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Wondering if Bucs coach Greg Schiano will prove one advantage of hiring from college…

Ian Rapoport

The hiring of Greg Schiano as Bucs coach had to be one of the more stunning developments of this offseason. Any time a college coach gets “promoted” to the NFL, eyes roll. Many think of epic disappointments like Steve Spurrier or Nick Saban and see it as a mistake. Shoot, go all the way back to Ray Perkins if you want.

But those guys came from major programs. And all had a pedigree that, at least, made it understandable to hire them. Not Schiano. Nope, he came from Rutgers, didn’t have any national titles, and did I mention he came from Rutgers?

Never mind that he could’ve secured big-time jobs if he had wanted to leave Rutgers… it was still stunning. I loved the hire, by the way, as I’ve been a big fan of Schiano since watching him turn around one of college football’s laughingstocks and make it a viable perennial contender.

I bring this up now to make a point: I think it’s starting to become clearer why Schiano may succeed. It’s becoming clearer why it was, in my opinion, a clever hire. Just read the words of Bucs DT Gerald McCoy for that. McCoy lauded Schiano for actually (gulp) teaching him how to tackle.

Really. Apparently, that got lost in the shuffle at other levels of football. Apparently, McCoy had become a third overall pick based simply on his ability. Apparently, the coaching staff run by Raheem Morris last year didn’t focus on such trivial matters.

But every single day, Schiano is taking them back to the basics and working on form tackling. By all accounts — including this nice explanatory story by colleague Jeff Darlington — Schiano is taking a fundamentals-based approach. That’s why McCoy’s comments go beyond the traditional “Yay new coach!” comments that so many players make for the new guy. McCoy is simply explaining why Schiano is making a difference.

Schiano is teaching. That’s it. Just teaching. Doing what a coach does and providing a basis for learning. Instead of starting from Calculus, Schiano is teaching the multiplication tables. Years of coaching college players make college coaches cognizant that not all stars learned everything along the way. It was Schiano’s job to teach them, and I love how his approach hasn’t changed in the NFL.

He’s using the same desire to mold 18-year-olds on 25-year-olds. He’s teaching them football, starting with McCoy. It’s a young team anyway, and this will help. There’s no way this will be bad. Create a base, set your team up for the future, and move on from there.

Schiano is in for the long haul, and this goes to show that. It may even take a year to give the team solid footing. It will pay off. Really good coaches are always teachers, and he’s showing he is.

See, some college coaches are poor choices for the NFL. Particularly if those guys (like Saban) won in college by out-recrutiing everyone, it’s tough to get it to translate. But Schiano wasn’t a great recruiter. Rutgers rarely beat out the majors for talent. He took guys with so-so skills, made them just a little bit better, and raised the overall talent level of the team.

That created a winner. That’s the kind of coach NFL teams should target. Program builders. I think Schiano will prove that in the NFL, and he’s already taking strides to make it happen.

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Wondering if Bucs coach Greg Schiano will prove one advantage of hiring from college…

Ian Rapoport

The hiring of Greg Schiano as Bucs coach had to be one of the more stunning developments of this offseason. Any time a college coach gets “promoted” to the NFL, eyes roll. Many think of epic disappointments like Steve Spurrier or Nick Saban and see it as a mistake. Shoot, go all the way back to Ray Perkins if you want.

But those guys came from major programs. And all had a pedigree that, at least, made it understandable to hire them. Not Schiano. Nope, he came from Rutgers, didn’t have any national titles, and did I mention he came from Rutgers?

Never mind that he could’ve secured big-time jobs if he had wanted to leave Rutgers… it was still stunning. I loved the hire, by the way, as I’ve been a big fan of Schiano since watching him turn around one of college football’s laughingstocks and make it a viable perennial contender.

I bring this up now to make a point: I think it’s starting to become clearer why Schiano may succeed. It’s becoming clearer why it was, in my opinion, a clever hire. Just read the words of Bucs DT Gerald McCoy for that. McCoy lauded Schiano for actually (gulp) teaching him how to tackle.

Really. Apparently, that got lost in the shuffle at other levels of football. Apparently, McCoy had become a third overall pick based simply on his ability. Apparently, the coaching staff run by Raheem Morris last year didn’t focus on such trivial matters.

But every single day, Schiano is taking them back to the basics and working on form tackling. By all accounts — including this nice explanatory story by colleague Jeff Darlington — Schiano is taking a fundamentals-based approach. That’s why McCoy’s comments go beyond the traditional “Yay new coach!” comments that so many players make for the new guy. McCoy is simply explaining why Schiano is making a difference.

Schiano is teaching. That’s it. Just teaching. Doing what a coach does and providing a basis for learning. Instead of starting from Calculus, Schiano is teaching the multiplication tables. Years of coaching college players make college coaches cognizant that not all stars learned everything along the way. It was Schiano’s job to teach them, and I love how his approach hasn’t changed in the NFL.

He’s using the same desire to mold 18-year-olds on 25-year-olds. He’s teaching them football, starting with McCoy. It’s a young team anyway, and this will help. There’s no way this will be bad. Create a base, set your team up for the future, and move on from there.

Schiano is in for the long haul, and this goes to show that. It may even take a year to give the team solid footing. It will pay off. Really good coaches are always teachers, and he’s showing he is.

See, some college coaches are poor choices for the NFL. Particularly if those guys (like Saban) won in college by out-recrutiing everyone, it’s tough to get it to translate. But Schiano wasn’t a great recruiter. Rutgers rarely beat out the majors for talent. He took guys with so-so skills, made them just a little bit better, and raised the overall talent level of the team.

That created a winner. That’s the kind of coach NFL teams should target. Program builders. I think Schiano will prove that in the NFL, and he’s already taking strides to make it happen.

