Practice began outside on another muggy day but was quickly moved inside after lightning was spotted in the area. Players were without pads as they trotted inside, getting a break from the grueling hits of the last two days with contact.
I'd be remiss not to mention that before the move inside, we got to meet Specs, who is a puppy that the Glazer Vision Foundation is sponsoring to become a guide dog for someone who is visually impaired. Specs will be with the Foundation and around the Bucs' facility while he trains to be the goodest of good boys and we are so happy to have him as part of the Bucs' family. I mean, just look at him.
Back to football, here are a few things that stood out from Monday's practice, including a couple incredible plays that could have been the result of some serious athletic sibling rivalry (or maybe magic):
-During the install period, it looked as though rookie inside linebacker K.J. Britt was directing his teammates on where to go and how to line up. It was an encouraging sign that the young player is grasping the playbook already.
-In the first 11-on-11 period, safety Jordan Whitehead let everyone know he was all the way back as quarterback Tom Brady fired straight down the middle for rookie wide receiver Jaelon Darden was working a post route. Whitehead got there first and decided to make the catch instead, giving the Bucs' defense their first takeaway of the day. It would not be their last.
-Center Ryan Jensen was on a rest day and so it was rookie now-center Robert Hainsey that was tasked with snapping the ball to Brady for Monday's practice.
-In the next series for Brady, he placed a great ball right in front of wide receiver Antonio Brown, who caught it over the middle and insisted on running the rest of the way down the field. Safety Herb Miller decided he would run with him for good measure.
-Wide receiver Chris Godwin made a diving catch over the middle in traffic from Brady and then quickly rolled back onto his feet to get a couple extra yards before he was touched.
View some of the photos from Buccaneers Training Camp practice at the AdventHealth Training Center.
-Outside linebacker Joe Tryon got his hands on a ball to break up a pass as he was on the move in coverage. It seems his coverage skills, which are important for outside backers in the Bucs' defense, are coming along pretty nicely.
-Brady threw another impressive ball to wide receiver Mike Evans about 45 yards down the sideline today that Evans plucked out of the air over the head of cornerback Nate Brooks.
-A couple plays later, cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting just barely missed a pick a couple plays later because safety Antoine Winfield Jr. ended up leaping up and tipping the ball unknowingly right in front of Murphy-Bunting.
-In the red zone period, Brady attempted a quick, high pass over the middle that was instead somehow tipped by cornerback Carlton Davis, who got some serious air to get a hand on it.
-Brady ended up scoring in the red zone period on a shallow pass underneath to running back Giovani Bernard, who caught it right across the goal line.
-Whitehead wasn't done for the day as he nabbed a second interception as he came across the formation underneath on a red-zone pass over the middle right before the goal line. He ran it all the way to the opposite end zone and was greeted by his teammates upon trotting back to the sideline with the rest of his defense.
-Safety Mike Edwards had another near-pick off Gabbert but it was cornerback Antonio Hamilton that ended up doing the same thing Winfield had done earlier and tipped the pass before Edwards could get to it.
-Gabbert then hit tight end Tanner Hudson skimming along the goal line. Hudson got ahead of Britt just enough to make the grab for the touchdown.
-In the next period, Gabbert then let loose a long ball over the middle, settling in on his second or third read which happened to be rookie wide receiver Jaelon Darden who then hauled it in for a touchdown.
-The other day, Head Coach Bruce Arians talked about wanting wide receiver Scotty Miller to make more 'grimey' catches. Well, it happened on Monday as Brady hit him in the end zone with a defender on him the whole way.
-Brady then followed it up with a beautiful floater to Evans in the front corner of the end zone after Evans had beat his defender into the end zone.
-Quarterback Kyle Trask had an impressive throw in team drills as he unleashed about a 50-yard pass to wide receiver Travis Jonsen who hauled it in downfield for the score.
-In seven-on-seven work, Brady hit Gronkowski for about 30 yards on a post as two defenders closed in.
-Gabbert showed off his mobility in the next team period as he took off to buy himself more time and threw a 30-yard pass downfield on the run that was caught by Johnson, who had worked to get open and give Gabbert an option.
-Trask had another long ball to wide receiver T.J. Simmons who had blown past two defenders trying to keep up with him as he ran into the end zone.
-Brady's last drive of the day ended with Darden sneaking behind Davis to ge open and Brady firing from about the 30-yard line to the front corner of the end zone where Darden caught it to the cheers of his teammates.
-The big story of the day, of course, was cornerback Ross Cockrell's three interceptions on the same morning his sister, Anna, qualified for the Olympic finals in the 400-meter hurdles in Tokyo. The entire team had watched her run her heat in the team meeting room and Cockrell later said he was feeling her magic as he nabbed three different picks off. The first came in the red zone as he undercut a route. The second came as he perfectly jumped another route over the middle and the third came on the last play of the day, a long pass down the middle of the field that Cockrell zeroed in on and made the grab. The game ball from practice rightfully went to him and, as Arians put it, the entire Cockrell family. You could say they had a good morning.
"It was just a tremendous feeling," said Cockrell. "Coach [Bruce] Arians, the Bucs family, the Bucs team – being able to watch my sister run with this team and with this family, it just was amazing. It was the biggest race of her life. And to see her go out there and perform as well as she did in adverse weather and adverse situations, and then go out to practice and be able to do my things. I was just feeling the magic that she had. I think she passed it along to me."