Shoulder healthy, Bucs DE Jacquies Smith back at practice
The first practice of Bucs training camp on Thursday morning also brought a sight not seen since the end of last season: Jacquies Smith lining up as a first-team defensive end, having fully recovered from the shoulder surgery that sidelined him the entire offseason.
"It feels good," Smith said of his first day back on the field. "Obviously I missed OTAs and stuff, and I've been missing being out their with the guys and doing my part. It's a great time to be back. The energy level, the vibe, I'm happy to be back."
The Bucs have actively upgraded at defensive end in the offseason, signing veteran Robert Ayers in free agency and using a second-round pick on rookie Noah Spence. Smith, claimed off waivers from the Bills at the start of the 2014 season, has 13.5 sacks in two years with the Bucs and is excited about the higher level of play expected from the pass rush in 2016.
"The sky's the limit. It's very exciting with the new guys, and even our old guys getting better," Smith said. "You get better year by year, add stuff to your game, add stuff to your toolbox. Now we've got new coaches and we're just taking the tutelage we learn from Jay Hayes. I think it's a great time."