Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2021 Buccaneers Training Camp Takeaways – Day 6

It was “Back Together” Saturday across the NFL, which happened to coincide with the Buccaneers’ first day in pads. 

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All 32 clubs held a training camp practice on Saturday, which was dubbed "Training Camp: Back Together Saturday" on NFL Network. It included live coverage across the league with Andrew Siciliano and Willie McGinest broadcasting from the AdventHealth Training Center during practice.

There was also quite the crowd in the stands, oohing and ahhing at every live highlight. It was a much better practice than Friday's, according to Head Coach Bruce Arians. Whether it was because contact was finally allowed and the team got to implement one-on-one drills that actually meant something or because the message Arians delivered yesterday hit home, the energy levels were raised and the coaches were much happier with the competition they saw.

"Much better today," recapped Arians. "It looked more like football practice than soccer. Football players show up when the noise level goes up. A lot of guys look great in shorts, but they disappear when the noise level goes up. So, I was really happy to see it. I can't wait to grade the tape. Good ebb and flow at the end of practice – defense, offense. I thought everybody practiced to win rather than practiced to practice, and there's a big damn difference."

View some of the photos from Buccaneers Training Camp practice at the AdventHealth Training Center.

Here are a few things that stood out from Saturday's training camp practice:

-One-on-one drills were immediately different with defensive backs matching up with receivers. Second-year receiver Tyler Johnson started things off on a good note where he was able to shake his defender with a quick double move before continuing on his route, which he looked to run well.

-Receiver Josh Pearson was reliable all day and even made a diving grab he caught just ahead of the hands of safety Herb Miller.

-It was wide receiver Scotty Miller's birthday on Saturday and in one-on-ones he was able to adjust to a ball that was a tad underthrown but turning back, away from his defender, and making the contested catch. The crowd must have known he was the birthday boy because they let out a resounding round of applause.

-On the second field, one-on-ones were between linebackers and running backs, making sure inside and outside backers alike got their turn in coverage.

-For the second day in a row, safety Mike Edwards had a pick. This time, it looked like someone must have ran the wrong route because Edwards caught the ball in the open field with no one else around him. He was definitely in the right place at the right time, though.

-Cornerback Antonio Hamilton really tried to play wide receiver Mike Evans tough but Evans wrestled the ball from quarterback Tom Brady away from Hamilton, who was there as soon as the ball was delivered. You could hear the contact but Evans emerged with the ball and the crowd went wild.

-In seven-on-seven red zone drills, the offense struggled a little bit but in the end managed to convert some scores on short passes right in front of the goal line where receivers could catch the ball low. The defense did a great job in shallow coverage.

-In fact, in his return to practice, safety Jordan Whitehead managed a pass breakup in the end zone on a throw intended for rookie Jaelon Darden.

-While seven-on-seven was going on field one, the linemen were having their trench battles on field two. The other day, defensive tackle Vita Vea crashed rookie offensive lineman Robert Hainsey's press conference, asking about what else but himself. Hainsey replied he hadn't had a chance to really go against Vea yet but he knew it would be a challenge. Well, challenge day came Saturday as Hainsey got his chance in one-on-ones to line up with Vea. It went about as you'd expect.

-In those same one-on-ones, we got an up-close look at why Ndamukong Suh is still a literal force to be reckoned with. His strength hasn't waned and there's simply no other way to describe his hand-technique other than, well, violent.

-Left tackle Donovan Smith had a good rep on outside linebacker Shaq Barrett, holding him off pretty handily.

-It was outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul that then returned the favor by getting past him so quickly if you blinked, you would have missed it.

-Pierre-Paul was also playing teacher. After outside linebacker Anthony Nelson redid a rep, he came over to JPP, who was coaching him up and giving him pointers as he watched him.

-Inside linebacker Joe Jones had an excellent rep in coverage on tight end Codey McElroy. He knocked the ball from McElroy's hands in the back of the end zone after playing him pretty physically the whole way.

-Tight end Rob Gronkowski did a good job cutting back in on cornerback Jamel Dean, who lost track of Gronkowski for a split second to look for the ball. It was enough for Gronk to get open enough for Brady, who hit Gronkowski in the end zone for the score. Gronk then flipped the ball up in front of the crowd and gave fans a big smile as he circled around back to the huddle.

-Today was a planned veteran day off for Lavonte David but that didn't stop Brady from calling to the sideline at one point saying, "Put Lavonte in! I wanna beat his a**!" To which, David laughed from the sideline where he was watching.

-In the first situational drill at the end of practice, inside linebacker Devin White got his second pick in as many days on the very first play. He intercepted Brady to put an end to the series real quickly.

-It was quarterback Blaine Gabbert's turn to try his luck against the defense and he hit tight end Tanner Hudson over the middle to move the chains and get them to midfield after Hudson fought for a few more yards.

-The defense ultimately stopped Gabbert's series too on third down after a forced incompletion.

-The first team offense came back on the field and it was White again who made the first play. This time, he met running back Ronald Jones at the line, not allowing him to gain any ground. However, Brady then thrilled the crowd on back to back plays. First, he hit tight end O.J. Howard, who is officially back practicing after an Achilles injury last season, with a long pass down the sideline to move the chains. Brady's next pass was then a beautiful ball to wide receiver Antonio Brown, who had managed to get behind safety Mike Edwards, which got the offense close to the goal line. The situation only called for the Bucs needing a field goal so it was rookie Jose Borregales that successfully made the short kick.

-The next series ended with another interception as Hamilton tracked Gabbert as he scrambled trying to get through his progression. Hamilton jumped up as Gabbert let the ball go and made the grab.

-Both quarterbacks Ryan Griffin and Kyle Trask were unsuccessful against the defense in the two ensuing situational series.

-There was one last first-team drive with Brady at the helm. He was in a second-and-13 situation after the offense committed a false start but was able to convert within the next two downs to keep the chains moving. On first down, Brady was forced to throw the ball in the dirt, knowing it would have been a sure sack. The next play, White got the better of Miller on a swing pass despite right guard Alex Cappa trying to get in White's way and provide a block for Miller. Then, on third down, Brady snuck an absolute dart to Evans right behind Dean along the sideline to convert. The offense then kept it on the ground for a couple plays and got within 10 yards before the defense forced them to settle for a field goal behind a couple great pass breakups by cornerback Carlton Davis. Borregales again made the short field goal to get some points for the offense.

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