Bucs Report to Training Camp: What to Expect

Bucs Training Camp Preview

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers reported to training camp Thursday morning and now they are ready to get to work.

Amanda Borges and Jenna Laine talk about what to expect during camp and what big position battles will take place.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp Quotes – 7/24/14
HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH

(Opening statement)
“Hope everybody had a great summer. I did. As I left last time, I talked to you about you guys going to the Bahamas and different places and I was so excited about [my] vacation spot: Tampa Bay. Tampa, Florida. Unloading boxes, we got all that done – I know y’all are pretty concerned about that. Our football team, I didn’t have to wake up with the alarm clock this morning – most of the time I don’t though. Of course it’s pretty special to finally get this day here. To see the players coming in last night checking in to the hotel, I hadn’t seen most of them in a few weeks in a long period of time really. But just to see the excitement on their faces. These six, seven months have gone by pretty quick. A lot of changes – a different look to our football team. Been getting a chance to work with them a little bit on the practice field through the offseason workouts, but all of that was geared towards getting to this spot. As we left, I asked the players to make a commitment – you know, we can get a lot better during this break, starting off with all of us losing weight and getting down. We want to be a faster team, a leaner team. Early reports are that the guys did a great job with that. Put ourselves in a position to take the practice field tomorrow. Excited about going out there with them. We have training camp battles coming up – for roster spots, for starting spots, but for us, as much as anything, to continue our evaluation of our players. Feel like we’re going to be a good football team. I know the fans, I’ve gotten so much response from them about what they’re expecting from our football team and that’s what we plan on giving them: a team that shows up each day, each week giving great effort, playing hard and making Raymond James [Stadium] a place where teams are afraid and they talk about coming here because it’s going to be so hard to play. That’s where we are. Training camp is here. I haven’t had a chance to be a part of a training camp that’s right at your facility for awhile. It’s good to see it set up out here. We want our fans to have a chance to see their team. Guys will be accessible for them. Get up close and personal. For you, I hope you get the chance to get to know our players a little bit better. We’re going to try to make your job easy to let our fans see their football team.”

(On his opening training camp message to the players)
“I know you and players, I guess, you want something like ‘OK this is what it’s about, this training camp.’ But for me, I’m kind of the same every year. It’s kind of the same message really every year. I talked in the offseason about the man in the mirror. You know I’m a big Michael Jackson fan. Which says everybody take care of yourselves, spend all your time with you and improving yourself. I’m going to talk to our team. Two o’clock is really our first football meeting we’ll have. We had another meeting early just about having a career year. No matter how you’ve played so far, we need all of us to have the best year that we’ve had and it starts out there. It’s not a magic pill. It’s just hard work, going to work from today on and that’s what we plan on doing.”

(On the lack of distractions for the team during the offseason and if the team is only focused on football)
“It’s definitely just about football. We have a new staff coming in. As coaches, we’ve said we’re starting from scratch. Show us. Show us that you belong on the field, that you belong as a starter for us. And I think along the way, everything we’ve said has come true as far as our evaluation of them. As a football team and as a coach, yeah you want it to be about football. And I feel like that’s what it will be about.”

(On the status of the team’s injuries heading into training camp)
“We had Carl [Nicks], Dashon [Goldson], Mark Barron, we had a few guys miss all of the offseason really. Two of the players, Mark Barron and Dashon Goldson, will be out on the football field tomorrow. Carl Nicks has been excused right now for personal reasons so we haven’t seen Carl yet. I think the rest of the guys should be good to go. When players come back from an injury, it’s not like we’re going to – well first off, the first couple of days you can’t be in pads so we’ll run around in our underwear a little bit longer. But eventually, of course, you want to see the guys back out there. We’ll take our time to get them back into the mix.”

(On the status of Carl Nicks)
“He’s been excused today, right now. And that’s about all I know. He won’t be here today. We’ll be able to let you know a little bit more later.”

(On if everyone else reported to the facility today)
“[Carl Nicks] is the only one. We know where everyone is. Like I said, I waited for the last guy to show up last night and everybody checked in, got a great night’s sleep and they’re here today.”

