The Bucs held their annual night practice at Raymond James Stadium Saturday, which also marked the first padded practice of training camp. Players participated in a series of positional drills and fun contests before partaking in a live scrimmage in front of 33,000 fans.
The event, which lasted over two hours, was capped off by each quarterback running the two-minute offense. Both Josh Freeman and Mike Glennon moved the ball fairly well under the bright lights.
“I thought our quarterbacks, the balls were popping off their arms…popping off their hands,” said Coach Schiano. “There were some good seam routes where the ball got there in a hurry…and there’s no substitute for that.”
Glennon actually out-performed Freeman in the moving-target test or quarterbacks, but during the scrimmage portion, you could see Glennon is still trying to adjust to the speed of the NFL.
Running back Brian Leonard capped the night off with a big 34-yard touchdown run.
Signed as a free agent this offseason, Leonard doesn’t have the powerful running style of Doug Martin or the physicality of Peyton Hillis, but he’s a smart, intuitive player that is deceivingly athletic and could be a solid third-down running back.
Tiquan Underwood had an impressive catch-and-run for a touchdown but it was called back.
Tight end Tom Crabtree caught a few short passes for the night and appears to be winning the competition at tight end, although he’s not getting much of any with Luke Stocker out with injury.
The 25-pound weight loss transformation for Gerald McCoy doesn’t appear to be impacting his ability to wreak havoc in the backfield. He did just that, although it wasn’t against Pro-Bowl-caliber competition.
The true test for McCoy will be facing guards Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph when both have regained health.
Darrelle Revis got in some work on positional drills but did not participate in the scrimmage portion of practice. The coaching staff will continue to ease him into practice while giving younger players some opportunities.
Rookie Johnthan Banks took Revis’ place and more than held his own, going one-on-one with Vincent Jackson and nearly picking off Freeman.
Second-year cornerback Leonard Johnson also impressed during one-on-one battles. Johnson came down hard on his back while breaking up one particular pass. That kind of effort is why he was able to earn a roster spot last season as an undrafted free agent and eventually become a starter.
Defensive end Adrian Clayborn is well on his way to a full-recovery after a season-ending knee injury last year. Saturday night was the first time in over 10 months that he put on pads.
“Every day has been a new step for Adrian, and today was great,” said Schiano. “He got a knocked on his rear one time on that inside run drill, at the beginning – it was the best thing that could have happened to him.”
Schiano believed it helped Clayborn get over the jitters of putting on pads for the first time since the injury.
“He was laughing, I was laughing, and now he can go. That’s good for him. Then he went down in the pass rush and kicked some butt…that’s what I heard.”
Teammate Jonathan Casillas said his good friend didn’t miss a beat.
“For him to come back the way he did — you can’t even see…he doesn’t look like he’s missing a step.”
Concerns for the Kicking Game?
When Connor Barth was placed on Injured Reserve, there was immediate concern over who could replace him and have the same type of success from 40-50 yards out, where Barth truly shined.
The team’s newly-signed kicker Lawrence Tynes opened up practice drilling field goals from 55 and 58 yards out in a special kicking competition.
Tynes then missed what would have been a game-tying 42-yard field goal.
Safety Ahmad Black suffered an injury to his right ankle during practice and limped off the field. Schiano was not immediately aware of the extent of the injury.
Several other players were either held out of Saturday’s practice or participated on a limited basis.
Defensive tackle Gary Gibson turned his ankle during Thursday’s practice in what appeared to be the first injury of camp. After being tended to by trainers, he attempted to return, but due to swelling, was unable to.
Cornerback Danny Gorrer is suffering from a groin injury and will likely be held out for a few days. Fullback Erik Lorig has been suffering from a calf injury and is also expected to miss a few days.
Rookie defensive end William Gholston is suffering from a hamstring injury and attempted to practice Saturday, but was held out.
None of these injuries are expected to be long-term.
More Night Practice Coverage
The team will practice Sunday morning from 10:30 – 12:15. The practice is closed to the public. The next public practice will be Monday, July 29 at 8:45 a.m.