Sunday, January 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After Koetter criticism, Bucs increase energy at practice

TAMPA — After a lackluster performance at their first practice with the Jaguars, the Bucs players got an earful from coach Dirk Koetter on Wednesday. It must have worked. The energy and their execution picked up Thursday.

"Coach talked to us and said we've got to get our energy up," WR Mike Evans said.

In a two-minute offensive period Thursday, Jameis Winston completed all five passes to as many receivers, the final one to Adam Humphries for a touchdown.

Then the defense won its battle by stopping the Jaguars on two possessions.

"I thought we got really good work," Koetter said. "Now again, I'm only seeing one field until we watch the tape. But we got good two-minute work. We got four drives, two on each side. I thought our team had a much crisper approach than we did (Wednesday) so I'm pleased with that.

"All I saw was those two, two-minute drives, and we had two stops. The best pass coverage is a good pass rush and you see we have a little juice on that pass rush, even with the four man rush. That helps your pass coverage so it was good. Our defense continues to build confidence and happy to see the offense go down there and score."

Koetter downplayed his role in the turnaround Thursday.

"I really didn't have to," he said. "The players knew. When they watched the tape, they knew. Those guys did a good job. Offensively, they knew that wasn't our best effort or right kind of effort, and so it was much better today."

Winston was loud and demonstrative and continued his war of words with LB Telvin Smith, his former teammate at Florida State.

"It's all a part of competitiveness," Winston said. "We've got to get everybody going. We've got to get everybody fired up. The coaches challenged us about having an edge. Being willing to compete hard and I just feel we went out there and did that."

Koetter had refused to make excuses for his team's performance Wednesday. But one possible factor: Bucs players waited more than three hours for their team charter, which had a mechanical problem, to leave Tampa on Tuesday.

BEST DAY FOR ASJ: TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins had his 'best day" of training camp Thursday. During one red zone period, Seferian-Jenkins caught three touchdown passes in traffic.

"He got a lot of balls thrown his way," Koetter said. "Any of the skill guys, the receivers and tight ends, sometimes (it's) luck of the draw; they just don't get very many balls that day. Austin got a lot of balls thrown his way. We actually held Cam (Brate) out of some reps today just (because) we wanted to give some other guys a chance to get some catches, and Austin had a good day. Probably had his best day of camp."

BENN THERE, STILL TRYING TO DO THAT: Three years in a row, former Bucs WR Arrelious Benn has been at this same point — healthy, in position to make an NFL roster — and three years in a row, he has been sidelined by a major injury.

Traded by the Bucs after the 2012 season, he has not played in an NFL game since, so it's understandable that much of his focus as he tries to make the Jaguars' roster is simply on staying healthy.

"I've changed up a lot of things, taking care of my body, coming back from all the injuries I've had," said Benn, who said he is on an anti-inflammatory diet and is drinking two gallons a day of special ionized water.

Tampa Bay traded Benn to the Eagles after the 2012 season, sending him and a seventh-round pick for a sixth-round pick that eventually turned into RB Mike James, who is now in his fourth year with the Bucs. Benn missed 2013 with a torn ACL in his left knee, was cut before the 2014 due to lower-back issues and missed 2015 with a broken collarbone.

"My focus is just staying healthy so I can play a full season," he said.

INJURIES: DT Gerald McCoy appeared to have turned an ankle during practice, but Koetter said it was not a concern. … LB Daryl Smith did not practice for a second straight day as the team tries to limit his reps in his 13th season.

Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.

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