Josh Freeman

Posts Tagged ‘luke stocker’

Camp Stuff

August 09, 2013 at 01:32am by Scott   •  11 Comments »

Here’s a couple things happening in camp over the last couple days:

* There is a kicking competition taking place now that Connor Barth is done for the year. The Bucs brought Lawrence Tynes in, which looked like a slam dunk, but Tynes has a tow injury now and is leaving the door open for Derek Dimke, who was an undrafted free agent last year and has never been on an active NFL roster. And Greg Schiano is making it very clear that no one has an edge.

“When we started this competition, Tynes was in front because he was the veteran,” Schiano said. “But I’ve never coached either one of them. This isn’t a book about what’s happened in the past, this is about the Bucs in 2013, and where are we today? That’s what we’ve got to look at. The competition is good, the injury has definitely set Lawrence back, so we’ve got to get him feeling well before we can make a fair judgment.”

In case you want to buy your Dimke jersey now, he is wearing #3 in camp.

* Luke Stocker has been activated from the PUP list and has had limited participation in practice. It would be really cool if he could, you know, do something this year. Or ever. I like the guy, but he is apparently made of paper. And not that thick construction paper kids need extra-sharp scissors to cut through. We’re talking tissue paper, single ply.

* Adrian Clayborn is on the practice field but riding a bike for now.

* Darrelle Revis is slowly progressing in what he’s doing for practice. Now he’s playing against a QB/WR combo and reacting to what he sees. Next they’ll put him in a 7-on-7 drill. It sounds like he’s coming along pretty well and my bet is he will be ready for the first game. Which, for $16-million this season, would be just dandy.

Okay, I’ve been trying to add a photo to this entry for 15 minutes now and it’s just not happening. It’s probably because it’s a photo of a kicker and WordPress knows kickers shouldn’t be any larger than 300px, but I’m not going to scale it down right now.


August 24, 2012 at 02:20pm by Scott   •  6 Comments »


SHIPLEY ON PUNT RETURNS AFTER ALL: If there was any doubt that Greg Schiano reads this blog and then takes time out of his day to personally mock me, it was erased yesterday. First I said last week that all the penalties the Bucs are committing are going to infuriate Schiano, then he declares that penalties aren’t so bad and he wants to have at least a few. Now, after my comment that Jordan Shipley doesn’t do special teams, we have this:

Look for Shipley to also field some punts, Schiano saying he has been a “natural under the ball in punt returns.” That’s where he might be able to help the team, which would not mind pushing Preston Parker because of his tendency to mishandle kicks.

Shipley said he would relish the chance to return punts.

Am I implying that just because I see this pattern that it’s all about me? No, I’m saying it outright. It’s all about me.

RETURNING FROM INJURY: Some of the players who were held out of or injured in previous games/practices should see some playing time tonight. LeGarrette Blount went down against the Titans and it looked bad for a minute, but it was just a strain on his groin and he’s okay now. Eric Wright left Tuesday’s practice with an unspecified injury (this guy’s medical file is guarded by the NSA), but he’s back. And Luke Stocker sat out most of this week’s practices with an acute case of awesomeness. He will also play tonight.

COUNTDOWN TO STUPIDITY: Greg Schiano installed a clock in the Bucs’ locker room that is counting down the time until the regular season kicks off — by tenths of a second. Which is fine. It’s better than toting around a rock or an ax or a ceramic orange dog (come on, Dooley…). But Tom Jones used it as a jumping off point to start predicting doom and gloom before Schiano has coached even one regular season snap.

The clock also underscores how much information, conditioning and personality Schiano is trying to cram into his team in such a short period of time. You can’t help but wonder if it’s all too much. You can’t help but wonder if at some point, the team might start stuttering, sputtering and smoking and suffer some sort of system overload.

Because God knows last year worked out so well with the coach acting more like a senior RA and enforcing those grueling none-a-days. With the new CBA, it’s virtually impossible to overwork football players. I think the team gets fined now if they don’t have an open bar on the field. But without any real evidence, Jones just asks a series of ominous questions designed to scare us and provide evidence later on that he is a visionary because he predicted a rookie head coach wouldn’t win the Super Bowl.

The clock is ticking. Many questions remain unanswered, including the scariest of all:

What if it doesn’t work?