(On what about the team is still unknown)
“Oh yeah, there’s a lot of unknown. All we know right now is what we look like without pads. We’ve had meetings. We know about all the things we’ve done, and that’s meetings and what you can do in your time without pads. But it’s a contact sport. It’s Tampa. From what I’ve seen this summer, we play in the elements here too. So there’s a lot we have to find out about our football team still.”

(On today’s conditioning test for the players)
“Some things, of course, we’ll keep amongst ourselves. But that term, ‘conditioning test,’ I have never been one for big conditioning tests. I feel like we have our players here, they’ve been going on through the program that we’ve had throughout. Instead of us getting their muscles sore, we want the first time we see them to be out there on the football field. So conditioning test-wise, it wasn’t much. There really wasn’t a conditioning test, per se.”

(On what it says about the players that continued to train after OTAs were completed)
“It does [say a lot], but I expected that. And believe me, in order for us to have the type of football team that we expect, there has to be a lot of self-motivation like that. As we left, I think the guys used that as an opportunity to really get better. Coaching can only do so much but I think the guys, I mean we were 4-12 – they’re tired of that and they’ll do whatever it takes to take this next step.”

(On the things he took from his year off and has implemented into training camp)
“There were a few things. Most of the things – I found out about what we’ve done – I really liked. Training camp and how we do training camp, the amount of contact, how long we’re on the field, what we do drill-wise. Not much of that will change based on what I know and what I believe in still. So we’ll have contact. We’re not going to scrimmage every day. At first, you kind of just have to establish what you have training camp for and what you’re trying to get accomplished. Goals. That’s, for us, number one: trying to get the best 53 guys – really 61 with eight practice squad guys – and just let the competition play out. As you come to our camp, there’s not a whole lot of secrets. All 32 teams for the most part will be doing basically the same things. We just have different guys doing it.”

(On if he’s concerned with Nicks’ absence)
“It doesn’t concern me; it’s a part of training camp, part of life. During the course of the year, you’re going to have guys that have things that come up where they can’t be here. What you can’t do is just concentrate on that a whole lot. Everything is fine, we’ll be ok with it. There are just too many other things that are going on with the rest of our crew, including the other guys that are here right now.”

(On starting his first training camp as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
“Just excitement. I know I’m not jumping up with pom-poms right now, but, believe me, I’ve seen this day for a long time, we have. There’s a lot us excited about getting out there on the football field, a lot of new faces that haven’t actually gone through a training camp here, for me of course in a while, but for some of the players ever, and you’re anxious to see exactly what we have as a football team. There are so many things that we like from what we did in the offseason work, but now seeing the team come together and as players start working out, you know that pretty soon you’re in front of a bigger audience. There’s definitely a sense of urgency, which you like, and, for me, I just want- as a coaching staff we want a competitive camp and just let the guys tell us exactly where they belong. In the end I don’t think the decisions are really that hard as far as who do you start, who makes the ball club. It will be obvious to all.”

(On if Nicks’ absence hurts the judgment of the offensive line)
“Not at all. This is how I look at it in general: when a player is injured, he doesn’t practice and we’re going to have that throughout. You just move on; it’s a chance to see other guys. It’s always about who’s there, who’s available to work out. Again Carl missed all of the offseason, Dashon Goldson, Mark Barron, they missed all of the offseason, and we got other players a lot better. With 90 guys, there are a lot of players that we have to evaluate.”

(On quarterback Josh McCown coming into training camp as a starter for the first time in 10 years)
“A decade, I haven’t quite looked at it like that. I was just thinking about that decade, that’s a long time. It is different and Josh will be the first guy to tell you, but he’s a little bit different. He’s not just your average guy that we’re talking about as far as that’s concerned. As far as the new offense coming in, quarterback and Mike linebacker, they have to be the assistant coaches and they have to be really involved in everything that we’re doing. I think for Josh, he’s just excited still even though he’s been playing for a long time. Like most rookies, he probably had that same rookie feeling right now which you want and whether it’s – I can be truthful I don’t know how many years I’ve been doing this, a lot now and a lot of us, we should all have that type of excitement. Guys like Josh have been doing it for a while or the rookie that’s coming in.”

