The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held their first mandatory minicamp practice Tuesday afternoon. Players practiced in shorts and shells for approximately 2.5 hours with temperatures around 90 degrees. Here are some highlights:
Carl Nicks eyes training camp for return
Pro Bowl left guard Carl Nicks was back at One Buc after missing most of the team’s OTAs. He is still recovering from a torn plantar plate in his toe and from a MRSA infection that forced him to miss nearly the entire 2013 season.
“My status is on schedule. I’m looking forward to being ready for training camp,” said Nicks.
He said he is currently working out on an elliptical machine and hopes to begin running soon, although the real test will be seeing how his foot, which he’s said is suffering from nerve damage, holds up.
Murphy and Gorrer shine
Wide receiver Louis Murphy got a lot more looks on offense, and he’s proving he can be a reliable target for Josh McCown. He lined up inside and outside, catching everything from quick strikes to deep balls.
“Louis had a couple of big plays today,” said head coach Lovie Smith. “[He’s] been here the entire time, hasn’t missed anything and has just made play after play. We have a lot of that type of competition going on of players that were in the background when I first got here that we’re taking notice [of].”
On defense, cornerback Danny Gorrer lined up at nickelback and had a number of pass breakups, along with a pick-6 of McCown during 7-on-7s. Smith took notice of that too.
“Danny has excellent speed, quickness, great acceleration, plant and drive, change of direction, all of those things and has decent hands,” Smith explained. “He made plays and as much as anything, that’s what we’re looking for — guys that don’t blend in.”
With the departure of Davin Joseph and the uncertainty of Nicks’ health, the offensive line has been an area of concern. Patrick Omameh got first team reps at right guard. “For him to be working with the group, tells you what we think of him and what he’s done right now,” said Smith.
Rookie Kadeem Edwards got to work with the ones at left guard.
“For a lot of our players coming in, what Kadeem showed us is just things we’re looking for: good body, smart guy, has shown good agility in the drills working with [offensive line] Coach [George] Warhop, but the next step is for him to get in more of the live action with rest of the group.”
With the team signing Evan Dietrich-Smith and Anthony Collins, Nicks and right tackle Demar Dotston are the only starters from last year’s offensive line still on the current roster.
Safety Mark Barron (hamstring) returned to practice. Wide receiver Mike Evans (hamstring), safety Dashon Goldson (foot), Nicks (foot) and cornerback Alterraun Verner (undisclosed) did not participate. Smith said he’s not concerned about injuries and doesn’t believe any players’ injuries will prevent them from participating in training camp next month.
“We probably have a few more hamstring injuries than I’d like right now, but that’s a part of it too, for guys to see exactly how we do things,” Smith said.
Six players are participating in minicamp this week on a tryout basis. They are: wide receiver David Gettis, safety Anthony Dye, cornerback Kip Edwards, linebacker T.J. Fatinikun, defensive tackle Ronald Talley and punter Kirby Van Der Kamp.