I dunno, maybe the Bucs fire Schiano and hire someone else, the same thing six or seven teams do every single year? Sounds about right. And then we all go on with our lives? Schiano isn’t fighting Satan’s Apocalyptic Army of the Damned or the Legion of Doom. No one’s going to die if his methods fail.

I also like how the article basically puts Schiano on the hot seat in his rookie year. It didn’t take long for the hate to kick into high gear this season.

Bucs Win First Game Since Last October

August 13, 2012 at 11:56am by Scott   •  4 Comments »


I finally got a chance to see the Miami preseason game last night since NFL Network insisted on waiting until yesterday morning at 7:00AM to air it for the first time. Add to that the fact that every single write-up about this game focused on the Dolphins with barely any analysis of Tampa Bay and my theory that there is an anti-Buccaneer conspiracy within the NFL starts to make sense. Someone call Jesse Ventura and tell him to get on this.

* Josh Freeman looked pretty sharp, but Dan Orlovsky was on fire. Every pass was on target and his 100% completion rate showed it. He’s really one of the only guys I have to make fun of this season, so if he keeps doing well this preseason, it’s going to really screw me over.

* Greg Schiano and Mike Sullivan were making a point with his play calling. This is a running team and they run when they feel like it. The Bucs ran the ball 34 times and passed it 24. They only got 2.5 yards per carry, but a lot of that had to do with the poor run blocking in the second half. Michael Smith had nowhere to go. But when the starters were in (sans Donald Penn), LeGarrette Blount looked great. One time he was even split out at receiver. Some backups came in and Doug Martin also looked good with a sweet ten yard run showing off his balance.

* Speaking of Michael Smith, his kickoff return for 74 yards was a great display of vision and body control, but I thought he was supposed to be the fastest guy on the field. He got chased down from behind. Here’s a tip: If your greatest asset is your speed, you are not allowed to get chased down from behind.

* Luke Stocker‘s one catch was super sweet and was a great example of the kind of play he can make when they need him to. Between two defenders and behind him, Stocker still snagged it. Go Vols.

* Tiquan Underwood caught all three passes thrown his way, including one that never should have been thrown. The Miami safety should have had that pick, but Underwood kept his eyes on the ball and came down with it when everything shook out. Awesome concentration and hands.

* In the middle of my typing this review, the Bucs defense was called for another offsides penalty. Schiano isn’t going to stand for penalties, especially bullshit ones that are totally avoidable like offsides. Some dudes are going to be running gassers today so they can remember to wait until the ball is snapped.

* Another avoidable penalty: Preston Parker‘s personal foul. It was a scrap with a Dolphins player and might have been overlooked if he hadn’t muffed that punt. Stars can get into fights and get flagged and get away with it. Guys who drop footballs can’t.

* I think the Bucs had more big plays during this game than they did in the last ten games last season.

* Lavonte David is fast. Did you see him make that tackle on punt coverage? He got down there before the ball did.

* Adrian Clayborn is so fast off the ball. He didn’t post any stats in the game, but he’s going to be tough to block this season.

* Myron Lewis started the game but looked hesitant and lost. I’ve heard good things about him in camp, but he was invisible during the game. I’m guessing this is his last chance with the Bucs and he may not survive the cut to 53. But at least he’ll have one more chance with the Redskins when Raheem Morris convinces them to pick him up.

* But Anthony Gaitor looked great. Passes broken up, solid tackling, tight coverage. It’s not even a contest right now if the decision is between Lewis and Gaitor.

* Mason Foster had three tackles and played for less than a quarter. There is a new dedication to stopping the run and it looks like Foster is going to be leading that charge.

I thought it was an impressive showing and a great indication of the direction the Bucs are headed. Your impressions in the comments.

REAR ENTRIES: Getting It Together

June 25, 2012 at 09:50am by Scott   •  1 Comment »

Rear Entry 131

JAWS ON FREEMAN: Ron Jaworski is one of the better analysts on television. He provides a knowledgable perspective from a player’s point of view but also knows how to speak, a rare combination. And he’s one of the only guys who can stand up to Jon Gruden‘s energy without getting sucked into his chaos, kind of like Pat Summerall did with John Madden, but without as much scotch. All that said, fuck Ron Jaworski.

