Monday, December 11, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Major Wright's practice hit angers Bucs coach Dirk Koetter

TAMPA — Bucs TE Brandon Myers caught the pass in the seam from QB Mike Glennon and turned upfield until he was belted under his chin by the right forearm of S Major Wright.

Myers remained on the turf for about 10 seconds, but returned to his feet and finished practice.

Depending on your viewpoint, it was either an aggressive hit by Wright on the first day when players were in pads or the kind of illegal blow that plagued one of the most penalized teams in the NFL a year ago.

There was no gray area in coach Dirk Koetter's mind.

"That was a cheap shot. All right? That was a cheap shot," Koetter said. "He would've been ejected, he would've been fined and it's a 15-yard penalty. So we don't need those kind of hits. Those kind of hits don't do us any good because they won't be good on Sunday. Now, there were some other hits out here that there's some banging, they're legal. … What I liked is obviously these guys like to hit. So that energy was good."

Two big hits came from rookie LB Cassanova McKinzy, who knocked down TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins and WR Evan Spencer in an impressive morning.

"I'm just trying to bring the physicality to the team and the defense," McKinzy said. "That's the type of player I am. I like the physical part of the game."

ON THE OTHER HAND: Koetter said one early period was "ugly, ugly, ugly" in terms of penalties.

"I mean, we can't play that way," he said. "We're not going to play that way. They'll hear about it."

The Bucs were the second-most penalized team in the NFL last season behind only Buffalo with 143 accepted infractions for 1,195 yards. Koetter has said a big emphasis will be on reducing the number of flags, but they got off to a bad start Saturday.

"We're working on the penalties," Koetter said. " I've got to do a great job on that. I've got to keep pushing the envelope. I know our coaches are doing it. But we've got to do a better job than we did today, at least to start."

THIS AND THAT: The Bucs haven't spent much time on kickoff returns, but Koetter mentioned three names as possibilities: WR Kenny Bell, RB Charles Sims and rookie S Ryan Smith. … Veteran RT Gosder Cherilus was held out Saturday with what Koetter called a "veteran's day," so rookie RG Caleb Benenoch shifted out to right tackle, where he played last year at UCLA. … CB Brent Grimes had an interception for the second day in a row, catching a Jameis Winston pass that was tipped by Bell early in practice. … Practice was interrupted for about an hour by a lightning delay, with the team returning for a final hour of work after heavy rains fell at One Buc Place. … Undrafted rookie S Elijah Shumate has yet to practice, held out with an injury to his right hand/wrist. LG J.R. Sweezy (back/calf) and WR Louis Murphy (knee) are the only others players to miss all three days with injury.

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

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