Josh Freeman

Posts Tagged ‘donald penn’

Donald Penn Not Fat, Just Pissed

May 29, 2013 at 09:21am by Scott   •  2 Comments »

He's fine with his weight clauses, but no reason to show the gut, either.
Pewter Report published an article the other day (which has since been updated) regarding players who are on the “hot seat” and Donald Penn was one of them because he is not watching his weight and not meeting weight conditions in his contract.

“Penn loves playing for the Buccaneers and is one of those locker room guys that coaches love to have, but also has an occasional lazy streak and has failed to meet most of the weight clauses in his most recent contract”

Of course Penn heard about this and peeled off some tweets (which have since been deleted — doesn’t anyone stand by their words anymore>?) which the Times was considerate enough to capture in a single article.

“330 right now in the best shape I been in a long time stop reporting bull(expletive) I made all my weigh in last yr n this yr,” Penn tweeted.

Turns out the update Pewter Report posted was to clarify that even though they didn’t really specify a time period that Penn had actually met his weight clauses so far this year and last year, just like Penn said. has learned on Monday that Penn did in fact meet his weight clauses for the 2012 season, although prior to 2012 Penn failed to meet some of the stipulations of weight in his contract, costing him of bonus money

“Has learned” is a funny way to put it. Another Penn tweet:

Upon learning the item orginated from Cook’s blog on Pewter Report, Penn tweeted, “Keep reporting bull (expletive) on me n see the next time I do a interview wit u yo (expletive) is lies get the facts 1st Cook b4 u say (expletive).”

What Pewter Report said wasn’t technically a lie since they framed it in the context of Penn’s contract, which he signed in 2010. And since Penn did have weight issues in 2011, they were factually correct. But the implication was that Penn continues to have weight issues that will affect his status with the team (putting him in the “hot seat” this season) and that’s not true. 2011 is a thousand years ago in football time and what happened then has almost no relevance to today.

Penn is still an excellent left tackle and I think the “hot seat” is too strong for him. Everyone was basically put on notice when Greg Schiano got to town — shape up or get the hell off the team. And the number of players left from the Raheem Morris regime just keeps on shrinking. So Penn needs to keep his shit together, but so does everyone else. And at least according to his weigh-ins for the past couple years, he has been.

So I Guess JPP Is An Okay Player

September 13, 2012 at 10:53am by Scott   •  3 Comments »

He's about to eat it. That's what Jason Pierre-Paul eats for lunch. Footballs.
Back in the 2010 draft, I was one of the ones who was saying that Jason Pierre-Paul didn’t have enough experience playing college ball to make the transition to the NFL well. Basically, I thought he’d lose interest when he saw how much different it was and how much work it took and wouldn’t be worth the high draft pick someone would spend on him. And then last year Pierre-Paul had 16.5 sacks and made me look like the world’s biggest jackass. My lesson from that is that everyone should make a video of themselves doing lots of backflips and then sit around and wait for someone to hand you a shitload of money.

Pierre-Paul has major respect around the league now, including from Donald Penn who is going to have to deal with him in a couple days.

“Pierre-Paul is a beast and I’ve got a double dose with a little bit of him and a little bit of Osi. It’s going to be a tough one … a lot of hitting in the mouth.”

Jeremy Trueblood also weighed in on JPP (yeah you know me).

“He has all the physical gifts,” Trueblood said. “His athleticism shows on tape. It shows on the field goal rush, it shows on everything. He’s a force, but we get paid in the league to block guys like that.”

JPP generally lines up as the right defensive end, but every now and then he lines up on the left. Trueblood won’t have to deal with him too often, but when he does, I see a false start in his future. I know, I’m a visionary.

Bucs Beat AFC Champs!*

August 27, 2012 at 03:47pm by Scott   •  2 Comments »


* may not mean as much now as it would have in February.

NFL Network finally broadcasted the Bucs/Pats game Sunday afternoon after airing a couple other games twice (#BuccaneerConspiracy) so I got around to watching it last night. I came away much more impressed with many aspects of the team, obviously concerned about some others, and disgusted at the amount of cheering Pats fans there were in the stands.

