Head Coach Bruce Arians isn't one to shy away from saying what's on his mind. That's why when the Buccaneers took the field on Friday after a day off and Arians didn't see the pace he wanted to see, he let everyone know.
"I'm really not pleased," he began his post-practice press conference. "I thought we were really, really sluggish. We talked about it before we left and took the day off. We came out – I don't know if our receivers caught a pass. Same thing defensively – we didn't stop anything over third-and-nine. It was just a horses--t practice. Hopefully we'll get better in pads tomorrow."
But to borrow another one of Arians' phrases, things are rarely as good or as bad as you thought they were when you see it on tape. Hopefully that ends up being the case. But even if it was just an odd day out for the Bucs, those things tend to happen in camp and it doesn't mean it was all doom and gloom.
View some of the photos from Buccaneers Training Camp practice at the AdventHealth Training Center.
Here are a few highlights from the day. Spoiler alert: receivers did in fact, catch passes.
-The defense did make things tough on the offense in three-on-two half-field drills after the individual period. Quarterbacks were having to take their checkdown options to running backs and in some cases scramble in order to buy their receivers more time to get open. That was a testament to the defense's coverage.
-The offense got things rolling though in the first 11-on-11 period, which started out with a beautiful 30+ yard pass to Chris Godwin from Tom Brady. The timing was absolutely perfect on the ball as Godwin caught it in a tight window while in stride to get a few extra yards down the middle
-The defense didn't let that last very long as inside linebacker Devin White nabbed a pick in which it was pretty clear the offense was confused. White capitalized and the ball landed in his chest plate with a thud as he immediately went for the return.
-Not to be outhustled, right guard Alex Cappa was seen all the way down the field, running in front of Godwin who had caught a screen and was trying to maneuver around defenders, which he was able to do thanks in large part to Cappa's hustle.
-Starting from about the 30-yard line, wide receiver Mike Evans grabbed a quick slant from Brady to the sideline and then tiptoed the rest of the way until he was able to reach the ball out and break the plane of the end zone. It's worth noting that contact is still not allowed at this point but Evans showed great awareness during the play.
-The Bucs again took a halftime-like break in the indoor facility to get out of the heat and into the air conditioning for at least a few minutes. The clouds were feeling a bit generous today though too and the big Bucs flag was back out on the flag pole waving in the wind, which is always a good sign. Good flag day, as they say.
-Following the break, the Bucs went back to all working on one field and began seven-on-seven drills. Rookie outside linebacker Joe Tryon was able to get some practice dropping into coverage during the period – something that the Bucs' defense will occasionally ask outside linebackers to do.
-In the same period, Brady connected with Gronk right up the seam on a beautiful, even automatic, pass. After the play was over, a little boy in the crowd watching called out, "Go Gronk!" and it was one of the more adorable things I've seen this camp.
-Quarterback Blaine Gabbert was up next in seven-on-seven and delivered an almost identical ball, this time to tight end Tanner Hudson, who looked just as fluid and natural in his catch as Gronk did. He stayed ahead of his defender as Gabbert hit him in stride, again in a tight window, and it earned Hudson a, "Way to go, Hud man!" from Brady, who was looking on.
-Hudson also connected with quarterback Ryan Griffin right over the middle in a nearly flawless play that again proved their connection is alive and well. I can't wait to see more of it in the preseason.
-In the next period of full-team drills, there was a play in which Brady immediately threw the ball in what was supposed to be a quick screen to Evans but cornerback Antonio Hamilton was there at the exact same time despite the suddenness and batted the pass down.
-Brady followed that up with the play of the day though, as you can see below. It was a touchdown pass to wide receiver Antonio Brown, where Brown managed to get behind his defender and escape into the end zone for the easy grab.
-Towards the end of practice, the Bucs did some situational drills, including a two-minute red zone situation where Brady started the series off with a dart over the middle to Gronkowski, who caught it in between two defenders right in his chest.
-The offense then hurried to the line to get the snap off quickly and Brady delivered a perfect ball for Evans right in the end zone. It was placed high – in an area that ensured only Evans would be able to get it and sure enough, he leapt up and grabbed it for the score. That earned quite a bit of applause from the crowd today in the bleachers.
-One of the very last plays was safety Mike Edwards leaping up in front of his bff, wide receiver Scotty Miller, and grabbing the ball out of the air for the pick.