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Takeaways from Rookie Mini-Camp: Day 2

Posted May 12, 2018

Camaraderie builds and a quarterback battle emerges on the second day of rookie mini-camp.

There seems to be a bona fide quarterback battle.

Two quarterbacks are taking part in Bucs rookie minicamp this weekend: Austin Allen out of the University of Arkansas and Riley Ferguson out of the University of Memphis. Though already suspected, Coach Koetter confirmed on Saturday that the Bucs will carry four quarterbacks on the 90-man roster, leaving just one open spot with Jameis Winston, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ryan Griffin all already under contract.

Therefore, a quarterback competition has emerged during this short weekend between the undrafted rookie free agent Allen and tryout player Ferguson. It’s a daunting task as a quarterback, being thrown into your first NFL minicamp and having to learn new playbook with brand new vernacular.

As a result, neither quarterback is as sharp as he’d surely like to be, but preliminary evaluations seem to skew in favor of the Memphis product with the zip he’s able to place on the ball and confidence in which he throws.

The budding camaraderie among these young players is evident.

Though these rookies have only been together a couple days, arriving in Tampa just this past Thursday, there is already a sense of camaraderie developing amongst them. Handshakes and helmet taps have been plentiful. When one defensive lineman jumped offsides in team drills, his linemates were quick to give words of encouragement and a tap on the helmet before lining right back up.

It's especially apparent in position groups. Despite the fact that these rookies are in competition with one another, they seem to have a tremendous amount of respect and a certain degree of empathy when interacting amongst themselves.

“Definitely with the guys in the D-line room,” defensive tackle Vita Vea confirmed when speaking about his bond with the rookie defensive line. “We were in the locker room and we’re at training table studying together and building that small bond from the start. Some guys, at the hotel, we’ll see them, grab a snack, chop it up with them.”

The secondary stresses turnovers and ball awareness.


It was a day spent going after the football for the secondary. Coaches Jon Hoke and Brett Maxie stressed the importance of being able to create turnovers as a unit and translated that emphasis to the field today with a series of positional drills, including catching passes and scooping up hypothetical fumbles.

The rookies were even shown tape of former Chicago Bears’ cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman in meetings for inspiration. Tillman coined his infamous “Peanut Punch” with the amount of fumbles he forced by punching the ball out of the hands of opposing players.

“Yeah, so that is just something that Coach preached in the meetings,” cornerback Carlton Davis III said about ball awareness as a member of the secondary. “I try my best to take what we talk about in the meetings and take it to the field and just make the most of my opportunities out here.”

It’s all been paying off for Davis in particular, who Coach Koetter called out for his performance on Day 1 after practice was over on Saturday.

“After looking at the tape last night, Carlton probably had one of the best days on defense of anybody out there yesterday,” Koetter said. “He did a good job. We already knew he was a good player in press coverage, but we wanted to see him play some off coverage as well. He did a really good job. His form tackling-for football on air-was good. We were fired up about the way he played yesterday.”

Really, it’s just about the game and having fun for the young corner.

“I was nervous at first coming out here, being my first day not knowing what to expect,” Davis said. “But after a couple plays, it’s just like you were playing football when you were younger. Football is still football no matter what stage you are on and we are just out here having fun.”

Play of the day – a wide receiver reaches for his potential.

WR Sergio Bailey, who was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Eastern Michigan University, made a nice extended grab down the sideline in one-on-one drills. He beat the defender outside and was able to extend his reach out to grab the ball and haul it in for the most impressive catch of the day.