TAMPA — Bucs coach Greg Schiano knows it'll be a big step for DE Da'Quan Bowers to go from a situational pass-rusher to an every-down player.
And Schiano has pushed Bowers during the tough transition. The coach got on the former second-round pick during a run drill in Tuesday's practice, yelling, "Don't take the path of least resistance."
After the period, Schiano pulled Bowers aside for one-on-one instruction. Schiano quipped that he made that comment to "about 50" players during a hotter-than-normal workout, but acknowledged Bowers needs more consistency.
"I want to see him play hard play after play after play after play," Schiano said. "He needs to string together some plays where he's going at a high level."
That's why Schiano looks forward to seeing Bowers perform in preseason games, starting Thursday against the Ravens. While Bowers won't play extensively in the first game, it'll be a good barometer of his progress.
"It's not easy transforming," Schiano said. "I've said it, and I think people hear it, but they don't really understand what it is to take that step from being a situational pass-rusher to an every-down player. It's a world. It's like being a relief pitcher and a starting pitcher. There are a lot more pitches to be had as a starting pitcher, so you can't just go in there and throw fastballs for an inning and get out. You've got to play the dirty stuff down after down. He's going to do it, I believe he will. We've just got to put him in those situations, and Thursday night is a perfect chance to put in him in that situation."
FOR KICKS: K Lawrence Tynes (toe) said he feels better; he kicked 40 balls Tuesday and intends to play Thursday.
Tynes admitted he has to catch up, having joined the team last month and being limited in recent days due to an ingrown toenail that got infected. "It's just a little pain tolerance thing," Tynes said. "I've had it taken out every year, it just never got infected."
Derek Dimke has continued to impress as he tries to beat nine-year veteran Tynes out for the job. Dimke hit a 40-plus yard field goal Tuesday in a drill with time was running out, against a kick rush. "That was pretty good," Schiano said. "Pretty special."
LINING UP: Schiano hinted QB Josh Freeman will get 8-10 snaps Thursday, similar to the preseason opener last year, and rookie QB Mike Glennon will get a lot of work. But that doesn't mean it'll be the same for the rest of the starters. "Everyone is going to be different — I wouldn't look for wholesale," Schiano said. "Every player we've created an individual plan for, especially the starters, how many we feel they need and what roles." For example, S Mark Barron is playing in the dime package, so he will play in that situation.
STANDING OUT: The Bucs overhauled the secondary in the offseason, including trading for CB Darrelle Revis and acquiring All Pro S Dashon Goldson. And Schiano has noticed the unit's improvement during camp. "I think overall, without a doubt, they've performed better than they did last year, more competitive," Schiano said. "Denying balls, getting hands on balls, we've got our hands on more balls in this 11 practices than we probably did a larger extent of last year. But that's practice, lets see how we do in the game."
MEDICAL MATTERS: Schiano said DE Aaron Morgan is dealing with a neck strain. … LG Carl Nicks had a light day in practice, but it was more to do with Monday's workload than a setback. "He went really pretty hard (Monday)," Schiano said. "We all would have been shocked if he wasn't sore."
Times staff writer Rick Stroud contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at email@example.com.