Kellen Winslow (82) rejoined the tight end corps on Tuesday and gave the QBs another dynamic target
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were back on the practice field Tuesday morning, recharged and refocused after the long Memorial Day weekend.
This was no vacation. With last week's overcast and windy weather a memory, the Buccaneers practiced under sweltering conditions, with a coaching staff apparently intent on maintaining a very high tempo throughout the two-hour workout.
One player getting his first round of practice reps in weeks was tight end Kellen Winslow. The sixth-year veteran hadn't attended the first two weeks of voluntary organized team activity (OTA) days, which team management had understood in advance. Winslow's return on Tuesday gave quarterbacks Luke McCown, Byron Leftwich, Josh Johnson and Josh Freeman another dynamic pass-catcher to target.
The quarterbacks also enjoyed having 6-5 wide receiver Maurice Stovall back on the grass after Stovall had missed most of last week's work with a minor injury. On the defensive side, rookie defensive tackle Roy Miller also returned to full-speed action after sitting out last week's practices due to his own unspecified injury.
Though the coaches returned to their usual practice schedule following last Thursday's last-minute shakeup, the workout did begin with a twist. After weeks of mostly new music playing during the early warm-up periods, this time the players were serenaded with a selection of '60s and '70s rock, ranging from Foghat to Joe Walsh to the Beatles' "Come Together."
The music faded out as the Bucs started into their individual-position periods, which coaches have taken to calling "Indies" this year. It was at this point that the accelerated tempo of practice began to be obvious. Position coaches ran their players through a series of drills with barely a pause in between. In the defensive backs drill, the players were reminded to nail their technique – such as staying low during backpedals – because they were being filmed for analysis after practice.
The linebackers, meanwhile, were being reminded repeatedly about the importance of securing turnovers. After running them through a couple sets of reps in which he was firing quick passes in their directions, Linebackers Coach Joe Barry suddenly switched up and began rolling fumbles that the players had to react to and pick up on the run. "Get the ball back!" yelled Barry. "That has to constantly be our theme around here."
The last thing the wide receivers and tight ends worked on before the horn sounded announcing the first period of full-offense work was sideline catches. Wide Receivers Coach Richard Mann implored the players to watch the ball, not the sideline, as they made the catch and dragged the second foot. The drill proved particularly useful to second-year wide receiver Dexter Jackson, who immediately made two toe-dragging sideline catches in the next drill, drawing praise from the coaching staff.
The Buccaneers will conclude Tuesday's practice at approximately 12:15 p.m. ET. Buccaneers.com will provide a more detailed look at the day's action in the afternoon, including another daily OTA Buccaneers Insider in the video section.