I was with him all the way to the end. But the reality is that Schiano was a GREAT recruiter. At Rutgers, we never got the top players in NJ, and there are many every year, until Schiano came around. The knock on Schiano is his play-calling, and his loyalty to certain players, even when they are underperforming. His recruiting and teaching have never been in doubt. So it still remains to be seen how this all translates to the field. I'm rooting hard for him. He's a great guy and he'll work harder than any coach in the league to be successful.

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Any Tampa fans think that Blount can hold off Martin to be the starter?

There is no way barring injury Blount is going to be the starter. Schiano brought in Martin for a reason and he is going to play him a lot IMO. Blount sucker punched in college, fought in Titans camp, has been up and down as a starter, I've been a fan and believed he could do it but I'm thinking Blount will end up elsewhere and actually use this to motivate him at the next stop. I don't think Blount is done in the NFL but I do feel his days in TB are numbered.

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Any Tampa fans think that Blount can hold off Martin to be the starter?

There is no way barring injury Blount is going to be the starter. Schiano brought in Martin for a reason and he is going to play him a lot IMO. Blount sucker punched in college, fought in Titans camp, has been up and down as a starter, I've been a fan and believed he could do it but I'm thinking Blount will end up elsewhere and actually use this to motivate him at the next stop. I don't think Blount is done in the NFL but I do feel his days in TB are numbered.
I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but I see this kind of comment all the time when we talk about rookie RBs. It doesn't always work out that way. As of the most recent OTAs, Blount has been taking the first team reps.

With Mike Sullivan being the offensive coordinator in Tampa now I see the Bucs offense trying to mirror what the Giants did in NY with Bradshaw and Jacobs. Martin will take the snaps between the 20s and on passing downs, and Blount will work in the red zone and get carries if the Bucs ever have a lead. This is assuming Blount is over his fumbling issues. If he continues to fumble he's not going to play for Schiano.

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Any Tampa fans think that Blount can hold off Martin to be the starter?

There is no way barring injury Blount is going to be the starter. Schiano brought in Martin for a reason and he is going to play him a lot IMO. Blount sucker punched in college, fought in Titans camp, has been up and down as a starter, I've been a fan and believed he could do it but I'm thinking Blount will end up elsewhere and actually use this to motivate him at the next stop. I don't think Blount is done in the NFL but I do feel his days in TB are numbered.

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but I see this kind of comment all the time when we talk about rookie RBs. It doesn't always work out that way. As of the most recent OTAs, Blount has been taking the first team reps.

With Mike Sullivan being the offensive coordinator in Tampa now I see the Bucs offense trying to mirror what the Giants did in NY with Bradshaw and Jacobs. Martin will take the snaps between the 20s and on passing downs, and Blount will work in the red zone and get carries if the Bucs ever have a lead. This is assuming Blount is over his fumbling issues. If he continues to fumble he's not going to play for Schiano.

This is what I was referring to. I'm fairly high on Martin(it's tailed off for me in the last month though), but I've seen this happen many times before.(Granted some of these are injury related)

1) Dwill vs Jstew

2) BJGE vs Vereen/Ridley

3) Fred Jackson vs Spiller

4) Reggie Bush vs Daniel Thomas

5) Beanie Wells vs Ryan Williams

6) Sproles/Thomas/Ivory vs Mark Ingram

7) Addai vs Donald Brown

8) MBIII vs Felix Jones

9) Hightower vs Beanie Wells

10) Justin Fargas vs McFadden

11) Tolbert vs Mathews

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Seems like it happens every year with just about any RB drafted in the first 2 rounds.

I like Martin too, but Blount has performed at this level, and it sounds like the drafting of Martin has lit a bit of a fire under the big guy.

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Fumbling and pass blocking will determine this - and whether Blount decides to overplay his hand and hold out (but seems like he has come to his senses)

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Any Tampa fans think that Blount can hold off Martin to be the starter?

There is no way barring injury Blount is going to be the starter. Schiano brought in Martin for a reason and he is going to play him a lot IMO. Blount sucker punched in college, fought in Titans camp, has been up and down as a starter, I've been a fan and believed he could do it but I'm thinking Blount will end up elsewhere and actually use this to motivate him at the next stop. I don't think Blount is done in the NFL but I do feel his days in TB are numbered.
C'mon, Sean. Politely suggesting you're better than this. The college thing was a maturity issue, which the University acknowledges he redeemed himself of during the following year. The Titans thing was absolutely typical training camp blowing off steam, Fisher liked him and he might still be there if they didn't botch his release, and as an NFL RB, Blount has shown that while he's not super fast, he's got an rare and effective combination of quickness and power. The kind of combination that made Eddie George a very effective NFL starter. His pass blocking improved over the season, and has improved, along with his ball protection and receiving, through the spring. In addition, he's displayed exactly the RIGHT attitude you want to see out of a young incumbent who's playing for a new coach that just drafted 'his guy' - he's rising to the challenge and keeping ahold of what's his until it's taken away on the field. Considering they acquired him for a relative song, there's absolutely no reason to release him. At the price of a late 1st Round Pick, Martin would have to play off the charts to come even close to matching the ROI the Bucs are so far getting out of Blount. Plus, from a business standpoint, it's absolutely money for the Bucs Team than to have a situation like this: undrafted free agent blue-collar scrappy incumbent working his butt off to keep his job vs highly drafted 1st Round Rookie looking to prove himself worthy of the selection.I admire Rutgers' Doug Martin, and I'd love to see him succeed in the NFL, but I love watching the Blount story unfold, and I'm really rooting for the kid. Go Blount! Edited by nittanylion

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Mike Williams picking up good habits from Jackson

By Brian McIntyre

Around the League writer

As a rookie, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams caught 65 passes for a team-high 964 yards and 11 touchdowns. The fourth-round pick out of Syracuse followed that up by catching another 65 passes, but was less productive with 771 yards and three touchdowns, including just two in the final 15 weeks of the season.

