As promised, we’ll be revealing another player today. Training camp is officially over and we’ve now got a better idea of the team, as well as individual players. Week by week, we’ve been revealing clues in this mystery series as to the identities of each of the players involved. Last week, we revealed Player B to be rookie safety D’Cota Dixon, who was having a phenomenal camp before unfortunately landing on IR.
This week – it’s Player C’s turn to step into the spotlight. I’ve also had a few correct guesses on Twitter as to his identity, too. Without further ado, it’s… running back Dare Ogunbowale! He and Dixon were college teammates at Wisconsin, though they were on different sides of the ball.
Ogunbowale originally entered the league in 2017, signed as an undrafted free agent with the Houston Texans. The Bucs signed him prior to the start of the 2018 season and he spent a majority of last year on the team’s practice squad. This year, he’s been one of the most productive players in the preseason. The first game saw him get into the end zone not just once, but twice. Last week, he totaled 88 yards from scrimmage after catching three passes for 54 yards. Route running and the receiving game has been a point of emphasis for Ogunbowale.
That leaves Player A as the lone mysterious player. See if you can figure out who it is with these last set of clues before next week!
Player A had an eventful week, and not just because the Miami Dolphins were in town for joint practices ahead of the Bucs’ preseason home opener.
“That was cool. When you have a joint practice, it’s different than going against the same guys every day. It brings the competitor out of you. You want to give more of your all and it’s almost like your audition for another team in a way, Coach would always say, which is always good. So you know, give it everything you’ve got out there.”
And you don’t exactly feel bad about hitting the other team.
“No, not at all,” Player A replied with a smile.
On top of that though, Player A went through somewhat of a transition, actually switching positions during the week. In fact, he said he was physically pulled out of a meeting and moved to a different room.
“So last week was some extra work, new position,” Player A said. “I tried that out. I got a whole bunch of studying I had to do last week real quick. But it all worked out. We had that little break [in the day] so I just didn’t go home. I stayed and didn’t take my daily nap. I studied to make sure I was on point with everything. It just added an hour or so. Not too bad.”
The good news was that Player A’s prior position prepared him for this new role. In his last position, he was responsible for knowing – at least vaguely – what everyone else’s responsibilities were in addition to his own.
“That’s what really helped me,” Player A said of his former position. “It was like ok, I might not know exactly what I got but I know he has this gap and he has this gap so I have to have this gap. That’s kind of how I had to play it during the week but then eventually I learned it.”
Player A got his first chance to test out his new role in Friday’s game, where he played 36% of the team’s defensive snaps. He was productive, too. He registered a sack and batted down a pass at the line.
“I had a solid game but there’s a lot of things I know I can get better at,” Player A said. “It’s just setting edges. Messing with the big boys now. I’m in the trenches – I gotta get used to playing a little different. So just little technique stuff.”
Got your guesses?
View some of the best photos from the Buccaneers' Preseason Week 2 matchup against the Miami Dolphins.
Player B a.k.a. D’Cota Dixon
Player C a.k.a. Dare Ogunbowale
Ogunbowale has had a great camp and has opened a lot of people’s eyes as to his abilities. He’s carving out his niche in the running back room. It seems that it’s more of a collective effort between the backs, each playing to their own strengths. That’s by design, too.
“I feel like the playbook fits our personnel a lot better,” Ogunbowale said of the offense. “I’m able to do things within the playbook that highlight some of my different skills I bring.”
The offense incorporates a lot more checkdown options for quarterback Jameis Winston, which includes dump-offs to running backs. There’s also an emphasis on play action – which relies on the threat of the run to work. So backs are incorporated in myriad ways. Lucky for Ogunbowale, his skill set has plenty of variety. His best attribute he says?
“Probably my route-running,” he said. “My route running has definitely been able to kind of be a highlight this camp and my pass catching. Mainly in the receiving game.”