New 'Bucs Squad' targets young fans
The Bucs' first practice open to the general public isn't until Saturday, but Thursday's workout was offered exclusively to members of the team's new "Bucs Squad" program, targeting fans 14 and younger.
"We've got thousands of kids here today," said Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, co-president of the Glazer Family Foundation, unveiling a new Bucs Squad Experience area south of the practice fields with a huge Bucs helmet and other inflatables and interactive activities for kids. "It's a memory maker for families and a wonderful way for kids to become Buccaneers lifelong fans."
The Bucs gave away 2,000 free tickets to the preseason home opener against the Browns on Aug. 26 to new "Bucs Squad" members. For more info, visit buccaneers.com/bucssquad.
You want him on that wall
The Bucs are updating the huge murals on the four corners of Raymond James Stadium for the upcoming season — RB Doug Martin is a new face in the group on the northeast corner, and LB Lavonte David was added Thursday morning on the southeast corner. Both show the players flanked by firing cannons with the team's "SIEGE THE DAY!" slogan.
Two more are expected up by Saturday's practice, and QB Jameis Winston will be one of them.
Donut for breakfast?
The Bucs are always trying new technology and equipment in practices, and Thursday's new addition were three large "tackle ring" wheel-shaped pads — each about four feet in diameter — which coaches can roll toward pass-rushers to simulate a running back attempting to "chip" them as they try to get to an opposing quarterback. The rings weigh about 20 pounds each and can be used as a tackling drill as well. The Bucs had used huge green balls similarly in OTAs this spring, rolling them toward quarterbacks as a distraction in passing drills, but the rings would seem to present less of an injury risk.
Admission and parking are free at One Buc Place
Public practices: There are 11 open to the public (8:45 a.m. to 10:50 a.m., unless noted): Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Aug. 4, Aug. 6, Aug. 8, Aug. 9, Aug. 13, Aug. 15, Aug. 24 (9:45-11:50, practice with Browns).
Note: Times subject to change. Check buccaneers.com for updates.
Greg Auman, Times staff writer