The Buccaneers signed Vincent Jackson to a five-year, $55.5 million to take some pressure off of Williams and provide veteran leadership to the group as a whole. And Williams is already picking up some good habits from Jackson, reports Scott Reynolds of PewterReport.com

"(Jackson is about) getting all the extra work in," Williams said. "You get off field, you watch a little film, and you go home. That's not Vincent. You get off the field, watch a little film, and he makes you watch a little bit more film. He makes you watch yourself and watch what the defender is doing to you. That's kind of what I learned from him that you have to keep evaluating yourself and evaluating other players, too."

According to Reynolds, Williams will be moving to flanker, but the receiver says he'll be moved all over the offense. Williams also said that he, Jackson and the some of the other receivers will meet with quarterback Josh Freeman for a passing camp prior to reporting back to Tampa for training camp in late July.

"Me and Josh have always had good timing. It is really good," Williams said. "We said a couple weeks and then we're right back working. We will take a couple weeks off then we're back getting timing down and learning the play book even more."

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LeGarrette Blount adopting Tiki Barber's running style

By Marc Sessler

Writer

We were surprised to learn that running back LeGarrette Blount took the majority of first-team reps with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason. When coach Greg Schiano drafted Doug Martin in the first round, the rookie was projected to step in and take over.

Schiano is pleased with Blount's improved pass protection and receiving work and the third-year back has adapted well to another adjustment: How he carries the ball.

Blount, along with every Bucs runner, is being schooled in the ways of "high-and-tight," which requires lodging the ball between the forearm, the upper arm and the chest. Former New York Giants back Tiki Barber solved a case of fumblitis by switching to the technique and Blount appears comfortable with the new approach.

"It's become a habit," Blount told the team's official website last week. "I don't even notice that I do it most of the time. Holding the ball down here (closer to the stomach) is kind of uncomfortable now."

The Bucs were tied for eighth in league with eight fumbles last season. Blount contributed three of those. Schiano, naturally, would like none.

This all goes back to Schiano's increasingly famous love for control. We already know about the man's near obsessive-compulsive desire to monitor room temperature during team meetings. That inner need to tweak, tighten and keep his hands on everything extends to the playing field. We should also note that Blount's running backs coach is none other than Earnest Byner, who understands, perhaps better than any man on the planet what a fumble can mean to one's career.

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More running, less Freeman (in more ways than one) is Bucanneers' plan

By Len Pasquarelli | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com

Even in the offseason workouts, the Tampa Bay Bucs saw much less of quarterback Josh Freeman in the spring. Somewhat curiously, given the fourth-year veteran's considerable profile with the franchise, that might actually be a good thing, Freeman and the first-year Tampa Bay coaching staff agree.

One of the elements of the Bucs' spring minicamps and OTAs, a component that was elevated to national security status levels, was pegging exactly how many pounds the former first-rounder (2009) has dropped since the end of last season. Far less guarded was the reality that, in the offensive blueprint preferred by rookie coach Greg Schiano and coordinator Mike Sullivan, there figures to be less weight placed on the quarterback.

"The running game," Freeman acknowledged, "is going to be a big key for us."

No one who sat and listened to Schiano's spiel at the league meetings three months ago, or who has checked in regularly with Tampa Bay officials and coaches since the former Rutgers boss began implementing his philosophy, will be surprised by that. The top man has mandated a more physical team. It's a level that shouldn't be too difficult to achieve given the Bucs' lack of muscle during a four-win 2011 campaign, and that could fuel a bounce-back year for Freeman as well as the team.

Every season, of course, the league has a healthy contingent of potential comeback players, and 2012 is no different. But in assessing the players with the kinds of skills that might lend themselves to a return to prominence, Freeman would have to be at or near the top of the list. His skills-set is about as imposing as his great size.

"[Physically], Josh has still got it all," one Tampa Bay assistant said last week.

No doubt, it's still very much a quarterback league, and the Bucs play in one of the most quarterback-driven divisions in the NFL, with Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton around. But the Bucs, who slumped from 10 wins in 2010 to a dozen losses last season, ran the ball fewer times than any team (346 attempts) in '11. That might help explain their No. 30 statistical rating in rushing offense, and the paucity of runs could be explained in part by early deficits in most games, but a trickle-down effect as the, well, trickle down of Freeman's performance.

Regarded as one of the NFL's rising stars, and with some Tampa Bay officials privately insisting only a year ago that they would not trade Freeman for any player in the league, his touchdown passes fell from 25 to 16 and his interceptions rose from six to 22. Freeman posted a better completion percentage than the previous season, and had more passing yards, but his quarterback rating fell by more than 20 points.

One of the league's biggest quarterbacks from a physical dimension standpoint, Freeman was also one of the biggest flops in the NFL in 2011. But if the Bucs are to compete for an unlikely playoff spot, they desperately need Freeman to rebound. And Freeman, who won't turn 25 until a week after the regular seasons ends, needs some help, which the new Bucs' staff apparently plans to give their talented quarterback.

"He can't do it all himself; nobody can," Schiano said this spring.

In fact, Schiano and Co. have started surrounding Freeman with an improved arsenal, with upgraded personnel and the previously noted schematic change, to assure that the quarterback won't have to be a one-man band.

The addition of wideout Vincent Jackson in free agency should afford Freeman a big, productive target. Tight end Dallas Clark isn't the player he was three years ago, but he figures to be a dependable mid-range option. Third-year veteran Mike Williams has demonstrated more discipline that he did a year ago, when his standout play from his 2010 rookie campaign seemingly went to his head. Getting guard Carl Nicks in free agency will upgrade the line. The surprising pick of tailback Doug Martin late in the first round adds versatility and flexibility to the running game, and it puts starter LeGarrette Blount on notice that his fumbles won't be tolerated.

