Day one of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp is in the books. Here’s a breakdown of all the happenings during the first day of camp.
Rejoice Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans, training camp is here. The pads may not be on yet, but Thursday was the first glimpse of the 2018 version of the Bucs.
Tampa Bay will begin a season which could define the next five to ten years of Buccaneers football. The organization’s quarterback, coach and general manager are all on the hot seat.
The team has a roster that is built to contend immediately. An offense with weapons all over the field and a revamped defense with an imposing front seven. But a suspended quarterback has limited the amount of optimism surrounding a talented roster.
Even with the concerns heading into the 2018 campaign, the start of training camp is always a fun day. It marks the end of the offseason and the return of football. The Buccaneers coaches and players arrive at One Buc Place to begin their journey towards a Super Bowl.
The first day of training camp has wrapped up and it may not have answered many questions, but it provided a sneak peek into the storylines revolving around the franchise.
Jameis Winston addresses the media
With camp underway, Tampa supporters are still desperate for answers. Everyone was waiting to hear Jameis Winston answer questions and comment on his suspension, along with head coach Dirk Koetter’s assessment of the situation.
All eyes were on Winston, the media scrum surrounding him was astounding. He was faced with question after question about his actions and suspension. Winston handled himself well and didn’t cause any stir in how he answered each question.
Bucs take the field for the first time
The Winston saga aside, the questions that have been revolving around Tampa Bay for months are going to be answered in the coming weeks. Although it was only the first day, it was enough to get a brief look at position battles and changes the Bucs will go through in 2018.
Despite proving himself as a quality backup last season, there have been whispers regarding Ryan Fitzpatrick’s status as the Buccaneers starter with Winston on the pine. Ryan Griffin, who is entering his fourth year in Tampa was gaining some steam. Griffin appeared to be in tight competition for the backup role heading into last season, but an injury derailed any chance of him jumping Fitzpatrick.
There doesn’t appear to be a quarterback battle between the two this season as head coach Dirk Koetter made it very clear its Fitzpatrick’s job.
Fitzpatrick spent most the time with the first-team offense further distancing himself as the starter. Griffin had an uphill battle to begin with. And now that Koetter was this adamant on day one, the battle appears to be non-existent now.
One of the major talking points of the day was how defensive coordinator Mike Smith broke down the first and second team defense. The Pewter Report captured each lineup with the following tweets:
Despite the constant criticism, safety Chris Conte remained with the first team alongside Justin Evans. Conte frequently gets chewed out by Tampa supporters for his play, but the Buccaneers don’t have any other options at this point.
Keith Tandy was a non-factor last season and will likely be a backup and rookie Jordan Whitehead needs to prove he belongs in the league before Smith gifts him a starting role. Conte is a veteran and knows the defense. Someone on the roster will have to take Conte’s job away if any changes will be made at safety.
Another big note was the starting defensive line combination. Keep in mind, this is the base defense, which is typically on the field in early downs and in running situations.
Tampa lined up Jason Pierre-Paul and Vinny Curry at the end spots, with Gerald McCoy and Beau Allen next to them.
The second unit featured Vita Vea and Mitch Unrein. However, edge rusher Noah Spence was not included in either base defense unit. Perhaps Spence will be strictly a situational pass rusher and not be on the field when a team could run the ball.
Spence is one of the best pass rushers on the team and if he can continue to pressure the quarterback he will certainly have a spot on the team. The only question surrounding Spence is how big his role can be among a talented rotation of defensive lineman.
To be clear, it is so early in camp these lineups could change drastically come September. However, it’s worth noting who comes into camp with the edge.
Another cool note following the practice involved former All-Pro Gerald McCoy.
Strong veteran presence is always important in a locker room. Tampa Bay has just that in tackle McCoy. After practice Thomas Bassinger of the Tampa Bay Times caught McCoy working with some of the young players along the Buccaneers defensive front.
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