Day Three of training camp means it’s time to put the pads on and the current players on the Buccaneers’ roster are more than ready to do just that.
There were a few big collisions during Saturday’s practice - even though it was a “shell practice” - so it’s easy to see that these guys are ready to go.
Just about every player’s face lit up when asked about Sunday’s practice. Second-year receiver Justin Watson eloquently put the emotions into words during Sunday morning’s presser.
“I just think that tells you about the type of team that they’re trying to build around here,” Watson said while standing at the podium. “You know, guys that like that grittiness, like putting the pads on, like hitting each other. So I think he (Bruce Arians) is going to let us go today.”
Arians also mentioned his desire to see the players in pads after Saturday’s practice.
“Football is not played in shorts and it’s not fair to the big guys,” Arians said. “So many guys look bad in shorts and then they put the pads on and they’re football players. That was kind of my message when we broke - I am looking for the football players that show up now, not the soccer players.”
“I’m tired of watching them in shorts, to tell you the truth.”
And he’s absolutely right. A lot changes when the pads come on and it will be interesting to see who can continue the momentum from the past two days.
Will the secondary continue to fly around and make the offense’s life hell? Will the quarterbacks be able to find solid ground? How will the defensive and offensive front look?
In a perfect world, the answers to all of those questions would be “yes”, but we all know this is the NFL, and it’s far from a perfect world in this business.
And honestly, an easy training camp feels like a recipe for disaster. Controversy, for lack of a better word, creates competition - which in turn makes everyone better.
Don’t forget about the rookie defensive backs - who have shined during the first couple of days - and their desire to get back to playing “real football”.
“Tomorrow (Sunday), that’s what we’re waiting for - to put the pads on and play some real football,” rookie safety Edwards said during Saturday’s press conference. “I feel like I’m ready for tomorrow to get the pads, finally get to some hit guys and play football. I’m ready for it.”
Jamel Dean also talked about how the pads elevate the intensity during practice, as well.
It’s refreshing to hear how everyone is ready to get things going, especially after the last few years where the team’s toughness has been called into question by both players and folks on the outside.
Obviously we won’t know if the Bucs are a more physical team until the season begins, but for now, things are trending in the right direction and that has to be encouraging for coaches, fans, and the players.