“In 2011, Freeman threw four red-zone interceptions,” Jaws noted. “No quarterback threw more. It was part of a season in which Freeman took a step back. He struggled all year with his decision making. He tried to make too many throws that were not there.

“In addition, his ball location was not precise enough. Throws that you have to make became turnovers. Freeman has a lot of work to do. … I saw a lot of deficiencies that plague young quarterbacks. Poor decision making, lack of confidence. The physical talent is there, the consistency is not.”

All of this is 100% true. That’s not my problem with it. My problem is that it’s all common knowledge and was blindingly evident to anyone watching the games. It’s why every article about Josh Freeman‘s future has the question of “Which Josh Freeman will we see?” When I heard Jaws had studied tape on Freeman, I expected to hear how he needs to alter his footwork to get a wider base or how his throwing motion needs to be at a different angle or how he needs to be able to use his eyes better to manipulate defensive backs or SOMETHING more precise than “poor decision making”. Fans who only get their game reports from the braille edition of the newspaper could have told me that.

STOCKER NEEDS TO PROVE HIMSELF: Luke Stocker started every game at Tennessee from late into his freshman year until he graduated, was never injured and was always dependable. So it’s a little weird to hear him slapped with the “fragile” tag now that he’s a Buccaneer, but facts are facts and the fact is that he has either been out or played below 100% since his plane touched down in Tampa for the first time. And that shit’s gotta stop.

“His role will be defined when training camp starts, but I think with Luke right now, the focus is just to get better and learn the offense and define his role,” tight ends coach Brian Angelichio said. “Your role can always change for better or worse. He’s in the process now of improving on the fundamentals and techniques and doing what it takes to become a complete tight end in this league.”

The translation there is that Stocker will be competing with lesser tight ends because he’s basically starting at the ground level. I hear good things about both Zach Pianalto and Chase Coffman, both of whom could easily take snaps from Stocker if he doesn’t get his ass in gear this season. Stocker is already a willing blocker, but to secure his place on the team he needs to be an excellent blocker. He’s already got great hands and knows how to get open, so if he can become that rare “complete” tight end everyone keeps saying they want, he’ll secure his spot on the team for a long time.

In other news, the Bucs have a tight ends coach named Angelichio. I could not have told you that for any amount of money ten minutes ago.

ROSTER MOVE: The Bucs signed Mike Ingersoll, an offensive tackle, and released LB Antonio Leak. Ingersoll is a second-year player out of UNC (who played under Butch Davis) who came into the league as an undrafted free agent. He was on the Bucs’ practice squad for a while last season.

I first saw this roster move on the NFL Network news ticker during prime time. That’s how slow late-June is for real news.

A Mentor For Stocker

May 30, 2012 at 01:15pm by Scott   •  3 Comments »

Stocker drops his shoulder and pisses off Brent Grimes.
Dallas Clark may have had some injury issues and his stats may not have been the best over the last couple years, but Bill Polian, who was his general manager for his entire career to date, gives him a ringing endorsement as a team player.

“Will there be a downgrade in his hands, which were superior?” said Bill Polian. “Even if there is a bit of that, he is one of the best team players I’ve seen in football. There is nothing he won’t do to help the team get better — regardless how it affects his stats or his role. He is absolutely unselfish.”

What this says to me is that the Bucs are pretty much going all-in on Luke Stocker, which I think is a fan-fucking-tastic idea. Of course I do. Clark and Stocker are similar in a lot of ways, although I’d say Stocker is a superior blocker and Clark has/had superior hands and is/was probably a step faster. Although Kellen Winslow was a good player for young guys to look up to in terms of toughness and reliability on the field, he’s not what I would call a “mentor”. He’s kind of his own guy and does his own thing. If Stocker is the future of the tight end position for the Bucs, you probably couldn’t pick a better guy for him to learn from than Clark.

Speaking of Stocker, the Bucs published a story about him during last week’s OTAs. He talks about how his injury during the first day of camp set him back and how he was never at full strength. It’s a good look at how he’s going to approach his second year. Having watched Stocker for years, I can tell you he was a quarterback’s best friend. Good blocker on the edge and always able to get separation and provide a target for a QB in trouble. I’m looking forward to watching him this season.

