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Four things to watch as Buccaneers enter mandatory mini-camp

Some questions still to be answered for the Super Bowl champs

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers OTA Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The off-season can drag, even when you’re a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming off a Super Bowl championship. This is the time of year news comes slow and sometimes not at all.

It doesn’t mean there’s nothing to look for though, and even if some of it has to do with depth we all know how important the back end of an NFL roster can be.

With this in mind, here’s four things James Yarcho and I are looking for at the Bucs’ mandatory mini-camp, next week.

(1) QUARTERBACK GRASSHOPPER AND THE SENSEI

You might be familiar with quarterback Kyle Trask. He’s the young Florida Gators passer brought on by the Bucs in the second-round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Well, he’s got a big task ahead of him as the team surely brought him in with hopes he might become the heir apparent to Tom Brady.

Speaking of Brady, he’s going to be coaching a bit more than playing from camps you might have been used to in the past. Something Bruce Arians spoke about recently.

For Trask, getting more reps is only going to help his development, and I expect you might hear or see him getting some snaps with bigger names than typical third-string quarterbacks might throw to.

Even before he gets to minicamp Trask is already impressing the staff. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich recently praised the rookie, and as much of a chance this is for Trask, it’s an equally big opportunity for the coach to develop his own guy.

(2) Running Backs. All of them.

NFL: Super Bowl LV-Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This one is less about the top of the depth chart, but more about the distribution of work. We know Ronald Jones II, Leonard Fournette, and Giovanni Bernard are the first three backs into the game for the Bucs in 2021. But which is first, second, and third?

I suspect some of this is going to be based on opponent, and of course health will play a big part.

Will Rojo regain his ‘starting’ position now that he’s healthy? Will ‘Playoff Lenny’ keep hold of the reigns coming off his impressive playoff run? How much will Giovanni Bernard eat into each of their snaps?

We’re not getting all of those answers, but we’ll start to develop some analysis material for hints as to where this might land. Oh, and will Ke’Shawn Vaughn be in the doghouse after being called out publicly by Arians?

(3) Inside Linebacker Depth

K.J. Britt and Grant Stuard have made some headlines being the only inside linebackers for the past few weeks. But it isn’t just that. Their energy, effort, and play on the field has been impressive as well.

It certainly seems the Bucs found some gems with these day three picks, and both will get opportunities to show they can elevate even further with the starters back in town.

(4) Joe Tryon

Of course the number one pick for the team is going to be someone to watch. Even more here because Tryon hasn’t played true football in a long time. Actually, he won’t be playing ‘real’ football here either, but it’s as close as he’s gotten in a long time, so we’ll take it.

Also, it’s easy to strut when you’re the top pick for the franchise on a losing roster, but when you enter camp as the potential replacement for a Super Bowl winning pass rusher like Jason Pierre-Paul, it could be easy for Tryon to shrink a bit under the pressure of having so many strong defensive personalities around him.

How will Tryon hang with the squad on the field and personality wise? All eyes will be watching to answer that very question.