Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs plan joint practices with Jaguars, Browns

TAMPA — For the first time in three years, the Bucs will hold joint practices with another NFL team this summer, with plans to do so with the Jaguars and Browns before facing them in preseason games in August.

Coach Dirk Koetter said Thursday that the Bucs will head to Jacksonville early before their second preseason game, practicing with the Jaguars for two days, then taking a day off before their game on Aug. 20.

The Bucs will do the same at home before facing the Browns on Aug. 26.

"Training camp's a long grind," Koetter explained. "It's great to go against other people and other looks, and a good way to test where you're at.

"It's almost like you're having two practices at once — your offense is practicing on one field, your defense on the other, instead of going against each other. I'm a big believer in seeing the different looks."

The Bucs haven't had a joint practice since 2013, when the Patriots worked out in Tampa with the Bucs as an extension of the friendship between head coaches Bill Belichick and Greg Schiano.

Coach Lovie Smith wasn't as big a fan of joint practices, so the Bucs hadn't had one in the past two seasons.

KICKING BACK: When the Bucs traded up into the second round to take Florida State K Roberto Aguayo in this year's draft, it was the highest they had drafted a kicker since 1999, when Martin Gramatica went in the third round.

On Thursday, the two kickers spent time together, chatting on the sideline as Gramatica was a guest at practice at One Buc Place.

"He's a legend here in Tampa as a kicker, and I hope to be as successful as him, or maybe even more so," said Aguayo, who had spoken to Gramatica on the phone but hadn't met him before Thursday.

Gramatica, 40, kicked six years for the Bucs and still has the team's career record with 137 field goals, a mark many Buc fans hope Aguayo can stick around long enough to break. Gramatica said he already has a respect for Aguayo and understands the pressure he will face.

"You can tell he's a perfectionist, so it doesn't matter if you get drafted or you're a free agent," Gramatica said. "He's going to put pressure on himself just to be great, regardless of where you get drafted.

"Sometimes being a free agent is a little more pressure, because you can get fired right away," he said with a laugh. "I think in his case, he wants to be great, so you can tell he works hard to be great."

THIS AND THAT: The team re-signed S Kimario McFadden, who was with the club during part of last season. Koetter said rookie S Ryan Smith, who has been sidelined this week, has a minor (undisclosed) injury and should be back soon. … G Ali Marpet, who practiced Tuesday, was back on the sideline Thursday with G J.R. Sweezy. Both are recovering from offseason procedures.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected]m and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

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