That's a wrap, folks! Just like that this is my last takeaways article of the 2021 preseason. Training camp officially broke on Thursday after the second of two joint practices with the Tennessee Titans. From here on out, practices will be closed to all fans as the team gets into the gameplanning portion of their preseason with the real thing right around the corner.
The Bucs didn't go quietly. And for that matter, neither did the Titans. Thursday's practice was 'spirited' to say the least. But hey, I like my football like I like my salsa: spicy.
There were multiple skirmishes throughout the day. The first full team fisticuffs actually broke out during a special teams period with gunners and flyers going head-to-head. Head Coach Bruce Arians said there would be no penalties for the tussles (yes, I am trying to see how many creative words I can use) but the physicality of practice will definitely mean the starters will not play in Saturday's game. Arians confirmed quarterback Blaine Gabbert will start for the Bucs' offense, as well.
Here are some things that stood out from Thursday:
View some of the photos from Buccaneers Training Camp practice vs. Tennessee at the AdventHealth Training Center.
-The individual one-on-one drills saw defensive tackle Vita Vea put offensive guard Ross Reynolds on the ground in his first rep. Reynolds was slow to get up afterward and for what it's worth, Vea seemed pretty remorseful.
-On the opposite field, the offense looked immediately more comfortable with quarterback Tom Brady hitting tight end Rob Gronkowski on a quick slant to start getting in a rhythm. The offense largely had a much better day on Thursday than they did on Wednesday. They were noticeably more productive.
-It was a bit of a give and take though, especially at the beginning of practice. The next play, Brady's pass to wide receiver Tyler Johnson was broken up by Titans' Chris Jackson.
-Later in the period, former Buccaneer Bradley McDougald flattened wide receiver T.J. Simmons in a hit you heard. Simmons still came up with the ball from quarterback Ryan Griffin, though.
-It was the Bucs' defense's turn as linebackers worked against Titans' tight ends. Devin White had an immediate tackle of Tennessee's Jared Pinkney that sent both players rolling on the ground.
-In the seven-on-seven period, the Titans sent two defensive backs after wide receiver Antonio Brown, but Brady went for it anyway. The pass was ultimately broken up by Amani Hooker in an admittedly great play.
-The Bucs' offense bounced back with a beautiful ball from Brady to wide receiver Mike Evans down the sideline. Evans had cornerback Caleb Farley beat and Brady placed the ball perfectly over his shoulder as the crowd cheered when Evans hauled it in.
-In a red zone drill, Brady was sent scrambling to avoid pressure and tried to give Gronkowski a chance in the back of the end zone. Gronk ended up with an insane one-handed catch but it was unfortunately out of bounds so it didn't end up counting. A for effort, though.
-On the other field where the Titans' offense was in seven-on-seven drills against the Bucs' defense, cornerback Jamel Dean ended Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill's series with a leaping pass breakup in front of running back Darrynton Evans.
-Meanwhile, Brady hit Gronk on another quick slant right at the pylon in the end zone. Titans safety Kevin Byard was in coverage and was pleading with the ref for a push off but the ref said no. Gronk's just big *shrugs*
-Another long ball, another long catch for Evans. This time in full-team drills.
-The second-team offense stepped up and quarterback Blaine Gabbert scrambled trying to buy time and somehow hit rookie wide receiver Jaelon Darden on the run, who had two defenders with him as he skimmed the goal line. Darden came up with the catch just as a third defender was closing in and got the score.
-A screen to running back Giovani Bernard on third-down yielded some excellent results as he eluded multiple defenders to escape downfield for a big gain.
-Brady tried for wide receiver Chris Godwin in the back of the end zone and although Godwin still made the catch, it was too high and it send him not only out of the back of the end zone but barreling into the bleachers. He was ok, though.
-The Bucs' ended the two-minute series settling for a field goal after some clock confusion with the referees.
-No harm, no foul though because the Bucs' defense forced Tennessee to settle for the same fate on their two-minute attempt. Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. had hurried Tannehhill into a throw, causing it to go incomplete on first down. The Titans would get as far as the 25-yard line before Tannehill was forced to throw it away on third down because of pressure.
-Gabbert took over on the next series and was able to hit wide receiver Jaydon Mickens in the absolute tightest of windows in the end zone. Titans' defensive backs were not happy following the play.
-Tannehill stepped back up and hit wide receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine just barely across the goal line. It was cornerback Herb Miller in coverage and definitely a play he'd want back but hey, back and forth battles right?
-Goal line scenarios started up and I really ended up liking this set up. Each team traded singular shots to the end zone from the 10-yard line. It was rapid fire and it was fun.
-Brady was up first and gets Godwin on a slant in the end zone.
-Next try, Tannehill was picked by none other than inside linebacker Lavonte David… for the boys.
-Godwin went back-to-back on the next play as Brady hit him again in the end zone.
-Tannehill then threw a beautiful ball on his next chance right in the back corner of the end zone where it was hauled in by Westbrook-Ikhine again. The Titans' receiver did a great job dragging his feet to stay in bounds with safety Mike Edwards right there in coverage.
-Bucs trotted out a 12 personnel set in the next attempt and Brady had to dump the ball off quickly in the face of pressure but somehow it ended up in the hands of Gronkowski, who then promptly took it into the end zone.
-Tannehill was then able to hit wide receiver Chester Rogers on the next play, though David almost picked the pass of again. Even Vita Vea, who had dropped into coverage underneath jumped up but didn't quite have the height to tip the pass.
-Backup quarterback Logan Woodside was intercepted on the next attempt, this time by Nate Brooks after rookie Joe Tryon brought pressure.
-Then it was the Titans' defense's chance to flex their muscles as Gabbert took what would have been a sack.
-The next opportunity for Tennessee ended the exact same way as the previous play, except this time it was Dee Delaney that made the pick. Tryon was responsible for pressure again, too.
-The day ended on a touchdown pass from Gabbert to Johnson and that was that.