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Bruce Arians calls Bucs’ seven-week stretch away from home ‘ridiculous’

Tampa Bay’s new coach said the team will use unfavorable schedule to “make it a chip on your shoulder.”
Bucs starting QB Jameis Winston (3) prepares to drop back to pass while on the field during the first day of practice on Tuesday. (DIRK SHADD | Times)
Bucs starting QB Jameis Winston (3) prepares to drop back to pass while on the field during the first day of practice on Tuesday. (DIRK SHADD | Times)
Published Apr. 23, 2019|Updated Apr. 23, 2019

TAMPA — New Bucs coach Bruce Arians isn’t pleased about his team’s schedule, which includes a seven-week stretch in which the Bucs won’t play a game at Raymond James Stadium.

“Am I happy about it? Hell no, “Arians said Tuesday following his first minicamp practice at the Advent Health Training Center. “I think it’s ridiculous and I’ve voiced my opinion to the people in New is what it is.”

After the Bucs play their Week 3 home game against the Giants on Sept. 22, they won’t play in Tampa again until Nov. 10 against Arizona.

Within that stretch is two trips to the West Coast — Sept. 29 at the Los Angeles Rams and Nov. 3 date at Seattle — as well as a Oct. 13 game in London against Carolina.

“We have a great opportunity to showcase our ability,” quarterback Jameis Winston said Tuesday. “It don’t matter if we’re in a Wal-Mart parking lot. ... That just gives us more passion and more competitiveness to make sure our games count at home.”

Arians said it will be important to determine how the added travel will affect the players and dictate the practice schedule accordingly.

“Thank God we have a good sports science program to help me on travel and practice times in engaging how tired is our football team before we go out to Seattle,” Arians said. “Those things are going to be very important through that stretch.”

Also, following the 4:25 p.m. season-opener on Sept. 8 at home against the 49ers, they will have a short week before a road Thursday night in Carolina on Sept. 12.

“They didn’t do us any favors, but hey, make it a chip on your shoulder,” Arians said.

Winston: Being drafted doesn’t make your career

Winston, who was top pick in the 2015, said he’s excited to see what this year’s quarterback draft class can do. He said Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray’s size shouldn’t deter teams because the undersized Drew Brees has been one of the game’s elite quarterbacks for a long time. He mentioned he’s eage to see what Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins can do.

In the same breath, Winston said that just because you’re drafted, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be successful, noting that former Bucs wideout Adam Humphries was an undrafted free agent and was rewarded this offseason with a four-year, $36-million deal with the Titans.

“Shoot, I hate that he left us, but he came out here and did his thing,” Winston said. “So it’s a tremendous opportunity that the NFL gives us all, to anybody, whether you’re drafted in the first round or you’re not drafted, stay motivated and take advantage of your opportunity.”

Vea reminds Arians of another disruptive defensive end

Defensive tackle Vita Vea’s motor stood out to Arians during Tuesday’s practice. Arians said he had to tell Vea to slow him down during drills.

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“For him, I had to say, ‘Whoa,’ Arians said. “I hate to say sick ‘em. I like saying ‘whoa,’ for him to just slow down a little bit. You don’t need to be knocking guys into the quarterback today. So he’s a very talented young man who can do a lot of things.”

Asked whether Vea reminds him of anyone in particular, Arians compared Vea to Haloti Ngata, who was a tough matchup against Arians’ Steelers offense when he played for the Ravens.

Extra downs

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy wasn’t the Buc absent from mini camp Tuesday. Linebacker Lavonte Davis, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, offensive tackle Demar Dotson, offensive tackle Donovan Smith were also absent from practice. ... Wide receiver Chris Godwin, safety Justin Evans, linebacker Jack Cichy, linebacker Shaquil Barrett, offensive lineman Evan Smith and tight end Cameron Brate were held out of practice. There was no update on linebacker Kendell Beckwith, who was on the non football injury list all season last year after injuring his ankle in a car accident. Beckwith was not on the field Tuesday, and it appears anything the team gets from him will be a plus.

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at Follow @EddieInTheYard.


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