It’s finally here, Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp is officially open.
Rookies reported to Tampa on Monday with the rest of the squad showing up on Tuesday morning to mark the true beginning of the new season. Training camp couldn’t get here soon enough, as it’s the first chance the Bucs have to start quieting some of the very loud doubts about how their season will go and how the new-look team will perform.
Just about everywhere you turned this offseason, some national pundit was punching the Bucs out like they had just told him to get his shine box. As much as the Bucs have been buried, though, there are plenty of things that are trending in the right direction as the start of the season nears.
One of those things helped kick off training camp. As the Bucs prepared to fully report on Tuesday, the team received a huge update on the status of linebacker Shaq Barrett.
Latest Shaq Barrett injury update is fantastic news for Buccaneers
Bucs reporter Rick Stroud passed along word that Barrett has been cleared for a return after passing his physical. He might have to ease into action at training camp, but all signs point toward Barrett getting back into the saddle in no time.
“Shaquil Barrett, who missed half of the 2022 season with a torn Achilles, has passed his physical and will not begin training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list,” Stroud reported. “He may be held out of some contact early in camp, but good news for Shaq.”
The Bucs need Barrett back if they’re going to pull off the surprise season nobody thinks they’re capable of.
When Barrett was healthy, he was playing like one of the best outside linebackers in the league. He was an instrumental piece of the Bucs Super Bowl-winning defense and was paid handsomely as a result. If he can get back to being more like the guy we saw in 2020 and 2021, Tampa Bay’s defense will once again be a terror.
That’s a massive piece of the puzzle this season. If the defense can return to form, there’s far less pressure on Baker Mayfield and the offense. There’s an expectation that new offensive coordinator Dave Canales will avoid the pitfalls of last season and fix things, but Todd Bowles defense getting back to where we know it can be is key.
Getting Shaq Barrett back to form would be a massive step in the right direction.