Defense wins the day
It's Day 2 of minicamp, and the Bucs made a detour from their training facility to nearby Raymond James Stadium for this morning's workout. (See audio slideshow)
The Bucs typically spend at least one day of minicamp at the stadium in order to give the new acquisitions a chance to get familiarized with their new home field.
"We have a lot of new guys who are getting acclimated to the surroundings," coach Jon Gruden said. "This is where it all happens. This is a good way to kind of wind down -- right here at home."
As for what actually happened on the field, most of Wednesday's highlights came on the defensive end. The defense had the upper hand throughout, as even Gruden admitted. It didn't help that the execution wasn't always solid from the offense, with quarterbacks Jeff Garcia and Brian Griese making a handful of errant throws. Griese was picked off by Cato June on one redzone play, getting his fingers underneath the ball just as it was about to hit the turf. Had it have been an actual game, June likely would have scored on the play.
Some of this might sound disconcerting, but Gruden actually didn't mind it.
"I'm happy," he said. "Sometimes the defense executes, too. The two-minute drive on offense was good. The second time around, the defense stopped us. There were some good patterns and plays in the redzone on both sides. I don't expect it to be a lopsided butt-kicking -- ever. I like the defense to dominate here and there."
Not everyone on offense was out of sorts. We continue to see fullback B.J. Askew utilized in the passing game, which has been a long time coming. He told me earlier this week he has been politicking for more passes to be thrown his way, and Gruden seems to be coming around. The coach said Askew is likely to see the ball more this season and has told the player as much.
You can read more about that in tomorrow's St. Petersburg Times. Also in Thursday's paper, look for some details on Ike Hilliard and his thoughts on the receiving corps. You'll learn he's not nearly as concerned about the talent level as some observers are.
One last note: the Bucs will take a break from the meeting room this afternoon and head to a local bowling alley for some camaraderie. It's a mandatory event for players, many of whom, Gruden said, haven't had much opportunity to get to know one another. Of course, they'll get more than enough of each other when they're confined to training camp for three weeks. Check out video of the Bucs bowling (and, oddly enough, eating) by clicking here.