TAMPA, Fla. – After the Buccaneers opened training camp to a rain-abbreviated practice on Friday, which lasted less than an hour, hundreds of fans watched the second session under a partly-cloudy sky with temperatures hovering around 90 degrees on Saturday afternoon.
The capstone of the two and a half hour practice without pads was the finale: a 45-minute scrimmage. Quarterback Josh McCown was intercepted by safety Mark Barron, but followed that up with a touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson.
Head Coach Lovie Smith highlighted those two plays, saying, “That’s kind of how the day went- some good and some bad, which you expect on your second day of practice. But good work.”
The practice started with a short stretch, followed by the team breaking into seven positional groups across the three practice fields at One Buc Place. In the northwest corner of the field closest to the fans, the quarterbacks took turns throwing deep balls to receivers. The receiving corps also eased through running and agility drills.
McCown and Mike Glennon made several completions in the corners, however, Glennon had an incomplete pass to Skye Dawson while McCown couldn’t connect with Robert Herron. Receiver Tommy Streeter grabbed a deep pass from Glennon to applause from the crowd. Mike Evans also caught a bomb from McCown in the right corner of the end zone. Mike Kafka completed several passes in the passing drill, with the crowd taking an audible note to a long pass Dawson hauled in.
Tight end Austin Sefarian-Jenkins wasn’t around for the Bucs’ offseason program, but was present for rookie minicamp.
ASJ said after practice, “Today was really my first time ever getting out there and running around with the defense in over six months now. I feel good in where I’m at.”
Lovie noted that Sefarian-Jenkins is playing catch up, but that he is catching up.
“He made some good plays out there today. Good size. Mentally, he stayed in the game. If you talk to him, you’ll see that’s not going to be a problem for him,” said Lovie.
Running back Jeff Demps, the 2012 Olympic track & field silver medalist, made the crowd ooh and aah.
Lovie said he’s still trying to see how Demps fits into their game plan, like a lot of players, but noted, “I know when a linebacker is on the other side of [Demps] on one-on-one drills, they get pretty far – a lot farther than they normally will. But you see Olympic-type speed from him.”
Special teams ran through gunner drills, followed by kick returns with Solomon Patton and Eric Page. On the middle practice field, the offensive and defensive lines went one on one, while the kickers practiced on the far field.
Buccaneers Co-Chairman Bryan Glazer stood next to GM Jason Licht on the far sideline of field one. Also on the sideline was former Bucs defensive tackle and Hall-of-Famer Warren Sapp.
Lovie said of Sapp, “It’s hard not knowing that Warren is in the house. It seemed like old times. I turned around and [heard], ‘Hey, Lovie.’ Took me back to 1996. I looked around and I saw Hardy Nickerson there. Warren Sapp, I loved every day that I was around him. Seeing how a Hall of Famer plays, but how he practices.”
And Lovie certainly is eager to see how his Tampa Bay Bucs practice on Sunday in pads. He said earlier this year that, “I don’t think anybody can distinguish themselves running around in their underwear.”
But following Saturday’s practice, Lovie said, “We’re not Carolina Panther ready right now, but we are getting a little bit closer there.”