Losing Davin Joseph for the year is huge. Like, super huge. It may be the biggest loss the team could have, and I’m including Josh Freeman. There was so much hinging on the run game this season and Joseph and Carl Nicks were going to be those bookend guards to give Doug Martin the cracks he needed to break his big runs. I assumed Ted Larsen would be the starter in Joseph’s place, and that would have been a big step down. Larsen is good, but he’s not at Joseph’s level. But now Greg Schiano is saying that they’re going to try a few different things out. No one else on the roster is any better than Larsen, so that probably means he’s going to see who gets cut this week and bring in a couple guards to compete with Larsen to start.

You may object to me saying that Joseph is a bigger loss than Freeman would have been, but have you seen anything from Freeman this preseason so far that makes him stand out? Several passes off-target, a seemingly rebellious refusal to run when there are yards and yards of green in front of him, just doesn’t look sharp. He had a couple good passes Friday, but just not sucking isn’t enough. Not for a fourth year franchise quarterback. Dan Orlovsky has been more precise with his throws and more productive. I’m not advocating for Orlovsky to be the starter and I recognize that Freeman is generally playing against better competition than Orlovsky, but Freeman should be clearly better than him at this stage, and he’s not.

Doug Martin has Emmitt Smith-type balance. You see it in just about every run. No defender is going to bring him down with an arm tackle or by throwing themselves at his feet. He can spin and twist and stumble but his knee never touches until he gets hit squarely. He’s a living weeble.

It was good to see Vincent Jackson catch some balls and be a big part of that first drive. He is as advertised and that’s good because he’s going to need that big radius to catch some awkward balls if the offensive line isn’t going to give the quarterback the time he needs to step up.

Speaking of which, is it just me or did Donald Penn look sluggish? Seems like he got pushed around some on Friday. He definitely let Chandler Jones get inside him on the play where Joseph as injured. Not that it’s Penn’s fault or anything, but Penn allowing that kind of pressure is unusual.

Though I wasn’t keeping an exact count, I do remember a lot of bullshit penalties, too. False start, delay of game, illegal formation… all useless penalties. It may be a useless statistics, but it can’t be helping.

I don’t know what happened to Preston Parker during the offseason to make him not be able to hang onto a punt, but he should not be allowed to field punts ever again. If the Bucs keep six receivers and ditch Arrelious Benn, he will probably stick. But guys on the back half of the roster need to be able to do something on special teams and his value is declining quickly if he can’t field punts.

Someone said something during the broadcast about Dallas Clark not being able to block. I saw him block a couple times and he was fine at it. No pancakes or anything, but the guy he was blocking got moved away from the flow of the ball. That’s all they need him to do.

Both Gerald McCoy and Adrian Clayborn got tweaked during the game and left early. Still, the defensive line showed some life with Michael Bennett and Roy Miller. Beyond that, despite the numbers, the depth on the line gets pretty thin. The Bucs will be scouting for this position as well this week, and if they don’t find anyone they like, guys like Wallace Gilberry and E.J. Wilson will be getting roster spots, which seemed incomprehensible last year.

The Patriots ran for 168 yards with an average of 5.4 YPC. That’s a lot — in fact, it’s more than Freeman’s yards per attempt. It didn’t actually seem that way during the game since Adam Hayward and Lavonte David were always around the ball, Hayward especially making some big plays. And Mason Foster, the starting MLB, wasn’t playing. Jeff Demps did his share to boost their average with a 29-yard run and that was against backups, so maybe it isn’t as the stats. But I’ve got a real feeling that teams are going to test the Bucs’ run game early in the season. They’ve got a reputation of giving up a lot of running yards, and until they prove everyone else wrong in a regular season game, that’s going to be the assumption around the league.

One factor other teams will have to consider now is Mark Barron. He can flat-out hit. He’s been equally impressive in run support and pass coverage and has shown so far that he was worthy of the #7 overall pick. If the Bucs can have a true intimidator patrolling the secondary like they did when John Lynch was around, they’ll get part of that nasty edge back that they had all those years ago. Barron might be that guy.

