On Monday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers began their first of 10 organized team activities (OTAs), which are prescribed by the NFL and are voluntary. The coaching staff has spread the allotted days of OTAs over three weeks, so the Bucs will work out sporadically into June, which is when the mandatory mini-camp begins.
Attendance was good at the first practice, with no absences, according to Bucs head coach Greg Schiano. “I’m pleased with the start, not pleased with the sloppiness, but a good starting point,” Schiano told the media.
The highlight of the workout, which doesn’t allow any contact, per the collective bargaining agreement, was a fight between rookie defensive tackle Akeem Spence and center Jeremy Zuttah early in the workout. The fight lasted a short while, but everything was cleared up after that.
“I’m never going to back down,” Spence told reporters after practice. “Hopefully (Zuttah) respects me for that because I want to be a part of the team. It’s just me not knowing the speed. … Now I know I need to throttle it down a little bit, but at the same time get my work.
“I’m not going to back down from nobody so I mean I had to let that be known here on the first day here. So, hey, there it is.”
This was a case of a rookie trying to make a good first impression, and Zuttah letting Spence know that it’s not going to be easy in the NFL. But the league may look into the fact that there was contact during the practice.
Defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who missed most of last season with an ACL tear, participated in some individual drills on Monday. Clayborn is a projected starter on the defensive line and the Bucs need him to be healthy. Davin Joseph, Carl Nicks, and newcomer Darrelle Revis did not practice in the first OTA; however, Joseph and Nicks, who are both recovering from serious injuries, are on schedule and should be on the field in a couple of weeks.
Even though Schiano told the national media recently that rookie quarterback Mike Glennon has a chance to win the starting job, he reiterated on Monday that the team is Josh Freeman’s and that Freeman is the starter.
“We have our starting quarterback, it’s Josh Freeman,” Schiano said. “I’m not looking to find a new one, but I do like to have quality depth at every position, and when you get that, just naturally … it raises everybody’s level.”
It appears that there is a misconception as to what Schiano actually means. He’s stated multiple times that Freeman is their starter, but that Glennon will have a chance to compete, just like any other player will at any other position.
With workouts just kicking off, it was an eventful first day at One Buc Place. However, Schiano seemed pleased with the results overall and the fact that everyone was in attendance is good news for the Bucs, who are looking to take a giant step forward this season.