Some nuggets from this week's OTAs
I've been pretty busy the last couple days considering it's the middle of the summer. Wednesday felt like Jerramy Stevens day and, today, I spent the afternoon writing a Sunday column that will tell you a little more about the Jake Plummer situation.
Now that I finally have a little time to spare, thought you might like to hear a few details about Thursday's practice, which was open to the media (we're permitted to watch roughly one per week).
It was a good day to watch as there was extensive work done in the passing game in both the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 portions. We got to see a lot of emphasis on deep routes, with Luke McCown hooking up with Antonio Bryant for a couple of impressive strikes. I get the feeling that Bryant will be given every opportunity to shine during training camp as coaches appear very intrigued. Also saw rookie Dexter Jackson make at least two nice catches in traffic, which is definitely promising considering his smallish body of work as a receiver at Appalachian State.
One thing I thought was interesting was the number of reps given to McCown. He probably got more snaps (I didn't count, okay) than Jeff Garcia and Brian Griese, though it's hard to know whether that means anything. The Bucs have been sort of staggering their quarterbacks' workloads since there have been so many of them. I kind of expected Griese to get more work because he has been away for awhile and certainly is a strong candidate to get the No. 2 quarterback job, but perhaps that's not a forgone conclusion. Chris Simms, as you know, hasn't been attending voluntary workouts, and Josh Johnson still has some more work to do in the classroom before he gets under center. They're clearly taking their time with the youngster.
Defensively, the Bucs are experimenting with all kinds of combinations along the defensive line. I saw everyone from Jimmy Wilkerson to Kevin Carter taking turns at defensive tackle. Whether they'll have a formidable pass rush is hard to say, but they definitely have some real versatility, for as much as that's worth. Both of those guys have been defensive ends most of their careers even if they have spent time on the interior, too. Gaines Adams is firmly entrenched at right end. Greg White, meanwhile, is making a bid to grab the job at left end, though that is far from a done deal.
In the secondary, things should be real interesting come training camp. I felt linebacker was the strength of the defense last year. Now, I'm not so sure that can't be said about the defensive backs. Aqib Talib has star potential, which he showed when he turned in a leaping pass deflection of a McCown deep ball. But Phillip Buchanon and Eugene Wilson are getting loads of work, too, and they're veterans with a mental edge on the rookie. At safety, Sabby Piscitelli is bringing excitement, though I don't know whether there's a place for him given the play of Jermaine Phillips and Tanard Jackson.
Hope this little peek gives you a sense for what's going on with some of your favorite players with less than two months remaining before the start of training camp (and the end of my life as I know it :) .