The last preseason game is Wednesday night. My DirecTV schedule says it will be broadcast live on Comcast SportsNet, channel 642. We’ll see if that actually happens, but hopefully I’ll be able to review the game less than a week after it happens this time.

Dotson Has Skills, Needs Reps

July 31, 2012 at 02:03pm by Scott   •  2 Comments »

Cameramen need different lenses to take pictures of Dotson.
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.

Penn Out For A While

July 26, 2012 at 12:34pm by Scott   •  3 Comments »

Food goes here.
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.

2012 Minicamp Wrap-Up

June 15, 2012 at 12:11pm by Scott   •  1 Comment »

Great, now Mossis Madu has even more competition.
Minicamp wrapped up yesterday and apparently not a hell of a lot happened on the field except Donald Penn catching a punt from the JUGGS machine to end practice early, because that’s all anyone was talking about. Including Penn.

“I was joking around with coach [Schiano] about what a great athlete I am and he threw that up there and I did a good job,” Penn said. “I know I can catch and you guys [the media] know I can catch. If I had dropped it we would have had to continue practicing. So since I caught it we ended practice early, which is great. We have been working hard, real hard, and put in a lot of work. And for him to do that today just shows how much work we put in and [that we’re] doing a good job for coach to give us that day off.

That actually does say a lot about how well Schiano thinks the player are doing. He doesn’t seem like the kind of coach who would end practice early if he was even the least bit dissatisfied in the team’s efforts. Penn also had a couple interesting comments about practice as a whole.

Penn went on to talk about the difference in this season’s OTAs and mini-camps versus years past.

“To tell you the truth, the intensity. Coach asked for it to be here and it stayed there all three days,” Penn said. “And it didn’t drop, really. That’s the one big thing you have to take into the next few weeks off and take into camp.”

One word rarely use to describe Raheem Morris‘s camps was “intense”. Morris said he liked to bring “juice” to camp, but I think he meant actual juice because everyone seemed very hydrated but not terribly motivated. All that changes this year.

Penn also notes that he’s getting married in July. Congratulations to Donald! And I say that with absolutely no sarcasm.

Lots of interviews were printed yesterday, including one from LeGarrette Blount who has encouraging things to say about what he’s working on this offseason.

“I’ve been working on pass protection and picking up the blitzes this offseason,” Blount said. “That’s the thing I’ve been working on the most. I can say that’s what I’ve improved on the most.”

You know defenses are going to target Blount when he’s on the field because of his reputation for not being able to handle those responsibilities. If he can jam his helmet into a rushing linebackers chest and put him on the ground to protect Josh Freeman, that will go a long way to proving he can be the every-down back that most people some people I think he can be. It’s a good interview that also covers his progress on catching passes and securing the ball.

There are also good stories about Mason Foster, Vincent Jackson and Greg Schiano’s hopes for Aqib Talib. More to come.

The Talent Gap

December 20, 2011 at 01:08pm by Scott   •  5 Comments »

Talent 1

The Times printed an article on Sunday (it’s not credited to anyone, so I assume a slave or robot wrote it) about how leadership, coaching and motivation aren’t the only things the Bucs need. What they really are short on is actual, physical talent.

Is there a player anywhere on the field who could be considered the best in the NFL at his position? How about a top-five player? Top 10?

*raises finger to object, then stops*

Huh. I… I don’t have an answer for that. Michael Koenen? Connor Barth should be up there this year. Donald Penn is probably top ten, but you wouldn’t know it from the last couple weeks.

Maybe Davin Joseph. Probably Connor Barth and Michael Koenen. After that, it’s a stretch. Donald Penn could have made the argument last year, but his play has slipped. Kellen Winslow and Ronde Barber are not the players they were a few years ago.

Ahh, so I guess you already covered all my guys. So there aren’t a lot of superstars on the team. But I don’t think there are too many outright bad players, either. The quarterback has shown he has the talent, so has the running back and the receivers have a lot of potential. The offensive line needs some work. The team has spent the last two years upgrading the defensive line with top draft talent, the linebackers need to be re-tooled and the secondary has some excellent talent but not very deep.

