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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

7 Things to Watch at Bucs Mini-Camp

What to keep an eye on during the Bucs' mandatory mini-camp.

The best photos from the Bucs' 2015 OTA practices.

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[OTA highlights, Week 3





1. How has Jameis Winston progressed?
As a rookie quarterback, Jameis Winston has a lot on his plate. He's in a new city, working with new teammates and learning a new playbook. Through all of that, though, how has Winston, the team's No. 1 pick, improved during his first two months as a Buccaneer? And what does he still need work on?

2. Will the weather hold up?
Weather reports are calling for thunderstorms all week, as is to be expected in Tampa around this time of year. The Bucs will find a way to get their allotted practice time in one way or another, but completing practice in one, fell swoop would be preferred as opposed to retreating indoors every time lightning is detected.

3. Does it matter who's working with which team?
Jameis Winston was on the field for two OTA practices while the media was present – one time he worked with the second team and another he took some reps with the ones. Head Coach Lovie Smith said, after the Bucs' second open practice, not to look too much into this and pointed out that the media was only in attendance for one of the three practices. But each practice this week is open and the reporters will see who's working with who every day. So does it matter who's taking the majority of the first-team reps, even if they're in t-shirts and shorts?


  1. How are the rookie offensive linemen handling the heat?**
    Evan Smith and Logan Mankins, who arrived from Green Bay and New England, respectively, went from playing in sub-zero temperatures to competing in one the hottest football cities in the country. Ali Marpet and Donovan Smith are in a similar boat; Marpet played at Hobart in upstate New York last season while Smith was a member of Penn State's team. It's getting hotter and hotter by the week in Tampa, and their adjustment to the warm weather will be something to keep an eye on.

5. Which undrafted free agent is making the biggest impact? Senior Writer/ Editor Scott Smith noted that Dominique Brown, a rookie running back out of Louisville, had an excellent three weeks during the Bucs' OTA practices. Which other undrafted free agents can make an impact on the Bucs' coaches before the start of training camp?

6. Can a punter pull ahead?
The Bucs have two experienced punters in Michael Koenen, last year's starter, and Spencer Lanning, who was claimed off of waivers from the Browns. Unlike most positions, punters can, generally, display most of their skills during practices without pads. Who gets more reps this week? And who has the edge heading into training camp in late July?

7. What has a full year in Lovie Smith's system done for the defense?
Last season, the Bucs' defenders were working on learning a new scheme. This year, they're fine-tuning what they've already digested. How much faster can the defense play now that they're familiar with their playbook?

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