The Buccaneers returned to the field from Wednesday's off day to a pleasant morning where the rain held off. The day actually began with paratroopers parachuting in for Military Day at AdventHealth Training Center. Military members, past and present, along with their families, were in the stands and though things were a little different this year in that players couldn't interact in the stands, they were still treated to a back and forth practice with some great highlights on both sides of the ball.
It was actually Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles that took the reins for media after practice, as well. Head Coach Bruce Arians got the day off. The conversation with Bowles was geared much more toward his contract extension rather than practice, but he gave a great sound bite as to why he's happy to stay in the Bay:
"I love it here," he said. "We've got a great group of coaches that Bruce [Arians] has put together. We've got some good players; they're great to work with. I love the area and the camaraderie. So it's not about being a head coach, it's about being the best coach, [having] a chance to succeed and be happy, and I'm happy here."
Hopefully, he was happy with practice, too, where his defense made the day pretty difficult for the other side of the ball. Below are some highlights from Thursday:
-The very first throw of seven-on-seven drills was a quick slant to wide receiver Mike Evans, who had an up and down day. Though he and quarterback Tom Brady didn't connect on every ball between them, the chemistry is definitely carrying over from last year. On Thursday, it just seemed like Brady was being hurried into his throws by the defense.
-Rookie outside linebacker Joe Tryon got some coverage work in seven-on-seven drills but after a few reps, he came off the field to outside linebackers coach Larry Foote saying to both Tryon and outside linebacker Ladarius Hamilton, "Why don't you guys go have some fun over there?" as he pointed to where the offensive line and defensive line were doing one-on-one drills.
View some of the photos from Buccaneers Training Camp practice at the AdventHealth Training Center.
-Over on that field, tackle Josh Wells held his own against both outside linebackers Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul, but the latter got past him eventually.
-Tryon blew right by his blocker, who happened to be 6-foot-9 tackle Brad Seaton. Tryon definitely has some tools, as Bowles put it after practice.
-Defensive tackle Will Gholston pulled a nice spin move to get past the guard in the same drills, much to the entertainment of his teammtes.
-Defensive tackle Vita Vea followed that rep up with an entertaining one of his own as he basically carried offensive lineman John Molchon with him into the backfield.
-Back on the seven-on-seven field, inside linebacker Devin White ran stride for stride with wide receiver Chris Godwin to force an incomplete pass. Outside linebacker Anthony Nelson also had a nice chip on the play to get Evans out of position on his route.
-Brady had a nice pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski, who caught the ball in stride as he was crossing over the middle. Sometimes it just seems like Gronk is simply too big to defend – especially when he has a step on the defensive back.
-Brady hit Gronkowski with another great pass, this one on a late-read throw between two defenders where he just barely got it in the window.
-Wide receiver Tyler Johnson ran a great route in seven-on-seven where Brady hit him quickly again between two defenders.
-In situational 11-on-11 drills, Brady launched the ball downfield to Gronkowski down the sideline. Gronkowski was able to get his hands on it as he bobbled it but didn't end up making the catch thanks to a pesky Devin White defending him.
-The next play, Brady hit Evans on a crossing route where Evans nabbed it right over the middle on a slight pause before then turning upfield and getting a few extra yars – and the first down.
-A screen to running back Ronald Jones ended in disaster, thanks to White who met him immediately in the backfield. The result was a loss on the play.
-Quarterback Blaine Gabbert hit wide receiver Antonio Brown over the middle but it was a hurried play as Tryon was giving right tackle Tristan Wirfs all he could handle. He forced Gabbert to step up in the pocket and make the throw a little quicker than he likely would have wanted.
-The next play, Tryon – aligned out wide – was able to shed his initial block and bounce inside where he went completely unaccounted for.
-The defense then stuck in an all-out blitz for Gabbert's last snap of the series and he, predictably, couldn't get the ball out fast enough. The play was blown dead on a likely 'sack' by White.
-In the next series, Brady's pass went off the hands of Evans but then on the very next play, Brady went back to Evans on the opposite side of the field where Evans made his best catch of the day as he stretched out perfectly with both hands to secure the catch along the sideline.
-Brady was hurried into a deep ball to rookie wide receiver Jaelon Darden as cornerback Antonio Hamilton came in on a blitz. The ball arrived before Darden did as a result and the pass fell incomplete.
-Quarterback Ryan Griffin had a great pass over the middle after wide receiver Josh Pearson fought to get open and give Griffin a target. Pearson got a, 'Way to finish!' from his coaches after the play.
-Inside linebacker Lavonte David got in on the pass rush as he came off the edge for a play and would have gotten a sack on Brady.
-Later in the series on third down, it was Gronkowski that came in clutch on a tight-window throw from Brady to move the chains.
-The next play, defensive tackle Khalil Davis absolutely lit up running back Ronald Jones as he tried to get through the A-gap.
-Brady then attempted a screen pass to running back Leonard Fournette that fell incomplete thanks to White being right there to disrupt the pass.
-The series ended for Brady on a double whammy as both safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting converged on Brady in the backfield for a third-down sack.
-Safety Jordan Whitehead called out, 'Let's go, Ross!' from the sideline, talking to Ross Cockrell, who was playing safety. Both he and cornerback Herb Miller ran with wide receiver Tyler Johnson all the way down the field and into the end zone as they broke up the 35-yard pass.
-The next play, Miller ended up rushing the quarterback and as a result, was able to get his hand up and bat down another ball at the line this time.
Jordan let's go toes from sideline both 43 and 36 ran with Johnson the whole way forced pass breakup in end zone on long 35 yard ball next play 36 came in on a blitz but ended up batting down the ball on second down at the line
-As the first-team offense finally made its way inside the red zone, the ball was fumbled on a bad handoff and it was defensive tackle Vita Vea who recovered it to end the series.
-The offense then got some goal line work. Each quarterback got their turn, yielding mixed results. Practice ended on a couple touchdowns for Brady. The first, he hit Evans in the back of the end zone as Evans went up and grabbed the ball over the heads of two defenders and then promptly got both feet down before falling out of bounds. Brady then hit Brown in the end zone over the middle to end practice.