(On what the team’s ceiling is)
“We are a 4-12 team though and the first thing we have to acknowledge is this is where we’re starting, which we have. That should give us a little bit more motivation. The ceiling for the team, I don’t know. All I’m going to talk to them about, back to the point about what’s the motto? What’s the slogan? It’s just daily improvement and let’s see how good. Let’s not put a ceiling, let’s see how good we can become and how soon we can become a really good football team. It’s just about the daily effort to me; I’m really big on grading everything and every play. It’s plus or minus every play and for our players to just grade themselves like that each play I just think we can make – we like a player at every position and that normally leads to good things happening.”

(On what he would consider a successful season)
Being a veteran coach, I stay away from those rookie questions right there a little bit. Seriously no, I don’t know exactly what it’ll – goal-wise it’s the same goal we’ll always have. From 4-12 to the goal is to go to Phoenix (Arizona). The goal is destination Phoenix. You can see we have things to do, you can see right here. Destination: Phoenix of course, we want to win the Super Bowl. I know I hear some snickers on that right there, but that’s our plan from there. Goal-wise, we’re going to talk about winning all of our games at Raymond James, we want to win the NFC South Division and then see where we can go from there. What record it takes to do that, I don’t know.”

(On setting fan expectations on the defense)
“The pressure, it’s there, but for us you have to come in with high expectations and as I talk about what our ultimate goal is, winning the Super Bowl, it’s all a process. For our players we have to talk, we have to set that ceiling high right away. To me it’s just as simple as that, the pressure to do well and to be patient. Yeah, we’re starting off as 4-12 team, judge us from there and see the improvement and lets just kind of see where we go. To me it’s as simple as that. Players like Derrick Brooks, Derrick has been in the system, he knows. Derrick wasn’t a Hall of Famer right away, in 1996 Derrick wasn’t picked as a Hall of Famer then, they weren’t talking about us as a great defense then, but things can come around fairly quick and I just think that our starting spot right now is a little bit higher up. Again we don’t feel like we’re that far away, but it’s going to take some time.”

(On getting the team to bond)
“That’s a part of it and that’s what we’ve been doing too. In the offseason you spend a lot of time together, I think just the last part of it is just seeing how guys react once you put the pads on, that’s the only thing we haven’t done together. Every day that you’re together you get to know each other a little bit better and for all of us to see each other in certain situations, but that just comes as a process that you go through and there’s just no other way around it. For players coming, training camp’s long, it’s a long time before we play the game and you have to go through the daily grind and I think most real football players love that.”

(On the tight end position)
“Let me stop you there, that’s not necessarily fact that you can’t play three good tight ends together, they all do things differently if you look at it. Brandon [Myers] is more of a Y, line of scrimmage, Austin Seferian-Jenkins can do both, Tim [Wright] is more of a H-back, so they really have different roles and we will dress three tight ends each week and all three will play and it will be fun to see where they all kind of end up, but they give us a lot of options and not just them. Luke Stocker, you can throw him in there also.”

(On what type of environment he expects tomorrow)
“If it’s anything like the response we’ve gotten, it should be hopefully an exciting place. The fans are excited to be here and see their team for the first time, but we’re going to of course show up. Hopefully it’s full, but, for us, it’s us on the practice field. We’ve invited everyone to come, hopefully people would want to see their team.”

DEFENSIVE END DA’QUAN BOWERS

(On how his offseason went and if he’s ready to go)
“I think this has been my most consistent offseason since I’ve been a part of this organization. I’m excited, excited for a new staff, excited to actually be able to put pads on somebody. I’m excited for a new year.”

(On how he feels physically)
“I think this is probably the best I’ve felt coming into camp over the last couple years. Like I said, it’s been a consistent offseason for me. I’ve put in the work, I’m just ready to finally reap the benefits.”

(On General Manager Jason Licht saying that Bowers has to prove he can be an impact player)
“No question about it. I owe it to this organization, I owe it to this team. I’ve been here long enough and haven’t really been that player that I know I can be. I think it’s about time that I really put forth the extra foot and be that player I know I’m capable of being.”

(On what excites him about this training camp)
“It’s a scheme that I’m familiar with. It’s similar to the scheme that I ran in college. I love the coaching staff. Joe Cullen, our defensive line coach, has been great. He’s worked extensively with me one-on-one. I’m just ready for a new beginning and a new staff.”

