Koetter: Bucs didn't have 100 percent attendance on first day
Monday marked the first day of the Bucs' offseason conditioning, the start of 10-week program split into phases with OTAs and minicamps later in summer, but technically attendance isn't required of all players until a mandatory minicamp on June 13-16.
First-year coach Dirk Koetter, asked if he had 100 percent in attendance for his first day of conditioning, admitted he didn't, but didn't seem too upset about that either.
"We had a really good turnout for Day 1," he said. "We were not at 100 percent, but we were pretty darn close. We had someone missing, we knew they were going to be missing today, but very fired up about the guys that were here and that came with a great attitude, ready to work."
The Bucs will continue their conditioning work in the next two weeks, with access to the media again on thursday and next Wednesday as well. The Bucs will have their first minicamp in two weeks -- April 26-28, wrapping up on the first day of the NFL draft. The following weekend -- May 6-8 -- the team will have its rookie minicamp, which can also include younger players who weren't on the team's 53-man roster last season.
INVOLVED WITH DRAFT: Koetter and his assistants are involved in the Bucs' draft decisions and many have been on the road, personally working out draft prospects on their campus. Koetter said that about half of their day each day is still devoted to the draft, and his coaches are now all back from the road and those evaluations.
"(Coaches') written reports have to be in either today or tomorrow, and the next step is the coaches get together with (general manager) Jason (Licht) and his guys and we watch some film together and we stack the board. Jason stacks the board and we watch him, but the coaches have input on that. I thought it was very, very productive in the part I sat in on last year and I'm looking forward to getting in there. I've watched a lot of tape. Of course, Jason and his guys, that's all they do. That's what's we'll be doing, right up until a couple of days before the draft."
ALL ON BOARD: It's largely procedural, but the Bucs have signed all of their restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, with all five now signed and in position to compete for jobs in training camp. The restricted free agents were S Bradley McDougald and WR Russell Shepard, with DE Jacquies Smith, LB Jeremiah George and LS Andrew DePaola signing as exclusive-rights free agents.
Two players weren't tendered as restricted free agents in FB Jorvoskie Lane and LB Danny Lansanah, making them unrestricted free agents, though neither has signed with another team, more than a month later.
MORE ADJUSTING: Koetter said NFL officials will be at One Buc Place on Tuesday to talk with his coaching staff about rules changes for the upcoming season, including the decision to move touchbacks on kickoffs from the 20- to the 25-yard line.
"There's going to be a lot of discussion about how kickoff teams are going to handle that. That's one of the strategy things that we're tackling right now," he said.
The rule change was designed to incentivize touchbacks to limit the number of returns brought out -- a high risk for concussion and other injuries -- but it could have the opposite effect unintentionally. NFL teams might be tempted to stop kicking it deep to settle for touchbacks and instead aim for high kicks that drop inside the 5-yard line, forcing teams to attempt a return from there.