Bucs' offseason work finally getting underway
Monday has been a long time coming for the Buccaneers.
Since coach Greg Schiano was hired in January and – during the month that followed – assembled his new staff, they’ve been unable to do what they were primarily hired to do: coach.
The NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement greatly restricts offseason activities. But on Monday, players will finally be permitted to have supervised conditioning drills and, at long last, consult with their coaches about football.
So, while quarterback Josh Freeman has been at the team facility often in the past couple of months, he was unable to communicate with offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan about the elements of the team’s new offense. Freeman also was not permitted to throw passes to his receivers, something he and teammates have gone off site to do in the past few weeks. That problem applies to all players, who have been limited to only individual work at the team facility.
But the most important element of Phase 1 of the offseason will not involve anything on a football field. It is, rather, the ability of coaches to meet with players. Coaches can begin teaching the concepts that will be the basis for the offense and defense that will be installed this offseason. The importance of this can't be overstated.
Phase 2 begins in a few weeks and consists of limited on-field work with coaches, while Phase 3 includes full-blown OTA practices and minicamps. But up until now, the inability to do much of anything has frustrated the staff. But noncompliance can result in stiff penalties from the league for violating the CBA.
Just like you, the fan, aren’t clear what roles individual players will have under the new staff, those players also lack even a basic knowledge of their new offense and defense, too.
But Monday, they finally will begin have those critical conversations, marking the start of the Bucs’ effort to get back on track.
(Note: Make sure you stop by on Monday, when we'll be at One Buc Place and expect to hear from Greg Schiano).