You add talent at the top of the draft or by spending money on free agents. You can do both, but when you’re talking about a top ten talent, you wind up paying top ten money, and that plus high draft picks will start to cramp your salary cap. And so many times it just seems that top talent that picks up and moves to another team for money falls flat on their new team. Look at all the talent Philadelphia picked up and they have six wins to show for it. I say this because I know the first thing people will do is blame the Glazers for being cheap, and maybe they should have spent more than they did. But it should have been spent on solid, veteran leadership. I really think a lot of the draft picks they’ve made in the last three years were good and will pan out if the team can come together.

When the Bucs were going 10-6 last season, the folks in the front office looked like wonder boys. They were grabbing guys off practice squads, off waivers and in the later rounds of the draft, and were challenging for the playoffs until season’s end.

Now, you look at those same players and understand why they were available. You see receivers and running backs lacking speed. You see linemen lacking muscle. You see linebackers lacking whatever it is that makes a player special.

I think that’s bullshit. You can easily play below your talent level, but it’s nearly impossible to play above it. If these guys did it last year, they have the ability to do it at any time. Strength, speed, quick feet, whatever it was, they had it and it got them ten wins last season. You can say that they had an easier schedule and all the breaks fell their way, but does that really explain what will probably be a six game swing? Maybe the Bucs don’t have top ten talent, but they have adequate talent to win.

What Tampa Bay players force an opposing coordinator to sweat?

The receivers don’t. LeGarrette Blount’s skills are limited to between-the-tackles running. Freeman doesn’t have enough weapons around him to scare you. None of the pass rushers are capable of changing another team’s game plan.

Actual game changers are few and far between. The Bucs don’t have any of them, but neither do a lot of teams. But Blount’s running makes linebackers nervous, even if it is only “between the tackles” (I’ve never heard this used as a negative before). Adrian Clayborn is becoming a force to be reckoned with. If Gerald McCoy could stay healthy, he’d be causing some trouble (rushing yards allowed went up by about 50 per game once he got injured). I don’t like the insinuation that this is a team of scrubs and cast-offs like the Bad News Bears.

When you look at it that way, don’t you have a little more sympathy for the coaching staff’s challenges?

Holy shit, dude, they’re not in wheelchairs. “Poor Raheem, all he has to work with is 53 highly-trained professional athletes who spend countless hours in the weight room and on the practice field.” Give me a break.

Nevertheless, it appears likely Morris will pay for this mess with his job. And I can’t argue with that line of thinking.

But the general manager needs to be held responsible, too. It is Mark Dominik‘s job to fill the roster with talent, and there doesn’t seem to be a logjam in that department.

There have been two “logjams” of talent that I can think of: The 60s Packers and the 70s Steelers. Maybe the 90s Cowboys, maybe. Most teams have a few special players, several with above average talent, and then they fill in the gaps with “work hard” type guys. Dominik has done a decent job with the picks that he’s made. And we don’t know the parameters he was given for free agency. I don’t think I can lay this losing at Dominik’s feet.

Regardless, there’s going to be a major change next season and this roster isn’t going to look the same. At the very least, competition for several key positions is going to ramp up sharply. Hopefully talent will improve. But the talent is on this team to win more games than they have.

They Are Who We Think They Are

October 10, 2011 at 12:36pm by Scott   •  11 Comments »

Talib is careful not to refer to fast balls as 'bullets'.
I’ve been sitting here for a few minutes trying to put into words exactly what I witnessed yesterday. I imagine it’s not unlike when police are getting statements from witnesses to a horrific crime. “Take your time, just tell me everything you saw on the night in question.” “I.. I can’t. It’s too horrible!”

I’m trying to remember a worse game by Josh Freeman, but I can’t right now. Two picks plus two or three more that should have been picked, staring down receivers, poor decision making… all things that we have come to NOT expect from him. It’s only his second full year of starting and maybe we built him up too much last year after it seemed like he could do no wrong. But the 49ers knew how to get to him and how to confuse him and they did.

