Watch: DE Da'Quan Bowers talks about his camp experience so far
After Thursday's camp-opening practice had the rare blessing of a complete cloud cover from beginning to end, things heated up considerably at One Buccaneer Place on Friday morning. The normal swelter returned, and while it wasn't necessarily appreciated it was grudgingly welcomed. Buccaneer coaches have long maintained that practicing in such conditions gives them an edge when the games begin, and current head man Greg Schiano is no different.
Buccaneer players understand the value of training in Tampa, too, even as they pay strict attention to rehydrating and avoiding cramps and overheating. In fact, Coach Schiano and his players have discussed this very topic, with Schiano gracing his team with this time-honored martial quote:
"The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war."
Those words have been spoken by the likes of George S. Patton, Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. and Sun Tzu, and may actually trace back to the Roman Era. The meaning is clear for the Buccaneers: Force yourself to work hard now, in the heat of the summer, and you will be better prepared to succeed in the fall.
It's a catchy quote, so it's not surprising it stuck with the players. Safety Dashon Goldson, who is clearly comfortable in a leadership role among the players, even as a newcomer to the team, pulled it out after Friday's steamy field session.
"It's definitely challenging, but it's good," said Goldson of the weather. "Like coach says, we sweat in a time of peace, and it's only going to help throughout the season whenever we play in different kind of weather. If you can be in good condition in this kind of weather, you can face anything."
Goldson also had good things to say about rookie teammate Johnthan Banks after practice on Friday. Here's a sampling of some of the conversations that took place on the field after the Bucs finished their three-hour morning session:
Visiting Retired CB Ronde Barber:
On observing Bucs practice as a spectator for the first time:
"Coach [Schiano] is getting work out of them, orderly, as you'd expect from him. I'm enjoying being on this side of the fence. I look forward to covering this team for a couple of weeks with you guys at WFLA, and getting on with the rest of my life."
On if he will have a problem being objective as a reporter:
"I don't think I'll have any problem being objective. We live in a very subjective world where everybody has an opinion, so I don't know why mine would be any different."
On who has more pressure: Head Coach Greg Schiano or QB Josh Freeman:
"I don't think either of those guys are [feeling the pressure] right now. They'll find a way. I've been around those guys long enough, the whole year last year with Coach and a couple of years with Josh. I think the pressure is a built-up thing with you guys. They don't feel it. They go out there and do their jobs. If it's good enough, it's good enough. If it's not, it's not."
On CB Darrelle Revis:
"He's very good. I used to spend a lot of time with Aqib [Talib], when he was here, studying guys. [Revis] was a guy we always went back to because of his technique on the line of scrimmage. He does a lot of things right. He has the short-space quicks to play on the line of scrimmage, he has the speed to run with anybody, he's certainly a rare talent. But he's certainly a rare technician and that makes him the player that he is."
On what it means to be a leader in the NFL:
"I've said this in the past, especially since all these young guys started coming in here. Leadership is not designated, you assume it. You can't say a guy is a captain and expect him to be a leader. It's something that is proven on the field, proven in the locker room, the way you go about your job. There's some guys on this team that can do that. It's a heck of a responsibility, especially in today's NFL, with the way players are. You need good examples and I expect some guys to really step up and be that for this team."
DE Da'Quan Bowers
On how he feels:
"I feel awesome. It's been hot these last couple days, so getting prepared is definitely to our advantage down in Tampa. I'm not rehabbing anything. I'm just kind of taking care of my body, using the ice tub, and feeling good."
On what kind of adjustment it would be to a have larger role this year:
"It's not an adjustment at all. This is what I do. This is what I take pride in. Playing football is my job, whether it's for one play or four. I've just got to toughen up and do the job. They're counting on me and I just want to fulfill my duties."
On if there is pressure on the defensive line:
"There's no pressure; that's our job. Our job is to put pressure on the quarterback and make them make bad decisions. It's easy to say it, but we've just got to toughen up. We've got to do our jobs, do our assignments, and it will take care of itself."
On Warren Sapp challenging him and the front four:
"Sapp's a good friend and a good mentor. If I can play with the kind of intensity that that guy played with all those years, hopefully you guys will be asking me about the next generation sooner or later."
S Dashon Goldson
On Johnthan Banks making some big plays in practice:
"Johnthan Banks is doing a good job on and off the field. In the team room and in the (position) meeting room he's paying attention, he's understanding the game of football and he's putting himself in position to make plays. That's a good thing."
WR Kevin Ogletree
On his expectations throughout training camp:
"Right now my expectations are the same as everyone else: coming in every day and get better. Find something that you can get better at. I know that sounds cliché and boring, but it is 100% true. You can come in and compete on the field every day. Competing in those meeting rooms gives yourself the best chance to be the best player you can be. That's what makes you valuable."
On his comfort level within the offense:
"It's good. It's a lot better than the first time hearing it. I was making a lot of mistakes during OTAs and, not making them twice, but once was bad enough. Here in this offense, getting it installed again for the second time is an advantage for me. It's an advantage for all the guys to hear it again. Now it's not about worrying about an assignment or an alignment. It's those tips and those things that can help you when you don't have to think about what you are doing, but how you are going to do it. Assessing the defense more and those type of things."
On Coach Schiano calling him unique:
"Schiano said that? I don't want to use a bunch of I's and Me's, but it's all about the time right now and getting better. I work all year to come out here and compete and be the best player that I can be. As far as adding something to the team, I am just a guy that competes his butt off and likes to make plays. I'm a receiver, that's what we like to do. We've got to get out there and catch the ball and we have to block as well. As far as being unique, I can play outside, I can play inside. I think that helps a little bit when you are thinking about game-planning on teams and looking at matchups…find a little advantage for our offense."
T Donald Penn
On the franchise locking up key players long-term:
"The culture's changing man, culture's changing. Now it's our job to turn it into wins. This season, we put a lot of pieces in place and now we've just got to go out there and do it. I'm very excited and I'm really happy and I'm really excited about this season. I think we're going to surprise a lot of people. But I'm tired of talking about it. I can't wait until we can go so we can show you guys and stop doing all of this talking."
On Carl Nicks' and Davin Joseph's health:
"Yeah they're good, but we're being smart with them. We're being smart with Revis, you know, you don't want any set-backs. We have one of the best – not one of, we have the best – training staff in the league. Todd [Toriscelli] is great so I trust everything they're doing."
On the pieces coming together on offensive:
"On paper it looks good, but if you look at our stats last year they look great too, but we just have to get more wins. We ran the ball well. I think Josh [Freeman] had a great offseason. I think he's doing better and better every day. He should have a lot of motivation seeing all of these quarterbacks signing. Shoot, I know I would if I were him. He's ready to go and we're just getting better, we're just getting better. We brought some guys in, it's going to be a tough spot for that backup running back spot, it's going to be a tough spot for that third receiver spot, and it's going to be a tough spot for some of our backup O-line guys. One thing about our O-line, we've got a lot of guys that are going to be backups that would start on other teams. It's great to have that; a lot of teams don't have that."
On his expectations for Doug Martin:
"He's so humble. You ask him, he's probably going to stay mute, he's such a humble guy. We're just going to try to lead the way and make it easy for him. We're going to get the two big hogs back in the middle and we're just going to try to make it easier for him. We've got to build from last year with the running game; we can't take a step back."