And, of course, there is Freeman, whose work ethic is exemplary, who wants to be good, and who is more than ready to shoulder his share of the blame for 2011.

"The important thing," said Freeman who has logged 40 starts the past three years, "is to learn from everything. Not so much to dwell on it, but to use it to your advantage, and that's what I'm trying to do. You know, make everything a lesson."

For the Bucs and Freeman, the most important lesson for 2012 might be this hackneyed but critical one: Less is more.

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Ronde Barber could reportedly fill in for Eric Wright

By Gregg Rosenthal

Around The League editor

The recent arrest of cornerback Eric Wright could have a ripple effect on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' secondary.

Tampa signed Wright to shore up the cornerback back position, but Wright might be suspended after a recent arrest for driving under the influence. Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune writes Wednesday that the team might move veteran Ronde Barber back to cornerback if Wright is suspended for any period of time.

The team switched Barber to free safety this offseason in an effort to boost that position and keep Barber's impressive consecutive starts streak going. Now that streak might have to keep going at cornerback.

The Bucs certainly hope Wright isn't suspended, given their tough early slate. They face Cam Newton, Eli Manning, Tony Romo and Robert Griffin III before their Week 5 bye. Despite the addition of Wright, the team isn't overly deep at cornerback -- E.J. Biggers and Myron Lewis are next in line.

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Tampa's D is going to get lit up like a Christmas tree all season long.

Edited by bucsbaby

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Tampa's D is going to get lit up light a Christmas tree all season long.

Pretty much agree with this. The talent level is improved, but these guys are really young. Losing Bowers certainly doesn't help.I wasn't enamored with the Wright signing, but we could at least count on him to start. Hopefully his suspension isn't too severe.You have to expect this team to be playing from behind on a fairly consistent basis. Doug Martin could have a pretty good year catching passes out of the backfield. When you're down two scores the ground and pound philosophy doesn't hold up.

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Josh Freeman raves about young Buccaneers WR corps

By Dan Hanzus

Writer

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added a major piece to their offense in March when they landed Vincent Jackson in free agency.

Jackson, a favorite target of Philip Rivers in San Diego, instantly becomes Josh Freeman's No. 1 option, but it's less clear how the rest of the wide receivers corps will shake out.

Six of the 11 wideouts on Tampa Bay's roster weren't with the team a season ago. Mike Williams is on track to be the No. 2 receiver, with players like Tiquan Underwood, Preston Parker, Dezmon Briscoe and Ed Gant also in the mix.

"It's just a bunch of guys trying to make a name for themselves in this league," Underwood, another offseason signing, told the Tampa Bay Times. "That just brings about competition. Competition is always good, because that makes the cream rise to the top."

Buccaneers quarterbacks see talent across the untested unit.

"(Backup quarterback) Dan Orlovsky said, 'I don't know if I've ever seen a top-five or six (group) in a receiving corps that's been this solid,'" Freeman told the newspaper. "Everybody can go out and do it. I'm really looking forward to getting out there."

To hear Orlovsky and Freeman tell it, the Bucs have an embarrassment of riches on their hands. We're going to reserve judgment for the time being.

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Michael Bennett could be Bucs' next great D-lineman

By Brian McIntyre

Around the League writer

As we count down the days to training camp, Around the League will examine one player from every team set for a breakout campaign in 2012. We took a brief detour to the NFC West (our fearless editor had a bout of Flynnsanity and couldn't wait to head west), so now we're wrapping up the NFC South with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Injuries create golden opportunity for (the other) Michael Bennett.

In the four NFL drafts since taking over as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager in 2009, Mark Dominik has made 12 picks in the first three rounds. Five of those picks have been on defensive linemen.

Yet the one we're looking at for the "Making the Leap" series is Michael Bennett, a former undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M whom the Buccaneers picked off waivers from the Seattle Seahaws (who had waived Bennett to sign offensive tackle Kyle Williams off the practice squad. Ex-'Hawks exec Tim Ruskell, ladies and gentlemen!)

If you Google "Michael Bennett", the one we're talking about does not show up on the first page. To get to our Michael Bennett, you need to click the third-to-last result on page two, which takes you to his Wikipedia entry. Considering that our Michael Bennett has appeared in just 34 NFL games, that does not come as a surprise, but it might not be the case much longer.

The 6-foot-3, 274-pound Bennett took advantage of the lockout and started ahead of 2011 second-round pick Da'Quan Bowers last season. In 14 games, including 10 starts, Bennett had 39 tackles, finished second on the Buccaneers with four sacks and had a team-high 12 tackles for loss to go along with a pair of fumble recoveries. After seeing Bennett's versatility to play either end position and move inside to tackle, the Buccaneers placed the first-round tender on the lineman, which is worth $2.742 million in base salary this season.

With Bowers suffering a torn Achilles' tendon during the Buccaneers' offseason workout program, Bennett is expected to open the season as the starter opposite 2011 first-round pick Adrian Clayborn. The only real threats to his starting job are journeymen Jayme Mitchell and Wallace Gilberry -- or a superhuman recovery by Bowers.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense finished dead last in quarterback sacks (23) last season. The change in defensive coaching staff, along with a healthy Bennett and Gerald McCoy, could change that. And Bennett, who'll hit unrestricted free agency next offseason, could be in for a big payday.

And for doing a "Making the Leap" post on both Bennett brothers, I fully expect an invite to the next family get-together.

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Bucs looking deeper at RB

By Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com

TAMPA, Fla. – Buccaneers running back Doug Martin was asked about his strengths after Thursday’s rookie camp workout.

“My versatility,’’ the first-round pick said. “I believe my versatility is definitely an advantage going into the season and going into training camp. Being able to pass block and being able to catch balls out of the backfield.’’

Martin was then asked what it will take to be the best running back on the team.

“Just being detail-oriented,’’ Martin said. “You’ve got to be in that playbook. You’ve got to be coachable. You’ve got to be a good leader and all that just makes you the best back.’’