REAR ENTRIES: Selling England By The Pound

October 19, 2011 at 10:56am by Scott   •  9 Comments »

Rear Entry 97

PRACTICE UPDATE: Gerald McCoy, Luke Stocker and Sammie Stroughter are back at practice today. Jeff Faine, LeGarrette Blount and Michael Bennett are out. Bennett is said to have an undisclosed injury. That’s gotta be code for something… something you can only get in England. It probably has to do with his teeth.

GET USED TO ENGLAND: Roger Goodell isn’t going to back off the British invasion and actually may be expanding it very soon.

At last week’s owners meetings in Houston, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league wants to expand its commitment toward playing regular-season games in the United Kingdom.

Goodell said two games may be played annually in England as early as next season…

In the article, Goodell claims that “a number” of teams want to give up a home game in order to host one in England. Keep in mind 1 is a number. I can’t imagine it’s too many unless the financial incentives the league is giving up to do it are huge. But the Bucs are building goodwill in England and the hope may be that that goodwill will mitigate some of the animosity for the Glazers over Manchester United. I just made all that up, but it makes at least a little sense. So as long as the Bucs aren’t losing any money on the deal and the NFL is going to host two games in England, look for them to probably make an annual appearance over there.

BRITISH FOOD SUCKS: All over America, you see fine French, Italian, Mediterranean, Chinese, hell, even Indian restaurants serving gourmet food that their country is known for. You know what you never see? British restaurants. You see pubs, but no one goes to them for the food — it’s for the warm, dark beer, which is a different blog entry. Why don’t you see British restaurants? Because the owners would go so broke so fast that they would literally starve to death in a restaurant full of food.

Remember that month in 1988 when she was attractive? Good times.

Adrian Clayborn partook of some traditional fish and chips shortly after arriving here with the Bucs late Monday. All his dip into one of England’s most famous dishes did, though, was ruin his evening.

“It didn’t sit well with me at all,” Clayborn said Tuesday after suffering through a restless Monday night. “It messed up my stomach bad. It won’t keep me from playing, though.”

Clayborn’s stomach is usually in Florida, home to some of the best seafood in the world, so it’s no surprise it revolted when that batter-fried atrocity plopped down into it. I hear they don’t even use fat in the fryers in England, but instead the shit that comes out of Madonna’s pores from working out 18 hours a day.

So The Lions Are Better Than The Bucs Now

September 12, 2011 at 11:49am by Scott   •  14 Comments »

Can't let the post go by without a little patriotism.
This entry is a little late in coming, partly because I’m having a hard time sorting out all the things that went wrong with this game. There’s just SO much that sucked. You know how you’ll see something that sucks, and you’ll go “Holy shit, that really sucks!” But then it gets worse and you don’t think it can possibly suck anymore? But then it does and you just stare at it with your mouth agape wondering if you’ve reached the maximum allowable suckitude in the physical universe? But then it continues to suck even more and you consider writing your Master’s thesis on how you just witnessed the breaking of the Universal Suck Limit? Yeah, that was yesterday.

You know what the Bucs missed most of all about this offseason? Live tackling. Did they conduct even one practice this year with live tackling? I don’t think so. And they still didn’t do much of it yesterday. Tackling was sloppy as shit and every time I looked up, the Lions were breaking tackles and juking Bucs out of their jocks. The stat line says the Lions only rushed for 3.6 YPC, which I find unbelievable. I must be thinking of yards after a reception because it seemed like they would have double that the way they were bouncing off tacklers.

Still, the Lions ran the ball 35 times for 126 which is still getting the job done. The Bucs gave LeGarrette Blount the ball five total times. Earnest Graham, their third-down back, got six carries. Three of those came on third or fourth down with one yard to go and Graham missed all three, fumbling one of them away. A lot of that has to do with the blocking of the offensive line, which couldn’t open up any holes for the backs. Still, one yard. A good running back can’t pick and pound his way for one yard without fumbling? Everyone knew the Detroit defensive line was going to be tough, and it seems like the Bucs went in unprepared for what they saw. Pass-protection wasn’t bad but those pockets seemed to get smaller and smaller.

