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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5 Bucs to Watch During Training Camp: Offense

With training camp coming up next week, check out a few Buccaneers to keep your eye on when the offense has the ball.

TAMPA, FLORIDA - MAY 31, 2018: Running Back Ronald Jones II #27 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during OTA practice at One Buccaneer Place. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - MAY 31, 2018: Running Back Ronald Jones II #27 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during OTA practice at One Buccaneer Place. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Guard Alex Cappa

To start, a story of three seasons as told by Ali Marpet: right guard (2016), center (2017), left guard (2018). With Marpet now switched to the left side and the team's choice to move on from previous right guard J.R. Sweezy, there is an opportunity there for the third-round pick to earn a starting spot at the right guard position. Cappa will have to contend with guard Caleb Benenoch, who was in and out of the rotation last season as a second-year player and started five games for the Bucs as the line got shuffled around mostly due to injuries.

Cappa comes from Division III Humboldt State, but did score an invite to the NFL Combine this past year. He had a decent combine and probably gained some notoriety due to his shoulder-length blonde hair that was free flowing during the 40-yard dash. The 'biggest' thing that Cappa brings to the Bucs is his size. The kid is 6'6" and 305lbs without an NFL training program to help him develop. Being from a smaller school, he hasn't faced NFL talent along the way, which is probably the biggest strike against him. But, if he can develop quickly throughout camp, he could have a real shot on the Bucs' offensive line this season. Fellow linemate and small school alum Ali Marpet is proof of that.

Wide Receiver Chris Godwin

Wide receiver Chris Godwin is probably the Bucs' worst-kept secret. If you glanced at anything to do with the Bucs' offseason program this year, you'd more than likely have seen some phenomenal highlight or high praise for the second-year player. He made catch after spectacular catch during mandatory mini-camp, much to the excitement of attending Bucs fans and staff alike.

The only question is how many targets Godwin ends up getting in a full arsenal of receiving weapons. Last season, the Penn State product didn't really start showing up on the stat sheet until Week 9, where he had five catches for 68 yards at home against the New York Jets. He would have to wait until the very last game of the season to see an NFL end zone for the first time, scoring his first touchdown at home against New Orleans along with 111 yards on seven grabs. It'll be interesting how Coach Koetter and receivers coach Skyler Fulton stack up the rotation in camp. With guys like DeSean Jackson, Mike Evans and Adam Humphries as the vets of the group, that fourth receiver spot will be something to watch throughout these next six weeks. One thing is for sure: when the ball comes Chris Godwin's way – don't blink.

Center Ryan Jensen

Eyes will be on center Ryan Jensen as him and quarterback Jameis Winston develop their chemistry. Jensen spent the last five years in Baltimore, snapping to veteran quarterback Joe Flacco. The center-to-quarterback relationship is vitally important. It's a matter of timing, of course, but it's also a matter of understanding. Winston comes off a season where he took on a majority of the responsibility because it was Marpet's first year playing center in the league. Jensen has been used to a more collaborative relationship in Baltimore with Flacco. Now that the threat will be (more) real with opposing defensive linemen allowed to make contact, Winston and Jensen will need to be on the same page for Winston's sake.

There's the added element of having to gel with another quarterback throughout camp, given that Winston will be unavailable for the first three games of the season as well. Theoretically, that other quarterback should be veteran backup Ryan Fitzpatrick, who filled in for Winston last season while he was sidelined with a shoulder injury, and went 2-1 in that span. But Fitzpatrick will have to answer to a challenge from quarterback Ryan Griffin, who has been with the Buccaneers since 2015 and had a promising camp last year before being shut down with a shoulder injury in mid-August.

Whomever Jensen is snapping the ball to during camp, keep an eye on the fiery ginger for his infamous 'nasty' play style as well. It should be entertaining to say the least.

Wide Receiver Justin Watson

Another smaller school guy that will need to make some quick adjustments to the NFL level will be wide receiver Justin Watson. Watson comes from Penn, an FCS (and Ivy League) program, so you know the guy doesn't lack the know-how in meeting rooms. Training camp will be the first opportunity for fans to get a look at the rookie receiver. Watson suffered a hamstring injury in rookie minicamp this offseason but it doesn't seem to be anything the coaching staff is especially concerned with. He's been around the building for treatment and will hopefully be ready to go next week.

Watson does face an uphill battle with the aforementioned arsenal of receiving weapons the Bucs have. Watson will probably have to show his worth on special teams to ensure a place on the roster. The limited observations from rookie minicamp were that he has the athleticism to be a contributor. His routes were very sharp and he seemed to grasp drills and plays as well as you'd expect an Ivy League grad to. Still, FCS is a long way from the NFL and it will be interesting to see how he develops throughout camp.

Running Back Ronald Jones

The Bucs left something to be desired in the ground game last season. Tampa Bay lacked that 'feature back' to establish a consistent rushing attack and it didn't help the offensive line was in a state of almost constant shuffle due to some injuries. With their second pick in the draft, the Bucs are hoping to change that in Ronald Jones II out of USC.

Jones is shifty and has great speed. Throughout the offseason program, Jones also worked on his receiving game. Pass catching will undoubtedly be something asked of the Bucs' No. 1 back. Running back Peyton Barber did some good things last year for the Bucs, but his game is much more north-south oriented. His stature is also one more built for short yardage gains. An athletic, pass-catching back plus a power back like Barber along with reinforcements like Jacquizz Rodgers and Charles Sims should be a solid unit. All that's left to see now is if Rojo, as he's affectionately known, will be ready to take on feature-back status.

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