The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had their first training camp practice Saturday afternoon, but unfortunately it wasn’t much of an actual practice due to some lightning.
Just 10 minutes in, the sirens sounded and players had to scurry inside. With several lightning strikes in the immediate area, the time kept getting pushed back. The delay lasted 1 hour and 50 minutes. Fans still stuck around.
At 7:11, sirens sounded once again, and practice was called after 54 minutes.
Head coach Lovie Smith said players were still able to get in some mental reps during a 90 minute walk-through in the morning, and that delays like this will help prepare them for game situations. especially with 4:25 and 4:05 kickoff times to start the season.
“That’s not an ideal first day for us, but as I told the football team, when we play Carolina [Panthers], we could get a rain delay,” Smith said. “You have to be able to go in and then come back out. Everything that you do in the offseason, the preseason and training camp is to get you ready for the football season.”
He said even with concerns about future thunderstorms, there are no plans to re-work the schedule.
“I’ve looked at the schedule. We worked the schedule. You don’t change what you’ve been doing just based on one day. Rain happens. The last time I was down here, we missed a couple days with rain. In Chicago, we missed a couple days with rain, but that’s not going to change what we’ll do.”
“If something continues to happen and we miss a lot of them, just like in a game, you’ll change it up then, but you don’t change up what you believe. We put a lot of time into this practice schedule so we’re not going to change anything right away.”
He said the teams are still on-schedule to practice in pads for the first time Sunday, the first day in which they can have padded practices under the new CBA.
Play of the Day: A Near-Pick for Casillas
There wasn’t a whole lot of on-field action, but during 7 on 7s, strongside linebacker Jonathan Casillas nearly picked off backup quarterback Mike Glennon.
Casillas lined up close to the line of scrimmage and batted down the pass, juggling it in the air for a split second as he dove backwards, unable to hold onto it.
The effort drew plenty of cheers from fans, recognizing the integral role turnovers have in Lovie Smith’s defense.
Also impressing was rookie wide receiver Robert Herron, who made a nice catch in traffic on a crossing route.
Life Without Carl Nicks
With Carl Nicks officially gone, Smith said that the Bucs will have Jamon Meredith taking first-team reps at left guard, and O’Niel Cousins starting at right guard.
Meredith said he didn’t even know about Nicks or that he’d be assuming a starting role until after practice.
“The first time I heard about it was when [the media] came in and told me,” said Meredith to reporters. “I was at practice, so I don’t have a phone or Twitter out there. So this is news to me. I figured something was wrong because you all came and talked to me. I knew it had to be something. I heard about it, and that’s really unfortunate.”
Over the past two seasons, Meredith has started 20 games, including lining up in Nicks’ spot. He believes that just like the two times before when Nicks was hurt, the team can absorb the loss.
“It happened on the fly, and we found a way to keep improving. I think we’ll be okay. Honestly, I really do. I know the media might try to panic a little bit, but we’re okay. I think we’ll be fine.”
Cornerback Situation Gets Clarity
On the eve of training camp, the Bucs parted ways with D.J. Moore, a veteran cornerback who was expected to be among the leading candidates for the nickel back job.
“To release a player like D.J. Moore, who I have a history with, I’ve seen in every situation, is tough. But we like Leonard Johnson, Danny Gorrer…we have a couple of others that were able to do some things when D.J. went down with an injury.”
“We just felt like we had some good, young depth at the position and we liked them and we had to go in a different direction.”