If someone had told me that Alex Smith would have TRIPLE the passer rating of Freeman, I would have slapped them and challenged them to a duel. Smith only completed eleven passes, but three of them were for touchdowns. And he’s only been working with Jim Harbaugh for a few months.

Someone else having a bad follow-up to a great 2010 is Mike Williams. His illegal motion wiped out a catch to Preston Parker, he dropped passes, missed blocks and fumbled the ball after getting nailed by Dashon Goldson in the third quarter. Williams has struggled to get open all season so far. Is it just because there is tape out on him now or is the sophomore slump a real thing?

Arrelious Benn had a good game — maybe the best game of any Buccaneer yesterday. His run after the catch ability is incredible.

Kellen Winslow also had a good game for the Bucs. So that’s two. I will probably not be able to come up with any more.

Did anyone else notice that both times Freeman targeted Micheal Spurlock, bad shit happened?

I wouldn’t have thought Aldon Smith would get to Freeman after spinning around Donald Penn. I didn’t think it was possible to spin around Donald Penn.

I love Ronde Barber. I do. But matching him one on one against Vernon Davis is suicide. Davis is just too fast and too good an athlete to assign him to Barber.

Aqib Talib dropped another interception yesterday.

And after having a phenomenal game against the Colts, the defensive line struggled agains the 49ers all day. No sacks, one QB pressure (by Adrian Clayborn). The Bucs didn’t seem to know what to do with the three tight end set the 49ers kept using.

Frank Gore got the ball 20 times for 125 yards. They kept feeding him the ball and the Bucs defense couldn’t stop him. LeGarrette Blount got the ball ten times for 34 yards. I realize he got hurt and had to leave the game, but it still seems like they’re not giving him the ball enough. And if Blount can’t play next week, who will replace him? Earnest Graham? Does he have it in him to take over like he did a few years go? Neither Kregg Lumpkin or Allen Bradford flashed much when they were given the chance. Without Blount, no one is going to respect the run game and Freeman may actually get worse.

I drank a lot of the Bucs Kool Aid last year when they went 10-6 and barely missed the playoffs. Other folks were talking about the easy schedule and how much harder this year was going to be. I was one of the ones that dismissed that talk. It turns out they may have been right. The Bucs can pull it together to beat a bad team, but they aren’t good enough to beat the good ones. Detroit and San Francisco are a combined 8-1 right now. Indy, Minnesota and Atlanta are 3-12. They beat the teams they’re supposed to and they lose to the team they’re supposed to. As Bill Parcells would say, they are what their record says they are. It’s Raheem Morris‘s job to get them to play beyond this level.

Sapp Likes To Talk

August 11, 2011 at 10:16am by Scott   •  9 Comments »

Leave it to Fennelly to always be chewing on something.
The big story yesterday was that Warren Sapp visited One Buc for a piece on NFL Network that will air… I don’t know. Sometime soon, I would guess. What am I, your TV Guide?

But Sapp loves an audience, so he held court after practice with the local beat writers and answered questions for about 30 minutes. The entire transcript is on Pewter Report right here (one of the things I love about PR is that they transcribe entire interviews so you get the context). Check out the actual page — HUGE paragraphs of Sapp answering very basic questions. The response to “How ya doin'” could take ten minutes. Even when the reporter phrases a question specifically to get a yes or no answer, Sapp is off to the mouth-races. Here are some highlights in case you don’t want to read through all that.

“Other than that, the kid – [defensive end Adrian] ClaybornDonald Penn came up to me and said, ‘Man, I’ve never worked this hard!’ I said, ‘It’s about time your fat, lazy rump gets some work done around here!’ He said, ‘You know how it is. I didn’t have anybody.’ I told him, ‘I know and right now, big boy, you’ve got yourself something.’ He said, ‘I’ve got to go at it. We’re going at it every day.’”

The thing I take from that is not how well Clayborn is doing but that Penn evidently did not respect Greg White. The fact that a rookie who came off the draft with injury concerns is already giving Penn more of a challenge than White ever did reveals a lot about why the Bucs had the lowest sack totals in the league.

