TAMPA - Bucs coach Greg Schiano was pleased to hear the pads popping for the first time during training camp Sunday, but he was disappointed when a football popped loose.
Penalties and missed assignments are part of the game, especially during the first day of contact. Running back Mosis Madu lost a fumble during a team drill. Overall, ball security has been good, according to Schiano, but added that there is no excuse for a running back to have a turnover.
"I thought the guys responded well," Schiano said. "We certainly have a ton of stuff we have to work on. It was sloppy. But I think every time you add a different variable to the equation, you're going to get a little bit of that. So we add the pads, we add contact, you start thinking about some of those contact related things and you start messing up your assignments or you jump off-sides.
"Penalties, missed assignments. We had one ball come out, which that just can't happen. A ball carrier can not put the ball on the ground, period."
Schiano has been pleased by the competition at running back, where LeGarrette Blount, rookies Doug Martin and Michael Smith and Madu have split reps. Martin took the balance of work with the first team again on Sunday.
All four tailbacks have made a conscious effort to carry the ball high and tight to their chest.
"I thought it's been very good, but it doesn't take many to ruin that equation and we just put the ball on the ground in a one-on-one tackle situation," Schiano said. "Again, you don't want to make it so you get afraid and guys have to be able to play and in the passing game, you have to be able to try and stick it in windows that maybe aren't very big, and we have a quarterback like we do who has a strong arm, you've got to go after it. So there will be some interceptions, I'm not sitting here saying there won't. It's just when you're carrying the football, there's no reason for that ball to come out ever. Ever. If we're going to get turnovers, let's let them be on interceptions where the risk-reward is really great."
BEAR MARKET: As departed defensive tackle Brian Price prepares for his first practice with the Chicago Bears this week, he took time to update local reporters there about his status following his trade from the Bucs on Thursday.
Of his health, Price said, "Man, I'm here with this team, and I'm feeling great. A couple of months ago, it was nowhere near where I'm at now. Just being here, I feel better, like the weight of the world got lifted off my shoulders."
Price has battled a rare condition with his pelvis and hamstrings, one that affected him all through the 2011 season and, he said, adversely affected him during the conditioning test he failed on Thursday in Tampa.
But Price vowed to be ready to go when he is allowed to join his new teammates on Tuesday. He passed the Bears' physical on Saturday.
"That's a part of being a professional," he said. "No matter what you're going through, you still got to show up and be a pro."
The change of scenery seems to have had a positive impact on Price.
"I was happy," he said. "A brand new beginning. A fresh start. It doesn't get no better than this. . . This is a defensive town. Great leaders. The love of the game is coming back to me."
PRACTICE REPORT: With the injury to CB E.J. Biggers, who is sidelined for about four weeks with a broken bone in his foot, the battle for nickel cornerback is on between Anthony Gaitor and Leonard Johnson, an undrafted rookie from Iowa State and former Largo HS quarterback...Bucs LB play improved Sunday. MLB Mason Foster had a tackle for loss on Mosis Madu. Rookie Lavonte David had a tackle for no gain on Doug Martin. LB Adam Hayward intercepted a pass intended for TE Dallas Clark...During a blitz period Sunday, Freeman hits Vincent Jackson with a deep ball, beating CB Aqib Talib in man coverage...WR Mike Williams, who left practice early with cramps Saturday, returned to workouts Sunday... Bucs PK Connor Barth was 3-of-4 on FG attempts on the undersized goal posts.
/ / /
ROSTER MOVES: The Bucs signed LB Nate Triplett, who was on the Colts active roster and Chargers practice squad last season.
Triplett has played in eight career games mainly on special teams, recording six tackles. He replaces LB Thomas Williams, who decided he no longer wanted to play football and left the team.
Staff writer Stephen F. Holder contributed to this report