BRADENTON — How much could a bunch of locked-out football players wearing shorts and T-shirts accomplish in three days of noncontact workouts?
A lot, actually.
The Bucs called their unofficial players-only minicamp, which wrapped up Thursday with a single morning practice, a huge success.
Though the camp couldn't match the intensity or depth of a traditional minicamp at One Buc Place, it served as a valuable substitute as the NFL's work stoppage passed three months.
Mainly, it was a good barometer of where players are physically and mentally, something that has been hard to determine without team workouts.
"I've gotten a lot of work with the receivers and tight ends from an offensive standpoint," QB Josh Freeman said. "But to get together and be able to watch film and be in an environment where it's a team atmosphere like a normal minicamp is big for us. We have a lot of young guys on the team, and really, you don't really know where their minds are at.
"It was great seeing the turnout we had, and … guys being on (top of) their stuff. We put together these scripts and just went over them real briefly in a meeting, then popped right on the field. Guys picked it right up as if we were in the middle of the season."
The team ran a lengthy seven-on-seven session Thursday morning, during which there was just one incomplete pass out of 25 attempts, Freeman said.
The chemistry-building that often is developed in the offseason was a key to the camp as well.
"You come together as a family, which is what I think a team is," DT Gerald McCoy said. "If you (form) a team the right way, it's supposed to be a family."
Though the lockout appears to be nearing an end, with negotiations between the owners and players heating up, the Bucs aren't ruling out a subsequent camp.
"If this thing lingers on, I'm sure we'll meet up again," McCoy said. "We'll stay in contact."
PUMPING IRON: Among the things the Bucs did this week was conduct a morning weight-room session each day. It was offered as an optional opportunity before the day's practices, but most players took advantage.
"I said in my (team) e-mail, (we had) optional lift at 9 (a.m.), and I swear, everybody was there at 9," said LB Tyrone McKenzie, who helped Freeman make arrangements. "On the first day, I get here and I see everybody over there saying, 'Hey, what's up? I got your e-mail.' That's what we needed. We reached out to the guys, and we got it done."
ROLL CALL: Though some players opted not to attend, a couple of key offensive players wanted to but were unable because of commitments.
RB Cadillac Williams, an impending free agent who has been working out with Freeman this offseason, is getting married this week. RB LeGarrette Blount had a financial opportunity that was hard to pass up, Freeman said. The quarterback wasn't specific but said, "(Blount has) been a guy that's been there consistently, day in and day out, at USF (for offseason training). He's been getting his work."