Calvin Johnson is a fucking monster and the match-up between him and Aqib Talib was one-sided. Talib got his pick six off of Will Heller, a guy he has no problem guarding. But against Johnson, forget about it — at least for now. Johnson had six catches for 88 yards and 2 TDs. He was such a no brainer on draft day that even Matt Millen took him.

The Bucs spent the last two drafts on defensive linemen. Yesterday, the Bucs got zero sacks and zero quarterback hurries. Chew on that for a couple minutes.

On a happy note, did it seem like Sean Jones kind of came out of nowhere yesterday? I saw more of him in the Lions game than I remember seeing all last season. He led the team with eight tackles and one of them looked like he almost killed the dude. He did miss on that long TD by Johnson, though. He was supposed to provide help over the top but was out of position.

I suppose we have to get to him eventually. Josh Freeman did not look sharp. He was constantly scrambling when it didn’t seem necessary, he was off target on several throws (including an overthrow to Luke Stocker which would have been a touchdown) and looked more like a rookie than he has in a long time. He looked like he found his groove in the last two minutes of the first half, but the Lions were giving up a lot of those passes up the middle to keep the clock running. So Freeman found a rhythm against a Cover 2 shell — everything else seemed to give him a hard time. I thought maybe he had shaved his head again, but evidently not.

Freeman's wildcard fro.

It’s not to championship length, but it’s adequately funky enough to beat the Lions. I’d say it’s wildcard hair right now.

Highlights: Kellen Winslow, Sammie Stroughter, Mike Williams‘s ridiculous touchdown, Quincy Black in the first half. There was some good stuff to take from the game, but overall it was a poor first showing and does not make me optimistic for the rest of the season. The good news is that the rest of the NFC South lost, so we’re still tied for first!


August 23, 2011 at 11:26am by Scott   •  7 Comments »

Rear Entry 91

STOCKER BACK: Luke Stocker was back on the field on Sunday in his first padded practice since injuring his hip, which I believe makes it his first padded practice ever as a Buccaneer.

“I think they expect me to come in and be the big, in-line, traditional tight end and be a big blocker,” Stocker said. “We have Kellen, who’s a guy they move around and do a lot of things with. I’m going to be more of the traditional guy who does the things tight ends normally do.”

Beautiful, eloquent words.

Already the Bucs are seeing impact from the rookie. The first impressions after he rejoined practice over the weekend were positive. And it seems Stocker’s blocking prowess has even motivated Winslow.

“I’m really fired up about Luke,” Raheem Morris said. “He certainly looked different in our running game. In our run period, he made Kellen look like a good blocker.”

Wait a second. “He made Kellen look like a good blocker” doesn’t sound positive. Isn’t that like saying “He made Shaq look like a good free thrower”? I’m going to go ahead and assume Raheem mixed his words up and Stocker is blocking the shit out of everyone he touches.

FOSTER STILL WAITING FOR FINE: Mason Foster laid a sweet hit on Chad Johnson during the Pats game — it may have been the highlight of the game — but it was a little helmet-to-helmety and may wind up costing Foster some cash. Fines haven’t been levied yet, but his was being speculated as soon as it happened.

“I was running Cover 2, middle run through, staying between the hashes,” Foster said of the jarring first-down collision. “I flipped one way and didn’t see a threat. I flipped back, broke on the ball and ran into it. It’s a good play, but they threw a flag and kind of put a dark cloud over it. It looked good to me, but this is my first year in the NFL, so I don’t know what they’re calling. Either way, I’ve got to learn from it.”

Foster has the right attitude about it. He can’t change the way he plays, he just has to make a couple minor tweaks. Even Johnson said it was a good, clean hit and even offered to pay Foster’s fine, although that’s not allowed by NFL rules. The league may still decide not to fine him if it’s a borderline case. Devin Holland‘s hit on Danny Woodhead, however, will definitely get his fined.

Fully helmet-to-helmet, no question. Plus, the league can’t have practice squad players going around roughing up all their scrappy white guys. Those guys pay for themselves ten times over in jersey sales in the deep south and Boston.

WHITE TO VIKINGS: As long as I’m covering players who have changed their names for marketing purposes, I might as well tell you that Greg White signed with the Vikings yesterday.

More than anything, he gives the Vikings’ defensive line depth and a veteran presence at the position who can help spur the young defensive ends’ development.

