Bucs: Casillas steps up; Page has edge on punt returns

Jonathan Casillas is catching up after three years with the Saints.
Jonathan Casillas is catching up after three years with the Saints.
Published Aug. 13, 2013

Close call

LB Jonathan Casillas made one of the top plays in Monday's practice, an interception of QB Mike Glennon in an 11-on-11 period. "This is my first year in this defense," he said. "I'm just starting to grasp it. (Monday's interception) is evidence I'm getting a good grasp of not only the run fits, but pass (defense) drops as well."

Casillas, battling LB Dekoda Watson for the strongside spot, says he's always going to consider himself a starter, but is "all for competition." Coach Greg Schiano said it'll be a tough decision. "Jonathan is a good addition," Schiano said. "(He) plays with a lot of energy, physical guy, can run, a run and hit player. Been good on teams, one of the reasons we signed him. He's in a competition with Dekoda right now, it's a really heated competition. They're getting after it."

Just for kicks

Schiano said WR Eric Page leads the competition to be the punt returner. Schiano pointed out that RB Michael Smith did some good things, and while WR Chris Owusu fumbled a punt, it's not the "end of the road" for him. Page, an All-American returner at Toledo, is also in the mix for the kick returner spot, but Schiano said a lot of players can go there. Fielding punts, however, is a different animal. "It's a spiral sometime, it's a knuckleball other times, it's a … flip-flop kick other times, and people are going to hit you a lot of times the minute you touch it," Schiano said. "So it's a totally different skill set."

Quote of the day

"I don't want to get into taking painkillers and not knowing if it's hurting or if it's not. I just have to suck it up."

LG Carl Nicks on playing with his surgically-repaired left toe being all about pain tolerance.

Joe Smith, Times staff writer