Archive for July 2012
July 31, 2012 at 02:03pm by Scott • 2 Comments »
With Donald Penn sidelined by a calf injury, Demar Dotson (remember him?) has been the next man up at left tackle. Dotson has hung on for the last four years because his athleticism is just too good to pass up, but how is he coming along with the techniques of playing the position?
“Skill-wise, I have quick feet and I can move and I can stay in front of guys, but it’s a lot more than that. If you just stayed in front of people and moved your feet, that won’t get it done. It takes a whole lot more than that, but I’m working at it every day. The more chances I get to play, the more snaps I get and the more I work with the team, the better I get.”
I’ve heard players say that the sky is the limit for Dotson if he can just get some real playing time because he’s as physically talented as any of the tackles in the NFL. He’ll have his shot because Penn is out for a while. The Bucs have some depth in the interior offensive line, but not much in the way of tackles, so if they can get Dotson up to speed, that will be a huge asset.
And I want a sticker for saying “huge asset” in an article about Donald Penn and not running with it.
July 31, 2012 at 10:40am by Scott • 4 Comments »
This video makes me miss Raheem Morris so much. SEE HOW HARD YOU’RE MAKING MY JOB, SCHIANO?
July 30, 2012 at 10:45am by Scott • 4 Comments »
MARTIN IN THE LEAD: According to the Times, who had more hedges in their statement than field at Sanford Stadium, Doug Martin is in the lead for the role of starting running back. Martin is taking starting reps in practice and gets more of them than LeGarrette Blount. All of this should surprise absolutely no one. When you trade up into the first round for a new toy, you want to play with it right away.
FUMBLE!: Sunday was the team’s first day practicing in pads, so there was going to be some hitting going on. During one of the team drills, Mossis Madu fumbled the ball. And if it’s one thing Greg Schiano won’t tolerate, it’s fumbling. And everything else he doesn’t like.
“We certainly have a ton of stuff we have to work on. It was sloppy. But I think every time you add a different variable to the equation, you’re going to get a little bit of that. So we add the pads, we add contact, you start thinking about some of those contact related things and you start messing up your assignments or you jump off-sides.
“Penalties, missed assignments. We had one ball come out, which that just can’t happen. A ball carrier can not put the ball on the ground, period.”
Madu’s head has been stuffed and mounted in the team cafeteria as a reminder to the rest of the players to hold on to the football.
JACKSON GETTING HIGH MARKS: The guys at Pewter Report are good at spotting the little details at camp that most of the other publications miss. In one of their camp articles, they gave the most effusive praise to Vincent Jackson that I’ve seen in a long time.
There’s nothing Jackson does not do well. From route running to catching to blocking – Jackson is heads and shoulders above the rest of the receiving corps.
His work ethic is just as impressive as his playing ability.
In blocking drills, Jackson was impeccable;
Not bad. But Jackson is going to have a lot of attention on him this season, so the other receivers really have to figure out how to get separation and take and take advantage of all the coverage flowing to Jackson. PR says Mike Williams isn’t looking so hot yet and, of course, Arrelious Benn is out for a while. But, as everyone has been doing this offseason, they give high marks to Tiquan Underwood. If things continue this way, do not be surprised to see Underwood overtake Williams for the #2 receiver slot. Schaino will not hesitate to reward consistency with playing time. Being from Rutgers doesn’t hurt Underwood’s chances, either.
July 28, 2012 at 01:08pm by Scott • 6 Comments »
BENN HURT: According to PFT, Arrelious Benn strained an MCL and is expected to miss four weeks, meaning all of training camp and possibly all of preseason. I’d say run out and grab Dezmon Briscoe again, but the Redskins picked him up on waivers, so I guess he and Tanard Jackson and Raheem Morris can all get together after practice and talk about how the Bucs don’t know what they’re doing by letting them go. Jackson should have plenty of time to chat since he’s on the PUP list.
Anyway, Benn’s role in the offense has been reduced with the arrival of Vincent Jackson, but I imagine he will still be missed. The curse of the second-round continues. Someone wrap Lavonte David in bubble wrap.
DOMINIK EXPLAINS TRADE: Speaking of the second-round curse, Mark Dominik explained that Brian Price‘s trade to Chicago was not a spur of the moment decision.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik said Friday the trade of beleaguered defensive tackle Brian Price and release of wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe were moves the team had been “planning” for at least a couple weeks and that neither player should have been surprised by the move.
