-Veterans reported on Thursday and we got to hear from Head Coach Bruce Arians for the first time since mandatory minicamp back in the beginning of June. The building was buzzing as players roamed the hallways that had been empty just a week prior. The coaches have been in the building for a couple weeks preparing and when asked about his enthusiasm for the start of training camp, Arians had this to say:
“Probably higher than ever,” Arians said. “I’m really excited about this team, about being back in it having been gone a year. I came back early. I usually come back the day before. I was here early to get started. I really enjoyed quarterback school. I thought we got a lot done. Especially seeing a guy like Cameron Brate out there, flying around, looking good. That was really positive.”
-That quarterback school BA talked about took place this past Monday through Wednesday and including rookies, quarterbacks – including Jameis Winston, plus veteran tight end Cameron Brate, who is coming off hip surgery. The limited practices accompanied meetings to get rookies some extra review time and allowed quarterbacks to get a first crack at their new offensive system. Quarterback School is an option for all 32 NFL Clubs, but most opt to give their players more time off. With a new head coach and how anxious you could tell Winston was to get going even in his press conference yesterday, it’s no surprise the Bucs decided to take advantage this year.
-Winston was literally on his toes for the entire press conference. He was a ball of energy as he stood behind the podium to meet the media for the first time since veteran minicamp, as well. It’s extremely evident Winston is ready to go and he hopes fans are, too.
This year’s training camp (and all practices, for that matter) are a little different in that they do not include music blaring in the background. That doesn’t mean they want the atmosphere to be quiet, though.
“That should inspire our fans to be louder at training camp,” Winston said about the lack of music. “When we make a big play, let’s hear an uproar. We’ve got to get used to that. We’ve got to get used to [fans] cheering us on when we’re making big plays. That’s going to be exciting. It’s not necessarily new. We create our own energy, and that’ll be good. The fans will be able to hear us talking jive at each other a little bit more. They won’t have to hear the music. It’s going to be fun.”
Winston went on to give a general message for fans, too. Y’all paying attention?
“Hashtag Go Bucs, baby – that’s why they should be optimistic,” Winston said (enthusiastically). “Come out here – an exciting time – it’s football season. One, there’s nothing else to watch on TV right now but football, so let’s get into it, let’s get behind us right now and we’re going to play well for you.”
-Another thing Winston touched on in his press conference was his impression of this year’s rookie class, more specifically, first-round pick Devin White. Both Winston and Coach Arians commented on how mature this year’s class seems to be and it starts with White.
White occupies the ‘Mike’ linebacker position and will therefore be tasked with being the defensive signal caller – the ‘quarterback’ of the defense, if you will. This means he’s responsible for relaying the call from the voice in his helmet of Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles, to the rest of the team. It also means he’ll be responsible for various checks and even changing the call based on what he reads from the offense. It’s a tremendous amount of responsibility even for a league veteran, much less a bright-eyed, bushy tailed rookie.
Being a leader and taking on responsibility isn’t anything new for White, though. And he doesn’t shy away from pressure.
“I’ve always been in big roles in my life,” White said. “Everything I did, I always kind of grew up faster than probably what I should’ve and I think it kind of helped me. I wasn’t a guy who sat around and played video games all day. I was a guy who was working, trying to make my own cash and stuff. I always have been that guy, and I am going to keep being that guy. I’ve always had a lot of pressure on me and I always did [well] with it. I am very comfortable with myself and knowing my abilities. So, you know, the minute [Bruce Arians] told me after rookie minicamp, ‘Alright, the vets come Monday, and I’m going to put the green dot on your helmet.’ I didn’t know what a green dot was, and then once I put the helmet on I heard Coach Todd [Bowles] talking through the helmet. I was like, ‘Aw man, they did put a lot of responsibility on me.’ But, I feel like I asked for it, and I feel like I can handle it. I never shy away from [anything], because I don’t feel like there is [anything] in the world that is too big for myself. With a great coaching staff and Coach Caldwell, he is going to make sure I’m on it even if I have to stand here extra just to get it. You know, it’s my job to get it, and I am going to make sure I get it for the guys around me.”
-Buccaneers' outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul became the first Buccaneer to appear on 2019's Top 100 List of NFL Players on Thursday night. Pierre-Paul, who was the team's first double-digit sack player in over a decade, came in at No. 65 on the list. Who do you think will be next?
-Buccaneers Training Camp officially kicks off today with the first practice at 4 p.m. Rules from OTAs will carry over for this practice, meaning there will be no contact. The league wants to give teams and players the opportunity to ease in a bit. But it’s still a cause for excitement because Buccaneers football is officially back, guys!
Say it with me: HASHTAG GO BUCS!