No one has more young defensive ends than the Bucs, and if White was a mentor in that way, I’m pretty sure the Bucs would have found some cash to keep him around. To his credit, White left Tampa with class.

Vikings! Finally Stylez has came back to Minnesota! An opportunity to be great! Thanks MN! Buc nation it was was a pleasure.

The Yahoo! article is very complimentary of White and talks about his durability and his PFF rankings among all defensive ends (#20). But yeah, I’ll take Adrian Clayborn all day over White.

Things I Saw During The Chiefs Game

August 15, 2011 at 10:24am by Scott   •  4 Comments »

Your leading rusher Friday night.
No one looked really good rushing, except Josh Johnson who led the team. LeGarrette Blount ran tough but didn’t have any breakaways and Allen Bradford looked like shit, although he didn’t benefit from a first-team blocking unit. Out of the running backs, Kregg Lumpkin looked the most consistent and even Armando Allen had a 16-yard run. Blount is the kind of runner that gets better as the game rolls on, so I’m not too worried about it, but the Bucs may be leaning on Earnest Graham as the backup halfback if no one else really steps up.

The entire starting offensive line looked excellent. Davin Joseph was particularly aggressive for a preseason game. Ted Larsen has nothing to worry about; he’s locked in as the starting left guard again. The backup lines, though, look rough. Two penalties each on Demar Dotson and James Lee have to be discouraging for the coaches, and Brandon Carter allowed a sack on Johnson by pretty much standing there and looking confused. Carter can’t beat out Jeremy Zuttah and it isn’t looking good for him against Derek Hardman, either.

Speaking of Johnson, I said something on Twitter that he was looking inconsistent. I took it back a couple plays later when he started slinging bullets exactly where they needed to be, and he looked awesome the rest of his time behind center. But I wanted to say it here for good measure: Josh Johnson was really sharp.

Dezmon Briscoe could start for any team in the league, and he’s the Bucs’ #3. Everyone should feel really good about their depth at receiver. If Arrelious Benn hurts anything else, Briscoe is stepping in and not giving the position back. Seriously, Benn better watch out.

If you’re a relative of Devin Holland and you still haven’t gone to the Bucs’ web site to see his name on the official roster, you better do it soon. Holland arrived a full second into Zeke Markshausen before the ball did. That’s the same kind of shot that almost killed Clifton Smith a couple years ago, but even that asshole (I forget his name now) only arrived a fraction of a second too soon. Maybe one of the dumbest special teams mistakes I’ve ever seen.

Not bad play from the backup tight ends. Kellen Winslow obviously has nothing to worry about, but Luke Stocker‘s injury may push him to third string if he can’t get on the field soon. And that would be tragic for all of us. TRAGIC, I SAY.

Jock Sanders had punt returns of 21 and 13 yards. Preston Parker‘s longest was 10.

Speaking of special teams, the Chiefs had three punt returns for a total of -1 yard and two fair catches. Now that’s a punt return unit.

Kyle Moore is currently the third-string left defensive end, but he was able to get two sacks on Kansas City while Da’Quan Bowers didn’t get any. Now that I think about it, Bowers didn’t make the stat sheet. Starter Michael Bennett got credit for a half-sack that he shared with Dekoda Watson for a safety. Bowers has looked impressive in camp, but the coaches obviously didn’t think he was ready for the starting job and it looks like they were proven right, at least for one game.

Was Anthony Gaitor all over the place, or was I just imagining it? He had a sack and a pass defensed and a tackle for loss. Oh, and that hit by Ronde Barber to start the game? Sweeeeet.

Corey Lynch came so close to blocking another punt. This kid has a gift for it.

Mason Foster didn’t show up much on the stat sheet, but that kid can fly. Even though he wasn’t the one making the tackles, I saw him pressure the quarterback and rerouting runners into other guys. He looked really fast.

I tried to get the chat going but I wasn’t having much luck doing it on my phone, so I mostly used Twitter during the game. I don’t have a TV where the computer is, don’t have a working laptop and still haven’t invested in an iPad yet (the donate button is on the left, by the way), so for now you can follow me on Twitter during the games or poke your head out the window for my super-secret smoke signals.

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.