Not quite easy like Sunday morning around here. It was a hot one for the fourth and last day of the Buccaneers' ramp-up period. The team was allowed limited offense vs. defense scrimmaging sans pads for the last day on Sunday, after the players had an off-day on Saturday.
Practice on the fields of AdventHealth Training Center began promptly at 8:30 a.m. and lasted until just about 10:30 a.m. before the players embarked on another full day of meetings and walk-through.
Pads come Monday, but here are a few takeaways from the last of the ramp-up period.
- Not only does quarterback Tom Brady encourage the guys that are in the huddle with him, he's paying attention to the second-team as their run their drills that follow. The first period of team drills, Brady gave a, "Great job fellas!" as the second team was trotting off the field.
- Running back Ronald Jones II looks good in the receiving game. His hands look more natural and sure as he convincingly hauled in a short pass from Brady.
- Cornerback Jamel Dean had a good day, starting with the first period as he broke up a long pass from Brady down the sideline
- Brady fired a pass over the middle where wide receiver Mike Evans quite literally snatched it out of the air mid-stride.
- A couple plays later, Evans nabbed himself a nifty one-hander down the far sideline from Brady.
- Tight end Rob Gronkowski isn't the only player Brady is now comfortable throwing in tight windows to – he threw a dart to wide receiver Chris Godwin over the middle that Godwin hauled in. It got the offense, and Brady in particular, amped up, with Brady yelling a '#$&% YEAH BOYS!" to the offense.
- Evans and Brady connected for multiple red zone touchdowns, even one where Evans initially tripped up on his route but then recovered to still make the grab. It earned him a 'Good job 1-3!"
View some of the photos from Buccaneers Training Camp practice at the AdventHealth Training Center.
- The overall energy of practice was awesome, especially during the red zone period, which coincided with some much-appreciated cloud cover. I don't think that's a coincidence.
- Rookie safety and birthday boy Antoine Winfield Jr. got in front of a pass from Brady and almost had himself a birthday gift.
- Brady to Gronk is just absolutely automatic. Brady dropped it right in the basket for Gronkowski in the back corner of the end zone. It was so smooth.
- In the seven-on-seven period, completions were hard to come by with the defensive backs not letting anyone get open.
- At one point, quarterback Blaine Gabbert said, 'watch 5-3' nodding toward rookie Chapelle Russell and sure enough, Russell ended up getting in front of the pass to break it up.
- Ever the vet, inside linebacker Lavonte David was encouraging his defense, yelling out, "Technique, technique, technique!"
- Tight end Cameron Brate came down with the catch of the day, provided you're in the camp that he caught it in-bounds. It was a back of the end-zone dart from Brady but it looked like Brate managed get both feet down before falling out of bounds. The DBs disagreed. Shocker.
- At one point, running back LeSean McCoy pulled some of his trademark shiftiness to get free but not before defensive tackle Vita Vea got in his way. Had there been contact allowed, I don't think McCoy would have gotten past him. Vea's lateral quickness continues to be super impressive.
- Winfield broke up another pass from Gabbert to which outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett yelled from the sideline, "No catches over here!"
- Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting was everywhere. He had multiple pass breakups throughout the day.
- Outside linebacker Anthony Nelson almost had an interception as he dove for a ball over the middle that was just off his fingertips during the two-minute drill period.
- It was Dean that ended the two-minute period from the first team with a leaping pass breakup on a long throw from Brady to the corner of the end zone.