“They have a sign up on the wall that says the three most dangerous words: ‘I got it.’ Those are the worst three words. They are the worst three words that can come out of your mouth as a football player – ‘I got it.’”

The three worst words? They don’t seem so bad. “I’ve got tuberculosis” or “You’re on fire” or “Wanna fuck later?” are all probably words players would like to hear on the field less than “I got it”.

What are your impressions of LeGarrette Blount?
“You ever did him like this? [pushing his fingers in a reporter’s chest]. He’s just thick. Just thick. It just doesn’t make any sense they made a man like that. Man, running backs shouldn’t be looking like that. That’s just not right.”

I’ve got some more words I don’t want to hear on the football field: “You ever did him like this?”

Do you think the new rules put in place to protect offensive players will have an impact on the game?
“I’m really worried about the fundamentals of tackling. The last couple years not a lot of people had technique.”

This paragraph is an astute observation by Sapp about tackling. Players adapted their tackling technique for maximum visual impact so they could get on highlight reels. Now that going for the head and launching for a killshot are illegal, no one knows how to tackle anymore because the fundamentals aren’t taught in practice.

“When I was young I didn’t have many sacks. I remember my rookie year being grabbed and looking back at the referee and saying ‘He’s holding me.’ He’s like, ‘Grow up.’”

Awesome. There’s a lot of good stuff in there if you’re willing to accept that any question will somehow come back to Sapp.

Some Things I Heard Over The Weekend

August 01, 2011 at 10:57am by Scott   •  1 Comment »

If Lumpkin impressed during camp, I'll forgive him for going to Georgia.

That thing I said the other day about Cody Grimm being completely healed from his broken leg? Yeah, not so much. Yesterday, Josh Freeman fired a flea clicker over Grimm to Dezmon Briscoe for a touchdown and there was no way Grimm could catch him. Later, Grimm admitted that he’s still not 100%. This is going to leave some room for Corey Lynch, Ahmad Black or Larry Asante to make a statement that they should start on opening day.

Briscoe looks smooth and fast, picking up right where he left off last season.

With Kareem Huggins out of the picture and Cadillac Williams still unsigned, Kregg Lumpkin is making a play for one of the RB spots. LeGarrette Blount, Allen Bradford and Lumpkin at HB with Erik Lorig and Earnest Graham at FB this season?

Lumpkin is willing to do whatever he has to do, including pass-blocking.

Lumpkin already has one of the hardest parts of the job down. He says he’s not afraid at all to stick his head into a pass rusher’s gut and throw a block for his quarterback.

“No, I’m not afraid at all,” said Lumpkin, who learned a lot about playing the third-down role from Williams last year. “He taught me how to read the defense, how to run certain routes, how to make a (tackler) miss you.”

Da’Quan Bowers is clearly outperforming Kyle Moore for the left end spot. And Moore isn’t doing badly — Bowers is just that fast.

Adrian Clayborn looks good, too, but not as far ahead as Bowers. Clayborn was stonewalled by Donald Penn on 1-on-1s.

Roy Miller easily starts in front of Brian Price at this point. Price is overweight and still not 100%.

Tyrone McKenzie has taken over the linebacker leadership role. The coaches want to give Mason Foster every opportunity, but McKenzie may simply not allow it to happen for him this season. McKenzie is staking his claim.

Guess who made an interception. Nick Reveiz. Guess who he picked off. Not one of the backups — Freeman.

To fill in for Luke Stocker‘s absence, the Bucs signed rookie free agent Jose Cruz out of Syracuse. It’s not a threat to Stocker’s job (I mean, how could it be?), but it seems like they already had enough tight ends with Nathan Overbay, Ryan Purvis and Daniel Fells on the roster.

The more interesting part of that story is that the team cut Aaron Feld, a dedicated long snapper, to make room for a sixth tight end. I looked at the Bucs’ roster and they still have Andrew Economos (who isn’t going to be ready for the season) and a rookie named Christian Yount out of UCLA as long snappers as well.

The Bucs will be in pads for the first time this evening.