OTAs: Day 1
Some random observations from Day 1 of full-squad offseason workouts:
For one, it seems the new members of the coaching staff are already making a difference. Defensive line coach Larry Coyer got nice reviews from Kevin Carter and Patrick Chukwurah, who stressed that Coyer's years of experience will help immediately. Coyer seems to command the respect that players didn't profess for Jethro Franklin, who was fired in January. Coyer is a driven coach who players say demands a lot. Sounds like he'll fit in nicely with defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
Defensive backs coach Raheem Morris, who returns to the organization after working at Kansas State last season, was back in his typical fiery form on Tuesday. It was easy to see why he was missed. He brings an attitude of accountability that seemed to be lacking under Greg Burns, who also was fired in January. That should be a key for safeties Jermaine Phillips and Will Allen, who arguably regressed last season.
The pair still has a key supporter in Morris. "When I left in '05, those safeties we liked a lot," he said. But after a down year, they'll have to come back strong. "We teach mental toughness here," Morris said. "If these guys aren't mentally tough enough to put that behind them and go do it again, they've got their own problems."
Morris said players will benefit from the familiarity that he will bring. Until 2005, Morris was the assistant defensive backs coach under former position coach Mike Tomlin, who of course is now coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Morris said communication has improved and added he has met less resistance than Burns, who Morris seemed to indicate didn't always see eye to eye with the members of his unit.
And new linebackers coach Gus Bradley -- who must fill Joe Barry's big shoes -- is an enthusiastic coach who won't bring drastic change to the unit. Having worked as a defensive assistant last season, he has good command of the Bucs' scheme and that figures to only get better now that he has a bigger role. Barry was a big loss but Bradley seems to have the stuff to be successful in his own rite.
The Bucs have two more workouts this week, and we'll be there to bring you the latest. On tap for the coming days: interviews with LB Derrick Brooks and quarterbacks Chris Simms and Jeff Garcia.