I don’t think it was intentional, but it sure sounded like Martin was saying something like “I’m everything LeGarrette Blount is not’’.

Blount has been Tampa Bay’s leading rusher the past two seasons. But he drew criticism from the previous coaching staff for not being an effective pass blocker or receiver. New coach Greg Schiano said in March that Blount has to avoid fumbles if he’s going to get carries. Immediately after drafting Martin, Schiano repeatedly referred to him as an all-around back. The Bucs also selected running back Michael Smith later in the draft.

Blount has been viewed as one-dimensional (a power runner) in the past, and the mere fact the Bucs traded back into the first round to draft Martin is a good indication that the Bucs have big plans for the rookie. But Blount has said he’s worked to improve his pass-blocking and pass-catching skills this offseason.

If Blount can prove that to the coaches in the preseason, he could earn some playing time on passing downs. If not, he still could have a significant role as a power back. Smith is more of a smaller, speed back. The Bucs also have second-year back Mossis Madu.

Even if Martin is as versatile as he says he is and as good as the Bucs think he is, there’s still a chance for Blount and the others to get playing time. The Bucs are expected to run the ball a lot. You need more than one quality running back in a system like that.

Heck, you need several good running backs in any system. Just look at New Orleans (Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory and Mark Ingram), Carolina (DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert) and Atlanta (Michael Turner, Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling).

The rest of the NFC South has loaded backfields. The Bucs might end up with the same thing.

“I think their skill sets kind of mesh nicely,’’ Schiano said. “I think there’s some overlap too because when you look at all of them, there’s no skinny-minnys out there. They’re all kind of jacked up. But some of them have different skills as far as their acceleration. I like the mix.’’

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The attorney for Tampa Bay cornerback Eric Wright announced that the Los Angeles County District Attorney reviewed the facts of his clients’ arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence and has decided not to file any charges. Wright was arrested July 2. “Eric is glad this is behind him and is eager to begin training camp at the end of the month,’’ attorney Jeremy I. Lessem said in a statement released by the Buccaneers. This is good news for the Buccaneers, who could have had to shuffle their secondary if Wright’s situation had been drawn out in the legal system or if he had faced disciplinary action from the NFL. The Bucs signed Wright as a free agent from Detroit in March and the plan is to play him opposite Aqib Talib.

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LeGarrette Blount's Buccaneers roster spot uncertain

By Brian McIntyre

Around the League writer

Before the 2012 NFL Draft, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount bristled at the suggestion that the Bucs would use their Top 5 pick on Alabama running back Trent Richardson.

""I would not like that pick...I would definitely not be happy with that pick," Blount said initially before changing his tune. Blount's sigh of relief when Richardson was picked by the Cleveland Browns at No. 3 was short-lived as the Buccaneers would use the No. 31 overall pick on Boise State running back Doug Martin, who is expected to push Blount for the starting job this summer.

One of the reasons why the Buccaneers invested a first round pick in Martin, and a seventh-round pick in potential No. 2 back Michael Smith, could be Blount's lack of commitment.

According to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Blount racked up $15,000 in fines for tardiness in his first two weeks in Tampa, prompting general manager Mark Dominik and former head coach Raheem Morris to force the rookie to hire a car service to wake him up and transport him for the three miles to One Buc Place.

Stroud adds that Blount continued to rely upon the car service in 2011, but occasionally caught up on his sleep in meeting rooms.

Blount was at the top of the depth chart during the minicamps, but Martin is expected to push for a starting job this summer. With improved depth at the position overall, Blount will have to continue to improve his habits, on and off the field. Otherwise, first-year head coach/task master Greg Schiano may be inclined to let Blount sleep on someone else's dime.

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Brian Price traded to Bears?

Yes:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade Brian Price to Bears

By Gregg Rosenthal

Around The League editor

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano continues to aggressively re-shape his roster, letting go of pieces he believes no longer fit the team.

The Buccaneers traded defensive tackle Brian Price to the Chicago Bears for an undisclosed 2013 draft pick. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that it was a late-round draft pick. The Buccaneers also cut wide receiver Dez Briscoe.

In Price and Briscoe, Schiano jettisoned two players who have been in the news this offseason. Price reportedly punched rookie Mark Barron during a team meeting. Price also missed much of the offseason -- including some time in the hospital -- to be with his family after the tragic loss of his sister. Perhaps the deal will give Price, who has struggled with injuries, a chance to make a fresh start.

Briscoe also missed some of the Buccaneers' voluntary workouts this offseason. The reserve receiver was embroiled in some sort of controversy involving the reality show "The Basketball Wives" that we managed to never learned about. Schiano probably didn't want to know much about it either, and now Briscoe is an ex-Buc.

Kellen Winslow is another Buccaneer who didn't fit the fold of what Schiano is looking for in "Buccaneer Men." And Winslow now is a Seattle Seahawk.

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The move of dropping Price really surprised me. There has to be more to the story because it's not like the Bucs are loaded at DT.

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I don't care what they got for this bum, a bag of peanuts and a six pack is a good deal IMO. He may have had talent but after being kicked off the field last year and his offseason trouble I was done with him. Couple that with his bionic hamstrings that are a big Mac away from tearing off his pelvis, and it's a welcome dismissal. Good riddance.

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I don't care what they got for this bum, a bag of peanuts and a six pack is a good deal IMO. He may have had talent but after being kicked off the field last year and his offseason trouble I was done with him. Couple that with his bionic hamstrings that are a big Mac away from tearing off his pelvis, and it's a welcome dismissal. Good riddance.

My point was that it amounts to a wasted high draft pick :X

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His offseason trouble?? His younger sister died man. Jesus.

And he punched Barron.
Big deal. NFL fights happen all the time.

