what I expected, but it was still a physical practice that left us with some informative impressions.
Practice was moved inside for the first hour due to lightning in the area, but the action kicked in once everything was moved outdoors.
Without further ado, here are the observations from Sunday’s padded practice.
1. Dirty drawers.
It was the first day of padded practice and head coach Bruce Arians wasn’t very pleased with the overall result, using the term “raggedy” when describing what happened on the field today.
Bruce Arians on the first day of pads:— Evan Winter (@evan_winter) July 28, 2019
“It was a bit raggedy, the noise went up and some guys pooped themselves.”
He’s right. There were plenty of lost opportunities and inconsistent play from the team, but there’s no reason to think the Bucs can’t pick it up as training camp moves forward.
2. Donovan Smith “knicked his Achilles” in Saturday’s practice.
So, the earliest development of the day came when Smith was seen without pads during warmups.
Apparently, according to Arians, he knicked his Achilles during Saturday’s practice, but it’s not a big deal. Former right guard Caleb Benenoch started in his place, and he actually played well during the few reps I watched.
It’s understandable for the Bucs to take it easy with a $7 million Achilles, so you can’t blame them for resting Smith, but the last thing you want to hear about is a lower extremity injury with a big man.
3. The running game looked good, especially Ronald Jones II
It was a limited sample size, but the running game - especially Jones - played well.
He had the best run of the day, a 25- or so-yard touchdown that showed off strength, burst, and long-distance speed.
Ronald Jones gets a burst of speed taking it to the end zone. pic.twitter.com/L2b9FWF6mV— Matt Matera (@matty4_matera2) July 28, 2019
Peyton Barber has looked good as well, but it’s very exciting to see RoJo’s improvement, especially after last year’s dismal start in camp.
4. The kicking battle will last throughout camp
Cairos Santos was a perferct 9-of-9 today, including 52- and 57-yard field goals from the left hash.
He then made a 38-yarder to end two-minute drills, pushing his overall mark to 10-for-10 on the day.
As we’ve seen over the past few years, kicking performances in camp don’t really matter, but the fact that both kickers have just one combined miss is pretty encouraging.
5. Chris Godwin is a stud
Some things in life are just natural and Godwin’s receiving ability is one of them.
The dude was making plays all over the field, demonstrating great run-after-the-catch ability and concentration.
It was a very good day for Godwin outside of one early drop and he should be a great complementary piece to Mike Evans this season.
6. Jameis is “ahead of schedule”, per Arians
It was another inconsistent day for Winston, who made some really good throws, but also made some bad ones.
The best throw of the day didn’t come until close to the end of practice, when he dropped one in a bucket to Mike Evans on the far sideline. The throw moved the Bucs into field goal position during the two-minute drill.
After several reps won by the defense, @Jaboowins found @MikeEvans13_ along the near sideline for a really nice catch. @Carlton_Lowkey beating himself up over this...told me yesterday he has huge expectations for himself (and has done really well so far) pic.twitter.com/Za9lUGav5i— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) July 28, 2019
Despite the apparent inconsistency, Arians is actually pretty pleased with how Winston has performed over the past few days, citing the fact that “Winston is getting the kitchen sink thrown at him”.
He even went on to say that he thinks Winston is ahead of where he wants him to be, which was also a bit surprising.
But at the same time, it’s good to hear a coach instilling confidence in Winston instead of taking it away from him.
7. Orion Stewart goes down hard.
This was easily the worst moment of the day. Stewart was covering Cameron Brate on the sideline when the two collided and hit the ground.
Brate popped up with no issues, but Stewart remained on the ground, clutching his knee and calling for the trainers to come over.
He was later loaded up onto the trainer’s cart and had to be taken off the field. The rookie had his face in his hands as he was taken away, which is never a good sign.
Orion Stewart being helped onto the trainer’s cart after suffering a knee injury. pic.twitter.com/LYZNOtNxPO— Evan Winter (@evan_winter) July 28, 2019
8. The defensive front seven was effective.
Vita Vea broke through the middle of the offensive line for what would’ve been a sack on two straight plays and Ndamukong Suh was basically unblockable at times.
The second level was flying around and swarming to the ball. They looked like a cohesive, confident unit that has a firm grasp of what they need to do on offense.
Granted, there were some mistakes made, especially on the Jones touchdown, but overall the unit looked good as a whole.
Oooooooh yea, baby! We had an RPO sighting today!!
I’ll make this simple: this offense seems perfect for a few of these types of calls and the coaching staff should definitely make them somewhat-part of the game plan.