But then he said the least politically correct thing he could say about a player who has been through as much as Price has. And he’s absolutely 100% correct.
“But at some point we have to go out there and win some football games, and part of the plan for us was to be involved in free agency this offseason and go out and find guys like Amobi Okoye and Wallace Gilberry, who can help out, so his was a position that we have focused on, knowing this day could come.”
Dominik didn’t rest on “We’re going in a different direction,” which everyone else would have done. By saying “at some point we have to go out there and win some football games,” he said that despite all of Price’s personal issues, the Buccaneers are not a charity and can’t afford to have someone on the roster who cannot contribute to wins. It seems harsh but it has to be said. I’m glad Dominik said it.
BIGGERS DOWN TOO: Hey look at that. While I was looking for a third story, the Bucs released a statement that E.J. Biggers also suffered a foot injury yesterday, apparently in the same play that injured Benn when they collided.
“It’s part of the game, unfortunately, in no-pads,” said Schiano. “It’s just an unfortunate thing, but we’ve got to keep pressing on. Those two guys will get back. They’re going to keep preparing and working. My philosophy when a guy gets injured is, certainly there are things you can’t do with skill development, but there’s a lot of things you can do. In the weight room, rehab – that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to work at the things you can control.”
Anthony Gaitor and Myron Lewis will likely be filling in while Biggers is down. I had high hopes for Lewis a while ago, but this may be his last real opportunity to shine.
July 27, 2012 at 09:27am by Scott • 6 Comments »
According to the Buccaneers Facebook page, there were two new Bucs on the field this morning: WR Landon Cox and CB Marquese Wheaton. Cox is a second-year player out of Northern Illinois who spent last season with the Bengals and Wheaton is an undrafted rookie out of Southern Miss (5-10, 180, 4.55 40). Landon Cox is also a great porn name for a chick.
Probably not much more than camp meat. I just have a hard time believing that Cox gives them a better chance to win than Dezmon Briscoe.
July 26, 2012 at 05:48pm by Scott • 10 Comments »
On the first day of training camp, the Bucs traded Brian Price to Chicago for a low-round 2013 pick. In case any players thought Greg Schiano wasn’t serious, they should take those doubts, shoot them in the face and bury them in the back yard.
My guess is that Price showed up to camp out of shape, but that seems like something that could be overcome. He certainly wouldn’t have been the first. It seems extra-harsh with all the tragedy Price has gone through, most recently (as in a few months ago) the loss of his sister which affected him so profoundly that he had to be hospitalized. But the team and Price may have come to an agreement that we don’t know about and there may not be any hard feelings. Whatever the reason is, that’s another second round pick gone. Da’Quan Bowers, hurt; Brian Price, traded; Kellen Winslow, traded; Dexter Jackson, waste of space; Arron Sears, tragically vegetative. The second round is the money round. That’s where some of the biggest bargains are, and the Bucs have whiffed on it for years. Jeremy Trueblood is arguably the most successful Buccaneer second-round pick of the millenium. Maybe I should be nicer to him.
The good news is that Amobi Okoye will come off the PUP list tomorrow, so he will be able to fill in right away assuming he takes Price’s spot. Price was playing nose for most of his career, and that seems like a mismatch for Okoye, but who knows what Schiano and his defensive staff have in mind. I like the idea of two fast and athletic first-rounders anchoring the middle of the line. Also, Adam Hayward will come of the PUP list tomorrow.
While they were at it, the Bucs released Dezmon Briscoe. The Bucs had a shitload of wide receivers, but Briscoe was one that I was pretty sure would stick. He was said to be somewhat sloppy in OTAs, but we all knew what he could do on gameday. The rub there is that Schiano doesn’t give a shit what you did on gameday in any other season; he wants to see what you’re bringing to the table today. Briscoe didn’t bring enough, and now he’s on the market. Remember when Mark Dominik overpaid him a practice squad salary just to get him on the team? Yeah, Schiano doesn’t care about that, either. Somewhere in a training camp dorm, Sammie Stroughter is thanking Jesus and rubbing a lucky charm bracelet.
July 26, 2012 at 12:34pm by Scott • 3 Comments »
Looks like some up-and-coming left tackles will be getting more reps than they thought this camp because Donald Penn is going to be chilling out in the tub.
Penn became injured working on in Los Angeles and notified the Bucs about his injury several days ago. He has been working with trainers at One Buc Place the past few days but will not be able to start training camp with the rest of the players.
