Saturday, November 18, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

No serious issues with sidelined Bucs at minicamp

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TAMPA — The Bucs opened voluntary minicamp Tuesday without starting guards J.R. Sweezy and Ali Marpet, and coach Dirk Koetter said both are recovering from unspecified offseason procedures and likely will not practice until training camp in late July.

"(J.R.'s) going to be out for OTAs and will be back and ready to go for training camp," Koetter said. "We're starting a little bit earlier than some teams, and there are tons of guys in the league having some offseason things cleaned up. J.R. falls into that category. … Ali is another guy that's in that boat. … We don't have any guy on our team right now that we don't anticipate will be with us for training camp."

Koetter said Sweezy was at One Buc Place, and Marpet and G/C Evan Smith did not participate while watching drills. The team had Kevin Pamphile working as the starting left guard and Josh Allen at right guard.

Koetter said WR Louis Murphy, recovering from ACL surgery last fall, also won't practice until training camp. DE Jacquies Smith, recovering from shoulder surgery, was also a spectator at Tuesday's practice.

MUCH TO LEARN: DE Robert Ayers joined the team last month in free agency, but to some extent, nearly all of Tampa Bay's defense are newcomers — at least in regards to the defensive scheme that new coordinator Mike Smith will be running. Ayers said it helps to be able to see the defense on the practice field, but there's much to learn between now and September.

"Right now, we're terrible. That's expected for this time of year," Ayers said of the early learning curve. "Nobody knows anything. It's expected, and you have guys who are willing to learn. If the stat told you they wanted us to come out and get 100 percent right, or 90 or even 80 percent of the things right, they'd be lying to you."

LESS IS MORE: Koetter had an uptempo practice before cutting the workout short by about 10 minutes, with 82-degree temperatures taking a toll, sending WR Mike Evans to the locker room just before the end of practice.

Koetter said he plans to beat the heat more effectively this season by keeping players fresh with shorter practices, if necessary.

"I think just in general, we need to work smart," he said. "When it's warm out there, we need to get our guys fresh on game day and not kill them during the week. So we will be very conscious of how much we work. … We all should monitor our volume closely and keep a real close eye on that."

Koetter said he expected Evans back at practice and was told his early departure wasn't serious.

SLIMMEST JAMEIS: There's still buzz around QB Jameis Winston's offseason conditioning. He is said to have dropped 18 pounds, according to ESPN.

"He lost a lot of weight. He slimmed out," Evans said. "I was joking with him the other day. He took his shirt off, and I said, 'Man, what happened to the belly?' He's got a six-pack like me. He's put in a tremendous amount of work, and I think it's going to be a great year for him and this whole team."

Times staff writer Rick Stroud contributed to this report. Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

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