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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Live Drill Raises Intensity at Bucs' Camp

The Buccaneers finished the second week of training camp with a very competitive – not to mention, loud – practice complete with a hard-fought live goal-line drill near the end

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers practiced six times in seven days during the second week of their training camp, most of it in full pads and under a brutal sun. The last of those six sessions was on Sunday, and one might have expected the team to be running a little low on gas by the end of it, particularly with a welcome day off on Monday beckoning.

Instead, the players produced one of the most intense workouts of the summer so far, and certainly one of the most talkative. All of that culminated in the first fully "live" drill of camp, highlighted by six very physical plays at the goal line. In fact, the players foreknowledge that the live period was waiting at the end of the two-plus-hour workout may have raised the overall competitive spirit from the very beginning of the practice.

"Oh for sure, for sure," said safety Mike Edwards. "It started out in the first period, actually, with the one-on-ones, the competition drill. People were getting rowdy and stuff like that, so I kind of think that set it off. But when we had a live period I think that's what set it off, definitely."

It wasn't just the heightened crack of the pads that made this particular practice louder than the others. There was also a good amount of jawing, especially from players on the defensive side, which has been on a roll in recent practices. Assistant Head Coach Harold Goodwin/Run Game Coordinator Harold Goodwin – filling in at the post-practice podium to give Todd Bowles a break – had no issue with the jawing back and forth.

"I just think a lot of people are talking crap, which makes practice fun," said Goodwin. "It will be good to get Miami in here in the next couple days. But that's training camp. There's always going to be a squabble here or there but that's just part of it. As long as we don't take it too far and make it personal, we're fine."

The half-dozen goal line plays all started from the 1.5-yard line and proved to be a good give-and-take between the offense and defense, with several rookies coming up big. Tight end Cade Otton caught a touchdown pass on a play-action play and running back Rachaad White scored twice, as well. For the defense, defensive backs Jamel Dean and Ross Cockrell had key hits on two plays that fell short of the goal line. Running back Kenjon Barner also caught a touchdown pass but it was heavily disputed by the defense, which felt the play would have resulted in a sack if quarterbacks weren't strictly off limits.

Goodwin was impressed by White's goal line efforts.

"He's going to be a good football player," said Goodwin. "He can protect the quarterback, he can run the ball, he can find the smallest creases to get into. He's smart, he pays attention to detail, so I look forward to seeing what he can do once we get to real ball."

White scored once standing up after bouncing off one tackler and getting around left tackle. His second touchdown was a hard-nosed plunge up the middle. The Bucs have little doubt that White is talented enough as a runner and a pass-catcher to succeed in the NFL; like all rookie backs, though, he will have to prove he is dependable in pass protection before he sees much action. Fortunately, he's coming along well in that department, too.

"He's willing to put his face in – that's half the job right there, willing to put your face in," said Goodwin. "The other half is knowing what to do and he's conquered both of them so far. Knock on wood, he continues that."

The players surely relish the thought of taking it easy on Monday before the Miami Dolphins come to town for a pair of joint practices on Wednesday and Thursday. But they didn't start relaxing too early, instead putting together a high-effort, high-intensity workout to cap the week.

"Just coming off the field, I thought it was a really good day of practice," said Goodwin. "I thought the defense did a great job, offense did a great job at times, so it was just a good overall practice of iron sharpening iron. It was a good day overall; I like the way we made progress today."

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