(On bold predictions for the team)
“I don’t know, but I think we’re going to be a lot better than we were last year. I’m looking forward to it. The players are working hard, the coaches are working extremely hard and we’re just ready to put it all together.”

QUARTERBACK JOSH MCCOWN

(On what it’s like to report to camp again)
“It’s the same. It’s a fun time of year, going to camp. It’s always the same feeling. You get butterflies, nerves and anxiousness, just getting started. But for me, in my 13th year, it’s humbling to still be able to come do this. So I’m very thankful for the opportunity. It’s really cool.”

(On reporting as the starting quarterback for the first time in years)
“Again, very humbling, especially at this stage. But I’m excited because you know where you stand going into camp. So it is definitely a little bit of a departure from different years. But I’m excited about it. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be fun.”

(On how this team compares to the others he’s gone to camp with)
“It’s right up there at the top, just because of everything that we’ve done through the offseason, and where the focus is, where we’re headed. I feel like we learned a lot about ourselves through the spring and what it’s going to take for us to be a good football team, to win football games. That’s the key. Now we can come in and hone that. So it’s exciting when you think about that, because sometimes you come to camp and you’re still figuring things out. I feel like we’ve got a little bit more of a narrow focus now after we’ve evaluated things in the spring. We’ve got a good idea where we’re headed.”

(On how to keep the wraps on the offense in front of open practices)
“Yeah, I don’t know. We’ll see what the coaches have in store.”

(On what excites him the most about this team)
“Just the guys, just the type of guys that are in our locker room, high-character guys, and then the kinds of leaders that we have. Whether it’s Lavonte [David] or Gerald [McCoy] or Mason Foster, we’ve got guys on both sides of the ball that are good players and good people, and they lead. When you can come into those kinds of environments, when you have that environment in your locker room, you feel like…because adversity’s coming. You’re going to face some bumps in the road and things like that, so you want to know that you have guys in your locker room that can stay the ship and be the calm voice. I feel like we have a number of those guys, so that excites me the most.”

(On his sense of the public mood about the team)
“I’m getting a better sense of it. My family and I, we got here about six days ago and we’ve kind of been around. You see people around and you hear their words and you kind of get the idea that they want a winner, like every NFL city. I guess, for me, I didn’t realize, here in Tampa, how passionate they were about it. So it’s neat to see, and it sticks in the back of your mind. It definitely drives you. You want to deliver that for people, because you know how much the fans enjoy the game.”

(On if he has any bold predictions)
“No bold predictions. We’re just going to go out and play good football and see where that leads us. But I believe if we do the things we’re asked to do, what the coaches have laid out, I think we’ll look up at the end of the year and find ourselves in a favorable position. So that’s all we can do right now.”

(On how quickly he can get in sync with Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins)
“Well, it’s got to come fast. We need those guys. I’ve seen a little bit, just from the time we left until now, that they’re willing to put the work in. So we’ll get that done in camp. That’s the thing about camp, that you’ve got so much time together that you feel like you can really put in some work that can pay dividends. So I think so. We need those guys to come along and help us.”

(On the optimism of the team)
“It’s at a hundred, for everybody. Every NFL team feels this way right now. That’s what I mean when I say that what excites me about our guys is that optimism is everywhere right now but adversity is coming. It just does. It does for every team in the league every year, and it’s how you handle that that really is the measure of our team. That’s what I feel like about the guys in our locker room; we have guys that can handle those bumps and really stick together, and that’s the key. So we’re optimistic right now. We know things we’ll happen but it’s who we are and how we handle it that’s going to make a difference. But right now, when it’s new, you have to capitalize on that and let that energy build you as you put in some long hours trying to get better.”

DEFENSIVE TACKLE GERALD MCCOY

(On if the bathrobe he walked up to camp in is comfortable)
“Yeah, it’s comfy. This is going to be my home for the next month or so, so I might as well get comfortable.”

(On reporting to camp just a couple weeks after the birth of his twins)
“It’s definitely hard, but I will be getting some sleep now.”