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Dez Briscoe surprised to be cut by Buccaneers

By David Weiner NFL.com

New Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano's purge of players who don't buy in to his system continued on Thursday when the team cut productive wide receiver Dez Briscoe and traded defensive tackle Brian Price to the Bears.

Schiano's approach has left behind some hurt feelings: Briscoe's agent, Erik Burkhardt, told the Tampa Times that his client was disappointed by the news.

"We were surprised. Dez loved it there," Burkhardt said. "He loves Josh Freeman. He loves the team.

"He had six touchdowns and led the team in what was basically his rookie year. Very few receivers catch six touchdowns when they’re the No. 3 guy on an offense that doesn’t score many touchdowns."

Briscoe also missed this offseason's voluntary team workouts, and engaged in a public Twitter feud with girlfriend Royce Reed of the TV show "Basketball Wives."

"Yes, he had his personal issues this offseason, but he’s a great kid," Burkhardt said. "He doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink. He’s a very quiet guy."

Price, a former second-round pick from UCLA who lost his sister, Bridgett James, in a car accident this year, was dealt for a late-round draft pick. The Tampa Times reported that the 303-pounder was traded on Thursday after he completed just four of the 16 110-yard sprints that constituted Schiano's conditioning drill. The newspaper said trainers thought Price most likely tore some scar tissue after the fourth sprint.

Tight end Kellen Winslow, an earlier victim of The Schiano Way when he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in May, noted last month how he couldn't adapt to the coach's more militaristic approach.

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IMO if Schiano can stick around for a few years and actually win some games this Tom Coughlin Jr. approach will pay off. Guys will figure it out pretty quickly that the dude means what he says and they're going to be held accountable.

But he's gotta win. Even Coughlin was almost run out of town after a few middling years.

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But he's gotta win.

:goodposting: With the defense they have, I don't see it happening this year. With Bowers and Price not panning out, that is a big blow to the investment in the DLine and the back 7 is underwhelming imo. All three teams in their division have offenses that can put up a lot of points. The Bucs aren't (yet) built to win high-scoring affairs imo.

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I'm not going to judge Schiano until I see some of the results on the field or at least the battle plan. He's the new coach, wants to send a message, Price should have been solid but maybe he has an attitude behind the scenes.

I wouldn't mind Briscoe finding his way down to Miami, he has upside in the NFL...slow yes but good hands and size it would seem.

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I'm not including his sisters death as an off season problem. I was referring to the Barron incident. Although fights happen in the NFL, they shouldn't happen in a meeting room before the #1 pick has ever put pads on. Whatever the reason for the scuffle, I doubt Barron was the cause. Bama usually installs great character in its players, and let's not forget, Price got kicked out of a game last year, by a coach who was labeled as being too soft. I may be wrong but I'm not shedding a tear for this guy being traded.

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IMO if Schiano can stick around for a few years and actually win some games this Tom Coughlin Jr. approach will pay off. Guys will figure it out pretty quickly that the dude means what he says and they're going to be held accountable.

But he's gotta win. Even Coughlin was almost run out of town after a few middling years.

:goodposting:

Greg Schiano is clearly bringing his "my way or the highway" approach to the Bucs and he likes complete control over his teams. Peter King wrote reports that he stipulated the details all the way down to dictating the room temperature in his meeting rooms and the type of noodles that were served with the pasta at lunch:

Excerpt from a Peter King column:

Greg Schiano is a control freak. And that's the major explanation, at least in my mind, for why you trade a productive tight end like Kellen Winslow for something so paltry as a seventh-round draft choice, which the Bucs did Monday in dealing him to Seattle: The new coach doubted he was going to be able to control Winslow.

The Bucs are rewriting the rules of their program under Schiano. A friend of mine at Rutgers once told me Schiano was an acquired taste; he was insistent, for instance, that team meetings at road hotels be held with the room at a precise temperature. I forget what the temperature was. But that was the depth of his detail work. There's nothing particularly wrong with that. It's just that it's not for everyone.

Second excerpt:

I mentioned the other day on SI.com that Greg Schiano was a -- shall we say -- quirky and very particular head coach at Rutgers, and that during team meetings at road hotels, the temperature in the meeting rooms had to be at a precise number.

Come to find out now that once, at a Scarlet Knights team dinner, the food service people got upbraided by a Rutgers staffer because the pasta being served was the wrong noodle.

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Bucs WR Benn to miss time with knee injury

Posted July 28, 2012 @ 11:27 a.m. ET

By PFW staff

Buccaneers WR Arrelious Benn injured his right knee in practice on Friday and could miss a month, according to The Tampa Bay Times.

Benn had 30 catches for 441 yards last season and three touchdown catches. He started all 14 games he played. Benn is entering his third NFL season.

In Saturday’s practice, starting WR Mike Williams suffered a leg injury and was carted off, according to multiple reports. Head coach Greg Schiano said he believed it was just cramps.

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Maybe they'll be calling Dez Briscoe back? :unsure:

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Bucs WR Benn to miss time with knee injury

Posted July 28, 2012 @ 11:27 a.m. ET

By PFW staff

Buccaneers WR Arrelious Benn injured his right knee in practice on Friday and could miss a month, according to The Tampa Bay Times.

Benn had 30 catches for 441 yards last season and three touchdown catches. He started all 14 games he played. Benn is entering his third NFL season.

In Saturday's practice, starting WR Mike Williams suffered a leg injury and was carted off, according to multiple reports. Head coach Greg Schiano said he believed it was just cramps.

Another super buy low in dynasty.

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Maybe they'll be calling Dez Briscoe back? :unsure:

The Redskins have signed Briscoe.

