TAMPA — The fact G Keydrick Vincent signed just two weeks before training camp might have allowed the imposing 6-foot-5, 325-pounder to (as much as possible) fly under the radar.
But Vincent spent a good portion of Wednesday's morning practice with the starting offense, offering more evidence that he has a shot at winning the left guard job from incumbent Jeremy Zuttah.
Vincent, who previously played for the Steelers (2001-04), Ravens (2005-06), Cardinals (2007) and Panthers (2008-09), has been praised by teammates for his power game. That helped the Panthers run the ball with prolific success in recent seasons — particularly against the Bucs.
"The guy put a smile on my face," RB Cadillac Williams said. "I mean, the guy, he's a big man. You can turn on the Carolina film. The guy just eats up guys. Once he gets his hand on you, it's over. Just to add assets like that to our team, I'm loving it. It's going to be good."
Said Vincent: "I'm just a physical player. I want to run it down your throat and make you feel it."
Coach Raheem Morris said there is competition at the position but also praised Zuttah, pointing out that each has different strengths.
"Zuttah is an athlete. He might be the top one or two athletes on our O-line," Morris said of the lineman, who is entering his third season. "He's a guy that can move and pull. He can play tackle. He can play guard. He can play center. Zuttah can bring a lot to the table for us.
"He went out there and started for the first time last year. And I look forward to him in the second year starting … to be even better."
ANOTHER VIEW: DT Roy Miller, all 6-2, 310 pounds of him, lined up at fullback during goal-line drills Wednesday morning and enjoyed every minute.
"Heck yeah," he said, smiling.
"At first, you feel kind of shady because you have your own guys on the other side. You want to be on that side with them stopping the run. But … whatever is going to help this team, whatever I can do, that's what I'm going to do."
Miller, who is entering his second season, said he played some fullback during short-yardage situations while at the University of Texas. Morris said Miller is just competing for opportunities like LB Adam Hayward (6-1, 240 pounds) and — at the very least — they're nice options to have in emergencies.
GOING LIVE: There was plenty of intensity and trash-talking during the goal-line drills with players pumped to actually go "live" and hit.
Even Morris, who did his share of exhorting, was left spent: "I feel like it's after the game right now. … That was a violent morning session, and our offensive and defensive lines were stout. Those are the practices that build and reveal character."
For the record, the defense got the better of the offense. The offense scored on the first attempt, including a nice cut by RB Kareem Huggins into the end zone. But the offense didn't help itself with quarterback Josh Freeman fumbling a snap on one play and a penalty stopping another.
And when the first-team offense took on the first-team defense on the final play? DE/DL Kyle Moore stuffed RB Derrick Ward.
"It was good to be able to go up against our own defense and see what we have," Ward said. "The defensive line had a great push those last couple of plays. It's exciting to see.
"If they can do that to us, I'm sure they'll do that to a lot of other teams."
Miller graded the drill from a different perspective.
"Being on offense and defense," he said, "I'd have to say it was a tie."
Times staff writer Stephen F. Holder contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.