Hitting increases at Bucs camp

Linebacker Najee Goode, right, trying to get past offensive tackle Gabe Carimi on Friday, lays a big hit on fullback Spencer Larsen during Saturday’s practice.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Linebacker Najee Goode, right, trying to get past offensive tackle Gabe Carimi on Friday, lays a big hit on fullback Spencer Larsen during Saturday’s practice.

TAMPA — WR Eric Page on Saturday caught a pass in the left flat and began to turn upfield, unaware of the misery he was about to encounter.

The Bucs aren't supposed to tackle to the ground during training camp, but Page apparently was too good of a target for CB Anthony Gaitor to pass up. And the clean but hard tackle dropped Page to his back while his feet flew in the air.

"When you've got that intensity and you're out there playing football, you're aggressive as a defensive back," Gaitor said. "You get a hit like that, you're just trying to make something happen."

It is clear the Bucs, who have spent nine practice days installing their systems and face the Super Bowl champion Ravens in Thursday's preseason opener, are ready to hit.

During an 11-on-11 period, FB Spencer Larsen, running down the sideline after catching an out pass, was knocked off his feet by a hard shoulder tackle from LB Najee Goode.

Coach Greg Schiano reiterated the rule of not tackling to the ground but acknowledged, "There were some shots out there."

Given the time and effort so far put into camp, he said, "The fact that they were willing to hit somebody at this point is pretty impressive; really good effort by our guys."

"Just out there working, trying to make a play, competing for a job," Gaiter said of flattening Page. "That's about it."

Page agreed.

"He's pumped up. He's trying to make a play. I made a play. It happens. No hard feelings there. It's football."

Special delivery: WR Vincent Jackson missed practice as his wife gave birth to a boy. WR Chris Owusu, having an impressive camp, took Jackson's spot and made several nice catches, including one for a 57-yard touchdown from QB Josh Freeman down the left sideline.

"I just want to go out there and make plays, make the most of my opportunities," Owusu said. "Playing with the (first team), you have to increase your play."

Said Schiano: "I wasn't studying Chris, but he jumped out to me a few times."

Williams sits: WR Mike Williams, who left Friday's practice with a slight hamstring strain, lobbied to return Saturday. But Schiano said the Bucs are being "prudent," holding him out until Monday.

"He knew (Saturday) was going to be a competition day," Schiano said of Williams. "It's like taking a guy out of the park and sending him home."

More injuries: CB Johnthan Banks (hamstring) missed a second straight practice but likely will return Monday. … Schiano said DE Adrian Clayborn (groin), who again worked on a side field, has not been ruled out of Thursday's game. … G Carl Nicks (toe) participated in some live 11-on-11 periods. … K Lawrence Tynes sat out because of a sore toe. … CB Darrelle Revis, after an offday, participated in formation walkthroughs but not live action.

A real kick: With Tynes out, Derek Dimke, with whom Tynes is competing, got a second straight day of action and, as Schiano said, "hit some big shots. His opportunity, he made the most of it."

As for figuring out who will be No. 1, Schiano said, "It's going to be a competition to the end."

Versatile: For a player known as a consummate blocker, TE Tom Crabtree can catch passes. He averaged 25.4 yards on eight receptions last season for the Packers.

"Of course I'd be open for it," he said of becoming more of a target but added, "I'm not worrying about my individual goals. Whatever is asked of me, that's what I'm going to do. If I need to go in there and block all game, I'll block; whatever it is."

Times staff writer Joe Smith contribu­ted to this report.

Hitting increases at Bucs camp 08/03/13 [Last modified: Saturday, August 3, 2013 8:00pm]

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