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I am new to this board, but not FF or the Bucs. I live just outside of Tampa and follow them closely having written weekly Bucs reports at a couple of other MB in the past few years. I will be going to the Bucs night practice this Saturday and a regular training camp session the following Monday. If there are specific things that some of you would like me to focus on please let me know. The areas I am paying attention to for myself are: Freeman...his conditioning and confidence level especially in his new targets (Jackson and Dallas C); Any hints as to how the RB carries will be split (I know...tough to gauge from practice); the O-line; Rhonde B at Safety; Which WR work out of the slot; rookie RB Martin. This looks like and active, knowledgeable board and I hope to both gain from it and add to it.

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1343870497' post='14596873']I am new to this board, but not FF or the Bucs. I live just outside of Tampa and follow them closely having written weekly Bucs reports at a couple of other MB in the past few years. I will be going to the Bucs night practice this Saturday and a regular training camp session the following Monday. If there are specific things that some of you would like me to focus on please let me know. The areas I am paying attention to for myself are: Freeman...his conditioning and confidence level especially in his new targets (Jackson and Dallas C); Any hints as to how the RB carries will be split (I know...tough to gauge from practice); the O-line; Rhonde B at Safety; Which WR work out of the slot; rookie RB Martin. This looks like and active, knowledgeable board and I hope to both gain from it and add to it.

:thumbup::popcorn:

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I am new to this board, but not FF or the Bucs. I live just outside of Tampa and follow them closely having written weekly Bucs reports at a couple of other MB in the past few years. I will be going to the Bucs night practice this Saturday and a regular training camp session the following Monday. If there are specific things that some of you would like me to focus on please let me know. The areas I am paying attention to for myself are: Freeman...his conditioning and confidence level especially in his new targets (Jackson and Dallas C); Any hints as to how the RB carries will be split (I know...tough to gauge from practice); the O-line; Rhonde B at Safety; Which WR work out of the slot; rookie RB Martin. This looks like and active, knowledgeable board and I hope to both gain from it and add to it.

Welcome! I was heading to the practice but after it started raining decided to go to the Hard Rock instead lol. High hopes for our offense this year, but very pessimistic about our D tbh.

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I am new to this board, but not FF or the Bucs. I live just outside of Tampa and follow them closely having written weekly Bucs reports at a couple of other MB in the past few years. I will be going to the Bucs night practice this Saturday and a regular training camp session the following Monday. If there are specific things that some of you would like me to focus on please let me know. The areas I am paying attention to for myself are: Freeman...his conditioning and confidence level especially in his new targets (Jackson and Dallas C); Any hints as to how the RB carries will be split (I know...tough to gauge from practice); the O-line; Rhonde B at Safety; Which WR work out of the slot; rookie RB Martin. This looks like and active, knowledgeable board and I hope to both gain from it and add to it.

Welcome! I was heading to the practice but after it started raining decided to go to the Hard Rock instead lol. High hopes for our offense this year, but very pessimistic about our D tbh.
The best buzz I've heard so far from camp on D is Mark Barron. A lot of talk about him being NFL-ready....and Ronde has taken him under his wing.

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How's Doug MArtin looking? I thought I heard he's taking most if not all 1st team reps. Sounds like Blount is defintley RB2 on the Bucs.

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NFL Network's Rich Hollenberg, who is live at Bucs camp, suggested on Inside Training Camp Live Wednesday that Doug Martin could emerge as the leader of a "one-horse backfield" in Tampa Bay this season."I think he could end up being the steal of the first round, if he ends up playing the way that he's practicing so far in training camp," Hollenberg said. "... Greg Schiano has said already in training camp, if we're gonna have a one-horse backfield, he doesn't want to force that, he wants to let it happen naturally. And so far ... it seems to be happening that way in the favor of rookie Doug Martin." LeGarrette Blount remains in the hunt for playing time, but it sounds like he'd need a Martin injury to recapture legit fantasy value.

I still think Blount is going to get his fair share of looks. This offense is going to want to establish the run, and there aren't too many rookie RBs that can hold up to a 300 carry wordkload. That being said, I've seen nothing but positive news regarding Martin so far.

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i went to the night practice. Ive gone to training camp practices every year.

This was a bit unusual, the vibe was most certainly different than anything I remember across the last several coaching staffs... Generally speaking, everytime I go to these practices someone opens my eye... someone will jump of the field as far as effort or talent levels... This one was a bit unusual, there was no single player that 'flashed'. There were several that had a few good plays, and I did walk away with a few opinions...

1. While VJax didnt have any highlight type catches, he seemed very business like and focused. While the sample size was small (1 practice, several hours) I would agree with the sentiment I have heard recently.. That he is a professional and is workman like in his approach.

2. Doug Martin is not 'small'. While he is short in stature, there is nothing small about the way he runs. Ive seen many RB's come through that are smaller framed guys... He is not one of them. The guy is put together and solid. Dudes calves are monsterous. In one of the drills he executed a spin move/juke that was unlike any RB ive seen here. The comparisons to Rice/MJD seem fair. Hands are very soft and sure. He's gonna be a great WR out of the backfield.

3. Carl Nicks is a beast. The entire offensive line should be ruthless.

4. Lavonte David has "it". He's small for a LB, but he finds the ball and wont hesitate to drop a hat on someone.

5. Wow Josh Freeman looks different. (physically)

6. Michael Smith is NOT just a camp body and given a chance he will turn heads. Hope he runs back kickoffs. Look terrific doing it. This is a guy I want to aquire in deep dynastys.

7. Our defense is going to get shelled barring a miracle.

8. Dallas Clark has great hands/focus and veteran savvy but.. that tank is almost dry. He will make a great stop gap until Stocker develops.

Edited by Dirk Digler

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NFL Network's Rich Hollenberg, who is live at Bucs camp, suggested on Inside Training Camp Live Wednesday that Doug Martin could emerge as the leader of a "one-horse backfield" in Tampa Bay this season."I think he could end up being the steal of the first round, if he ends up playing the way that he's practicing so far in training camp," Hollenberg said. "... Greg Schiano has said already in training camp, if we're gonna have a one-horse backfield, he doesn't want to force that, he wants to let it happen naturally. And so far ... it seems to be happening that way in the favor of rookie Doug Martin." LeGarrette Blount remains in the hunt for playing time, but it sounds like he'd need a Martin injury to recapture legit fantasy value.

