There is no denying training camp is perhaps the most grueling time of year for NFL teams – especially in Florida. The 92% humidity was the welcome back that no one wanted on Monday after the team had an off day on Sunday. Given that rest day, and despite the fact that many coaches and even quarterback Tom Brady had just come back from Canton the night before to celebrate Peyton Manning's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there weren't any 'vet day's to go around.
It didn't seem an issue for the defense, who by and large won the day, complete with a couple turnovers. The offense was a different story – and it's not one that has a happy ending on the day, according to Head Coach Bruce Arians.
"Really good practice defensively today," he said. "I thought it was one of our best start-to-finish practices defensively, and probably the worst offensive practice we've had in three years. Kind of a pattern of behavior now: after a day off, our offense just stinks. They've got to break that habit. Defensively, they answered the bell. They came out and dominated the entire practice. It was good to see."
View some of the photos from Buccaneers Training Camp practice at the AdventHealth Training Center.
And on that note, here are some observations on the day:
-In the first full team drill, inside linebacker Devin White read the play perfectly and headed off running back Ronald Jones, who was trying to escape to the flat. White stopped him at the line and then as he was wrapping Jones up, playfully said, "Where do you think you're going?"
-A pass from Brady to tight end Rob Gronkowski got the crowd riled up, as it always does, today in the individual period. Somehow, it just never gets old.
-Quarterback Blaine Gabbert hit wide receiver Chris Godwin in the next 11-on-11 period where Godwin was able to turn upfield and get a turn the pass into about a 35-yard play.
-In the blitz period, a swing pass to Godwin ended up successful as the ball came out quickly before the incoming rushers got there and Godwin was able to escape down the sideline.
-In the same period, Gabbert was intercepted by safety Mike Edwards, who has not-so-quietly had a great camp so far. He'd end up with two picks on the day, another one coming in the seven-on-seven period, and even had a near-pick later in practice that could have made it three. The initial interception was an excellent read as he came down and undercut a crossing route by rookie Jaelon Darden going the other way over the middle. There was really no way for Gabbert to have seen Edwards.
-Defensive back Ross Cockrell and Joe Tryon combined for an almost-pass-breakup. The pair knocked a ball intended for De'Quan Hampton in the air but somehow it ended up being Hampton who ended up with it despite the fact that both Cockrell and Tryon had a chance at it.
-Brady hit wide receiver Antonio Brown down the sideline as Brown got behind cornerback Nate Brooks to get open.
-Godwin again stepped up, this time over the middle from Brady. He was immediately met by safety Javon Hagan but not before getting a first down. Godwin was probably the lone bright spot for the offense on the day.
-Brady did complete his next throw, though – this time to tight end O.J. Howard who had rookie inside linebacker Grant Stuard right on him. Howard was able to snatch the ball away for the catch, staying a step ahead of Stuard the whole way.
-Howard again used his length in one-on-one drills where he was pitted against safety Antoine Winfield Jr. He stretched out to make a grab right in the end zone.
-On the other field in one-on-ones, it was the offensive and defensive lines going up against one another. Right guard Alex Cappa has come back in a big way from breaking his leg in the playoffs and looks bigger than ever. He held up well against defensive tackle Steve McLendon in the drill.
-Outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul decided to return the favor on left tackle Donovan Smith, who a rep earlier had handled outside linebacker Cam Gill well. Lined up against Pierre-Paul and Smith, and Pierre-Paul muscled his way past Smith pretty convincingly. Afterward, Pierre-Paul got up in Vice President of Player Engagement Duke Preston's face, yelling "I told you I'm like that!" Like Arians said, the defense answered the bell on Monday.
-A player that has continued to develop this camp is second-year defensive tackle Khalil Davis. He pulled an incredibly quick spin move lined up on offensive lineman Sadarius Hutcherson and got Pierre-Paul fired up in the process. There was also a 'wow, wow, wow' coming from one of Davis' teammates looking on.
-Back in the next 11-on-11 period, Godwin caught a slant along the sideline and then stiff-armed his way past cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting. The win wouldn't last long as the very next play, Murphy-Bunting tracked Godwin down the opposite sideline and broke up a long pass from Brady in a very statement-like way.
-Quarterback Kyle Trask got a chance to show his arm again as he let loose a bomb to wide receiver Josh Pearson down the sideline.
-Not to be outdone by his fellow corner, Carlton Davis had a diving pass breakup in front of a pass from Gabbert intended for Darden.
-Inside linebacker Kevin Minter came rushing in from the inside and got his hands up in the process, batting down a pass at the line.
-Tryon again showed his run-stopping ability as he came in from the interior to get an immediate tackle for loss on Jones that kept him in the backfield.
-On third-and-long, it was wide receiver Mike Evans that came in clutch as Brady hit him on a long throw that the crowd loved.
-The first play of the last period was defensive tackle Vita Vea getting past center Ryan Jensen to bat down a pass of his own from Brady.
-A few plays later was a handoff to Jones again but this time, instead of Tryon, he was met by rookie KJ Britt and defensive tackle Rakeem Nuñez-Roches that got pressure up the middle and ended up dropping Jones for a loss of six.
-The day ended on a quick pass from Gabbert to tight end Tanner Hudson over the middle at the goal line. Hudson hung on and got the score.