The headline says “several weeks”, so that likely means most of training camp. Penn may make it in for a preseason game, but we’re probably not going to hear much from him until the regular season is upon us. Normally, this wouldn’t be such a big deal because Penn is a pro and knows what he’s doing. But Penn has had conditioning issues in the past and maybe being sedentary during this critical period isn’t the best thing for a guy who tends to pack on the weight. And also… whole new playbook and coaching staff. Of all years, this would probably be the one where Penn (or any veteran player for that matter) would want extra reps. So this kind of sucks.
Speaking of conditioning, holy shit:
Schiano said several players failed the Bucs conditioning test, which consists of 16, 110-yard sprints. He declined to name the players who did not pass, but some of them won’t be allowed to practice until they reach a certain conditioning level.
Do they get to rest for a day between sprints? Because that’s probably the only way I could pass it. After my flag football team is done with practice, we generally run four sprints across the field, which is roughly 80 yards long. We rest for about 60 seconds between them and after we’re done, we are legally dead for a good hour. Running 16 110-yard sprints is fucking nuts. Maybe next year Schiano should make his team run the Tough Mudder course every day before practice as a warm-up.
July 26, 2012 at 12:15pm by Scott • 2 Comments »
Eric LeGrand announced his retirement today, a move everybody predicted but no one knew exactly when it would come. Just like everything else LeGrand has done in his time as a Buccaneer, he handled it with class and humility.
“Making it to the NFL was my dream,” LeGrand said in a statement released by the Bucs. “But now I want to see my team as strong as possible at the start of training camp. I’m a Buc for life.”
On Twitter, LeGrand wrote: “I knew I wouldn’t keep the roster spot forever and my team enters camp today. (This allows them to) Go in with a full squad of 90 people so I am not in the way of them reaching a championship. Every man counts.”
LeGrand knows roster spots are scarce in the NFL and doesn’t want to hinder his team by taking one away from a player who may contribute on the field. But off the field, you’d be hard pressed to find a Buccaneer who has affected more people or brought more positivity to the team. It’s been a great story, but this isn’t the last we’ll hear of LeGrand. We’ll certainly be seeing him at games, various Buccaneer events, and on TV when he proves all the doubters wrong by walking again.
July 26, 2012 at 10:43am by Scott • No Comments »
Arriving for training camp this morning, Josh Freeman looked noticeably slimmer and fitter, the result of his hard work this offseason to get in better shape. But the one area he clearly neglected is obviously the most important one. Freeman kept his frohawk and it’s hard to believe a hard ass like Greg Schiano will let this stand, especially with his reputation for details like this. We’ll see if it changes before the regular season, but if not, he’s basically handing the division to the Falcons. Julio Jones understands — he cut his braids because he knew they were bringing the whole team down. Every time Freeman overthrows his receivers, think about that thing under his helmet throwing off his balance.
July 25, 2012 at 10:03am by Scott • 1 Comment »
After all the publicity LeGarrette Blount‘s history of being late for practice and falling asleep in meetings got, Greg Schiano stuck up for him and let everyone know that Blount hasn’t had that issue so far this year.
“I think that probably got blown out of proportion a little bit,” Schiano said. “He probably had some troubles — I’m not really familiar with the facts — but that’s all behind us. LeGarrette has been great. We’ve had workouts here, we’ve had OTAs, minicamps, and he’s been on time for everything. It hasn’t been an issue at all and I don’t foresee that being an issue.”
It may be that Raheem Morris had such a permissive locker room that Blount never felt his job was in jeopardy if he didn’t show up on time. From the outset, I’m sure Schiano let the entire team know that all their jobs were in jeopardy if they didn’t follow through with the basic — like showing up and staying awake. It hit Blount especially hard when he saw his replacement drafted in the first round in April. So he knows Schiano isn’t fucking around and, likely as a result, has cleaned up his act.
“I have a lot of faith in LeGarrette,” Schiano said. “LeGarrette has bought into what we’re doing, he’s working incredibly hard, and if you watch and you see the things he does from time to time, it’s great — really great running back play. It’s just we need to put those things together consistently.”
And it’s statements like that that will probably keep him in line, too. As positive as that paragraph looks, it is not complimentary. When your coach says he has a lot of faith in you, it means he hasn’t seen the production. When he says you’re working hard, it means you haven’t achieved something yet. And if he says you’re doing things well from time to time, it means he hasn’t seen you do them consistently (Schiano is pretty explicit with that one). Lord help him if he says he’s got a good motor.