Random observations from Tampa Bay Buccaneers' lockout workouts
The Bucs are diligently conducting player-only workouts as the NFL’s lockout continues after more than two months. The workouts are hardly a replacement for what players normally would be doing with their coaches this time of year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t gain something from having watched a few of the sessions.
Here are a few noteworthy observations from the past few days.
The quarterbacks are definitely a unit. All three have been participating, and each is taking it upon himself to continue preparing by doing many of the things they’d normally be doing. That includes studying film of both last season’s and this season’s opponents while trying to perfect some of the more common throws in the Bucs’ playbook.
There is a real emphasis on leadership in this unit, even though Josh Freeman
, Josh Johnson and Rudy Carpenter are all 25 or younger.
Sammie Stroughter never really could get going last season, one year after he had a strong rookie campaign He had 24 receptions in 2010, but because of nagging injuries -- and other contributors at receiver -- he caught just nine balls in the final nine games of the season.
But Stroughter has been working out during these practices, and he looks ready to make his presence felt again. Yes, these are merely passing drills against air, but don’t count out Stroughter this fall. He’s still a great option in the slot because he’s so adept at getting open against zone coverages. If Stroughter bounces back, the Bucs will have yet another weapon in what is becoming a very deep receiving corps.
To that end, Preston Parker has been an attendee, too, and he'll have something to say about the final lineup of receivers. And as you probably recall, I explained earlier this week how Arrelious Benn is coming along nicely, too.
Don’t get caught up with the numbers. One day this week, there were about two dozen players participating, but the attendance varies wildly from day to day. That’s mainly because players have, you know, lives. Even if the Bucs were in OTAs, they’d only be doing those three days a week, tops, and there are only a total of 14 sessions (plus a three-day minicamp). It’s not as if players should be expected to conduct football-related activities every day of the year.
Another thing to consider is this: Many players on the roster don’t have permanent residences in Tampa. And with the lockout creating great uncertainty, young players who aren’t highly-paid have been reluctant to sign leases locally during the offseason because they don’t know when they’ll be back to work and drawing paychecks. Maintaining a residence in their home city while also juggling a rental in Tampa Bay can get pricey, even if you do make a few hundred thousand dollars.
So, for some guys, their lack of attendance is attributable, in part, to logistics. The important thing is that guys work out in some fashion -- wherever they are.
NOT MUCH DEFENSE – YET
There workouts have been dominated by offensive players, largely because Freeman and the other quarterbacks have been spearheading them. But Freeman said as the summer goes on, there are plans to incorporate some defensive players, which will allow for more realistic drills.
There already have been a number of linebackers, however. Quincy Black, Dakoda Watson and Tyrone McKenzie have been around. Black even playfully took on the role of cornerback in a passing drill earlier this week.
While he wasn’t there this week, Freeman said free agent running back Cadillac Williams has been attending some workouts, which probably tells you something about his feelings toward the Bucs.
He likes his teammates and is comfortable here. Whether that means anything when it comes to the likelihood of him sticking around is anyone’s guess, but it can’t be a bad thing, right?