The first week of camp officially wrapped up after Friday’s practice and per the usual, there was plenty to talk about once the Bucs left the field.
Overall, it was a good practice for both the offense and the defense. Both sides of the ball made plays, but both also made mistakes.
Hey, as we all know, that’s what we want to see in camp. If it’s easy, it ain’t good.
Let’s dive in.
1. Passing Concepts.
Huh? What? You mean the Bucs are actually using passing concepts?
These plays are designed to attack certain weaknesses of particular defensive coverage(s) and usually involve routes that attack all areas of the field in order to get a receiver open.
This should help Jameis Winston’s growth and Bruce Arians said “that’s the plan” when I asked him about it after practice.
He also said that the point of this air attack is to “hit the open man, not target someone”, which is correlates with what Byron Leftwich said back on Tuesday about making the “money decision”.
I’m not advanced enough in film study to pinpoint which concepts are being used, but on just about every play there are receivers running routes in the short, intermediate, and deep areas of the field and there is usually some sort of hot route/check down involved.
2. Red hot Jameis.
Winston was absolute money in red zone/goal line work. Starting from the 10-yard line, he was able to get the ball in the end zone five out of six times and a lot of throws and decisions were the ones you want to see him make.
He found Breshad Perriman on a comeback route in-between four defenders on one play, which was arguably his best throw of the day. He also threw two touchdowns to O.J. Howard and Peyton Barber ran one in as well.
Play of the night: Jameis Winston finds O.J. Howard in the red zone. pic.twitter.com/27DbmXhgAF— Bailey Adams (@BaileyJAdams22) August 3, 2019
Now, he did have some not-so-great moments as practice went on and a lot of you will see this interception below, but if you look close enough, this just a great play by the defense. It was 4th down with :19 seconds left, the defensive backs had everyone covered, and the pass rush was in Winston’s face. Mike Edwards reads the play perfectly and makes his move at the right time. I don’t really blame him for trying to make a play with his back against the wall.
It’s hard not to be excited about Mike Edwards. This play was a lot about the pressure up front and the tight coverage in the secondary, but it’s no surprise to see Edwards in the right spot to make a play. pic.twitter.com/cCBg6SvmML— Bailey Adams (@BaileyJAdams22) August 3, 2019
The excellence in the red zone prompted Arians to say that it was probably “Winston’s best day” after practice.
3. Bounce-back performance by the offense.
Arians called it the best practice after a bad practice and also cited a run game that continues to get better with each practice. Resiliency is always a good trait to have and it appears as if this team has that - for now.
4. Sports Science, baby!
Even though practice was held inside, it was HOT.
That wasn’t on accident. Arians has a sports science crew that has the AdventHealth Training Center temperature set to where it perfectly replicates the outside weather. So, just because it’s indoors doesn’t mean the Bucs will be practicing in 70-degree weather.
You could literally feel the heat as soon as you walked into the facility and it didn’t get any better as practice continued.
Check another box when it comes to Arians’ ingenuity concerning practice and other elements that involve coaching a football team.
5. Flexibility on the roster.
When it comes to backups, Arians wants guys that can play multiple positions. He didn’t mince words, stating, “Positional flexibility is how you make the team. If you’re not a starter, you better be able to play two or three positions or we can’t use you.”
Again, we’ve heard about how this coaching staff likes to put their players in the best position possible and when you have flexibility outside of your starters, then you have more options and a better chance of replacing injured starters with a guy who can still get it done.
6. The receivers looked like receivers.
After a disappointing Thursday practice, the wide receivers came back and made plays all over the field on Friday.
There were plenty of tough catches to go around, including this one from Chris Godwin, who seems to make his living off of plays such as this one.
Talked to Chris Godwin after practice. He had some good things to say about Jameis Winston’s camp so far: “We go as he goes. He’s an incredibly hard worker and I’m excited about what he has in store for this year.” Good connection between the two here: pic.twitter.com/Bxn3C3w5hU— Bailey Adams (@BaileyJAdams22) August 3, 2019
Anthony Johnson stepped up with some nice catches, Cameron Brate made plenty of plays, and the running backs continued to make plays in the passing game.
7. Strong on the inside.
Corey Nelson made plays in place of Lavonte David - who was given an off day for swelling -and so did Emmanuel Smith.
At one point, Smith made an extremely athletic play to knock away a pass intended for a receiver in the end zone. Nelson was everywhere, making plays in the backfield and in the middle of the field.
The inside linebackers looked very good, especially when you add in the performances from Kevin Minter and Devin White, who were solid as well.
8. No timetable for DaMarkus Lodge’s return.
Lodge has been sidelined with a hamstring issue throughout camp thus far and Arians said after practice that there is no timetable for his return.
It’s a tough break for an extremely talented player. No one still really knows how or why he went undrafted, but it’s definitely going to be an uphill battle from here.
9. Cairos Santos continues to kick well.
You didn’t think I’d go two straight days without a kicking update, right? Where would be the fun in that?!?!
Santos kicked well. He hit 7-of-8 kicks in the early drills, missing just once from 58 yards (unofficial). A bad snap derailed his initial 55-yard attempt, but he made the second attempt later on.
It’s probably safe to say that major strides won’t be made on either side until the first preseason game. But competition is always good, so this can only (hopefully) make both Santos and Matt Gay better.