Ahead of the Buccaneers’ first preseason game against the Jaguars in Jacksonville Friday night, the team released its first depth chart Tuesday. But Head Coach Lovie Smith says not to take too much stock into it.
“The league says we have to put out a depth chart today, so we put a depth chart out today. The depth chart will mean a little bit more once we play a football game against someone else, then we can talk a little more on that,” said Coach Smith.
One of the more notable players on the unofficial depth chart is lineman Da’Quan Bowers, who’s listed as the back-up under tackle behind Gerald McCoy.
“I think Da’Quan Bowers has flexibility to play a couple of different spots. We could’ve also listed him at the defensive end position, which he will play. I see him with the possibility of playing the three technique, especially in passing downs. He should be better at it in passing downs and then maybe a first-and-second-down defensive end.”
While the defense got the better of the offense in the goal line situation drill the previous two days, the offense came back Tuesday with a vengeance.
“It’s a little bit of give and take. Yesterday, we dominated them on the goal line. Today, our offense did some good things down there. You like to see that; you like to see a little bit of balance,” said Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier.
The highlight of the offense was running back Doug Martin, who punched in three straight touchdowns in the goal line situation drill. Linebacker Lavonte David said that drill got much more competitive Tuesday.
“I guess they were out for revenge today. They kind of caught us off guard with a couple of quick counts and things like that,” David said.
After the defense had eight turnovers in the drill Monday, Coach Smith said he lit a fire under his offense.
“I think if you are a competitor, you just get kind of tired of hearing it. Some days I’m offense, [some days I’m] defense. The group that performs the best, I’m right in that huddle with them. As I came into meetings today, I was tooting the defense’s horn,” Coach Smith said.
Quarterback Josh McCown looked particularly sharp, making many completions during 7-on-7 drills as well as 11-on-11. Rookie wide receiver Robert Herron continued to drop balls, both on receiving easy passes as well as in special teams drills.
“He’s done some good things, but he’s a rookie. Right now his head’s probably spinning a little bit. There’s a lot we’ve thrown at him. This deep into training camp we’ve installed quite a bit. You start thinking about that more than reacting. He’s had his moments as a punt returner. He’s dropped a few, too. His entire game has been that way a little bit: I see flashes, but that’s about it right now,” Coach Smith said.
Coach Smith also said that while the coaching staff has been impressed with their rookies, they won’t be at the top of the depth chart until the coaches see them in some live action.
INJURIES: Bowers sat out a second day in addition to cornerback Mikes Jenkins, who are said to not have serious injuries. Tight end Luke Stocker was back, with a heavily taped up right knee. Cornerback Alterraun Verner is still nursing his injured hamstring, and Coach Smith said Verner will not play Friday in Jacksonville. Receiver Tommy Streeter sat out due to an illness.
ROSTER MOVES: The Bucs announced Tuesday that they signed defensive end Ryne Giddins, a 6-3, 250-pound college free agent from USF, who participated in the team’s rookie mini-camp on a tryout basis this year. Tampa Bay also signed defensive end James Ruffin, the 6-4, 270-pounder from Northern Iowa, who first entered the league as a college free agent with the Buccaneers in 2010. Ruffin spent the 2010 offseason with the team before being waived. He also spent time on Cincinnati’s practice squad and has played for the Spokane Shock of the AFL since 2012. The team also announced Tuesday that they waived injured linebacker Jeremy Grable and safety Mycal Swaim.
The Bucs will get in one more practice before traveling to Jacksonville; the team’s training camp at One Buc Place early Wednesday afternoon is closed to the general public.
For more coverage of Bucs training camp, visit Pewter Report.