I still think Blount is going to get his fair share of looks. This offense is going to want to establish the run, and there aren't too many rookie RBs that can hold up to a 300 carry wordkload. That being said, I've seen nothing but positive news regarding Martin so far.
I still think Rich Hollenberg drafted Doug Martin in his NFL Network Fantasy League, and NEEDS him to be the workhorse back to justify the pick, so his reporting is slanted......to be fair, I own Blount, in a League that I guarantee has more money at stake than any League Rich Hollenberg is in, and I need Blount to get at least 50% of total RB production to feel good about making the playoffs, so it is what it is...

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...to be fair, I own Blount, in a League that I guarantee has more money at stake than any League Rich Hollenberg is in, and I need Blount to get at least 50% of total RB production to feel good about making the playoffs, so it is what it is...

Cross your fingers, I think your on the bad end of the odds on this one. If it's PPR your in big trouble. Blount definetly looks like hes lost some weight and does seem focused but those hands are bricks. He has some unique skills but they are not in the passing game... with that defense the Bucs are playing from behind alot this year... ball control / pounding the rock is a great idea in concept but this defense will not support that kind of approach. I hear the bla,bla, bla.. about Sciano and run first approach too.. but when your down by 14 every game, its going to be impossible to support a 60/40 split and if they try they NEED the threat of play action and backfield dump offs (a Freeman specialty)... Blount will get sum carries not doubt but if your banking on 50+% of a heavy RB workload.. Your in a tough spot.Plus... I think we are looking at a 3 headed monster rather than just the 2. 50/30/20 split if I had to guess. With Blount holding aout 30%/ Edited by Dirk Digler

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I'm counting on them running plenty of Shotgun Draw vs the Nickel and Dime packages they face. Blount blasts through the 1st line of Defense, as it rushes upfield to knock Freeman's block off, and he only has to run over 5-6 puny DB's who are just as likely to get out of his way as they are to attempt an arm tackle...

...delusional, I know, but it's that time of year, and a man's gotta dream.

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i went to the night practice. Ive gone to training camp practices every year. This was a bit unusual, the vibe was most certainly different than anything I remember across the last several coaching staffs... Generally speaking, everytime I go to these practices someone opens my eye... someone will jump of the field as far as effort or talent levels... This one was a bit unusual, there was no single player that 'flashed'. There were several that had a few good plays, and I did walk away with a few opinions...1. While VJax didnt have any highlight type catches, he seemed very business like and focused. While the sample size was small (1 practice, several hours) I would agree with the sentiment I have heard recently.. That he is a professional and is workman like in his approach.2. Doug Martin is not 'small'. While he is short in stature, there is nothing small about the way he runs. Ive seen many RB's come through that are smaller framed guys... He is not one of them. The guy is put together and solid. Dudes calves are monsterous. In one of the drills he executed a spin move/juke that was unlike any RB ive seen here. The comparisons to Rice/MJD seem fair. Hands are very soft and sure. He's gonna be a great WR out of the backfield. 3. Carl Nicks is a beast. The entire offensive line should be ruthless.4. Lavonte David has "it". He's small for a LB, but he finds the ball and wont hesitate to drop a hat on someone.5. Wow Josh Freeman looks different. (physically)6. Michael Smith is NOT just a camp body and given a chance he will turn heads. Hope he runs back kickoffs. Look terrific doing it. This is a guy I want to aquire in deep dynastys.7. Our defense is going to get shelled barring a miracle.8. Dallas Clark has great hands/focus and veteran savvy but.. that tank is almost dry. He will make a great stop gap until Stocker develops.

The night practice was a much less showy and much more 'down to business' affair than it had been under Raheem. I guess it had to be since they only get ONE practice a day. No QB shootout, no Oklahoma drill, no one-on-one challenge. It actually looked like a practice. I have to agree with Dirk on all of these points. The big problem for Tampa again this season will be the defense. Yes, they HAVE improved and getting a couple of new solid players will help. BUT they are REALLY thin on the D-line and at this point the drop off from 1st string to 2nd is pretty steep. I also went to a regular camp session Monday morning. I will add the following points.1. I DON'T buy Blount at the top of the depth chart that was released today. Martin has the type of motor you need in a RB and looks like a MUCH more complete player than Blount. In the 2min drill yesterday, Blount was pretty much watching from the sidelines the whole time. This may end up being a split backfield, but it will only take a couple of loose balls or missed blocking assignments to get Blount on the sideline more. 2. Preston Parker and Sammie Stroughter were all over the field in both practices making plays. They are not worth drafting for fantasy, but from what I saw, Briscoe will not be missed. Tiquan Underwood is also in the mix. He is quick and has good hands (and awesome "Kid & Play" hair). His main problem is he looks like he only weighs about 150 and has skinny little legs.3. Mike Williams and Freeman will BOTH benefit from having VJax. Opens up the passing game a LOT and Clark looks like he is an upgrade over Winslow. He is a gamer.4. The Bucs O-line is massive. They were in front of us at practice and all I could think was, "Glad I'm not buying the food for those 5 this week". Adding Nicks to this group could really bring them to the next level (especially when Penn Gets back from a minor injury).5. I can't wait to see Rhonde at free Safety. He has the smarts to get it done. Class act all around. He was the only major player to sign autographs after practice yesterday and was at it for a while. I am hoping for extended play from the 1st team this week at Miami. It is so hard to figure things out from camp. I keep asking myself if I overlooked anything in camp that would have tipped me off that a 4-12 season was on the way and I can't think of anything.

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