TAMPA — Bucs fans weren't braced for what they saw in training camp Saturday.
QB Jameis Winston, the franchise savior, practiced with a small brace on his left knee.
No, coach Dirk Koetter was quick to say, Winston does not have a knee injury. He is trying out the brace as a preventive measure. He isn't committed to wearing it during the season.
"Jameis was going to start wearing that brace (Friday)," Koetter said. "The brace they sent didn't fit right. They had to get a new one sent in. A lot of quarterbacks in the league wear knee braces on one leg. That's the latest and greatest technology. He's demo-ing it out to see how it goes. He doesn't have any injury. It's all preventative and precautionary. We'll see how it goes."
Winston is wearing the brace on his left knee because it is the most vulnerable to being hit when he strides into a throw.
"On a lot of those guys, especially those big guys, when they stride into it and they lock out one leg, that can be a problem," Koetter said. "Don't go crazy on it. This isn't your story of the day that Jameis had a knee brace on. We'll see how it goes."
Making splash plays in the rain
WR DeSean Jackson (right), brought in as the deep threat the Bucs have lacked, got two long passes from QB Jameis Winston at the end of practice. Jackson got behind the defense for one easy deep ball, then in pouring rain made a juggling catch, delighting the capacity crowd. The defense made plays as well. CB Brent Grimes (left) had a leaping pass breakup. S Chris Conte broke up a deep ball to WR Mike Evans. S J.J. Wilcox made an interception on a deflected pass. The Bucs were in shorts for their first two practices. They add shoulder pads today.
Bowers takes a shot
Former Bucs DE Da'Quan Bowers hasn't played in the NFL since 2015 and is now playing in the CFL. Days like Saturday won't help his chances of getting back into the NFL.
Bowers, a second-round draft pick out of Clemson in 2011 who had seven sacks in five seasons with the Bucs, took a shot on Twitter at GM Jason Licht, who had him on the roster in 2014-15 but didn't re-sign him last year.
After using an obscenity to describe Licht, Bowers wrote, "He don't even respect the players on his roster now … ask them if he will even look them in the eyes."
Bowers has two sacks and six tackles in four games with the Edmonton Eskimos. His outburst came in response to one from Weslye Saunders, a former NFL tight end who hasn't played since 2014. Saunders took offense to being blocked on Twitter by Licht after Licht wouldn't let him try out for the Bucs, and by Seahawks director of pro personnel Dan Morgan.
"I PRAY I get to play vs. the Bucs & Seahawks," Saunders wrote.
Licht declined to comment.
Embrace the rain
The Bucs' new indoor practice facility is under construction directly behind the playing fields at One Buc Place and will be ready in September. But coach Dirk Koetter said that a situation like Saturday's — heavy rain late in practice, with no thunder or fields in poor condition — would likely see the Bucs finish practice outside even with an indoor option. It's important to get the chance to play in rain, something they'll likely have to do during the season, he said. "We can't do artificial rain," he said.
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