(On his favorite thing about training camp)
“Just getting better, growing as a team. Training camp is extremely hard. I don’t care what coach you have, what team you have, training camp is not easy. But when you can come together with your brothers and you see your brother out there grinding, it makes you want to play that much harder for them on Sunday.”

(On the next step for the team)
“Everybody has all these expectations for us. We’ve got high expectations for ourselves. We have, quote unquote, ‘potential.’ Potential will get you cut. We have to go out there and put the work in and just get the job done. There’s not a whole lot of talking you have to do.”

(On if there’s something different about this camp besides the new coaches)
“This group has grown really close in a short period of time. So it’s going to be exciting to see [what] the little bit of work that you did get in and how it plays out once we put the pads on. I’m excited to see that.”

(On the defense going back to its Buccaneer roots)
“Yeah, it is exciting. This is the defense I grew up watching, and I always said to myself, ‘Man, it seems like they’re having a lot of fun.’ Now I get an opportunity to experience it myself and I’m excited.”

(On if it’s true that he was at One Buccaneer Place running just a day or so after his twins were born)
“Not a day or so – the following day. In the rain.”

(On that level of commitment)
“Just because you have kids, new babies, life still goes on. I’ve still got a career, and I definitely have motivation. I’ve got two twins at home, so I’ve got to work that much harder to provide for them.”

(On what he’s most excited about seeing come together in training camp)
“You know, I’m really excited to see what happens with our offense. They have so many dynamic players on that side of the ball. I’m excited to see how our O-Line comes together. I don’t know how much people really know how good Josh McCown is. I think a lot of people are about to see how good he is.”

TIGHT END AUSTIN SEFERIAN-JENKINS

(On how excited he is to finally work with the offense)
“I’m really excited. I haven’t been here that much this offense, but I’m finally here and that’s what counts. It’s time to get to work with everybody else.”

(On if he likes the talent around him on offense)
“Yeah, there’s a lot of good guys. You’ve got Vincent Jackson, you’ve got Mike Evans, you’ve got Tim Wright, you’ve got myself and a lot of other tight ends in the tight ends room that can do a lot of good things, along with some other receivers. We’ve got a lot of good guys and I’m excited to get to work.”

(On if he’s been working on anything in particular)
“I’ve been trying to work on everything. I haven’t been at this level before but I’m assuming everyone’s really, really good. So I’ve been trying to improve my game in any way possible. It’s going to be a process and every single day I’ve got to find something that I can get better at.”

(On if he feels like this is his first day)
“Not really. I got here on Friday. I was coming from Seattle. So that was the first day for me.”

(On looking forward to putting on pads and hitting)
“I’m just looking forward to getting out here, really, running around. We’ve got a conditioning test coming up, so I’m looking forward to that first and we’ll go from there.”

(On if he’s confident about the conditioning test)
“Yeah, yeah I am confident.”

(On what the test is)
“I don’t know, I’ve been trying to figure it out for the last couple weeks. I’m sure it’s a lot of running.”

(On if he worked with Josh McCown during the break)
“I got to throw with Josh a few days and we worked on routes. Obviously there wasn’t a ‘D’ that we could go against – it was ‘on air’ – but we got a little bit of our chemistry down, a little timing down.”

(On his health)
“I’m good. I’m 100 percent.”

(On if he’s behind in the playbook)
“I didn’t get the same amount as those guys physically, but mentally I might have gotten a different amount of reps because I’ve been watching it a lot. It all depends. When we get out there we’ll see how far behind I am or how right up to speed I am.”

(On how imaginative he thinks the offense will be under Jeff Tedford)
“If you watched him at Cal he did a lot of different things. I think that’s a good question you should ask Coach Tedford.”

(On the Bucs’ tight end depth with him, Brandon Myers and Tim Wright)
“Absolutely, and don’t forget about Luke Stocker. I’ve watched these guys, so it’s cool to be in that room and learn from them. It’s a competition, as everyone knows. Every single training camp is a competition. They’re good guys. We’re all trying to get better. They want the best for the team and that’s to have the best player play. Whoever that may be, after training camp we’ll figure that out. But it’s a group and we’re teammates. We’re working together so we can be better and win more games.”

Source: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Media

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