The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held their last full-scale practice of training camp on Wednesday morning, and Head Coach Greg Schiano shortened it by about half an hour from the typical camp schedule. On Thursday, the team will conduct a relatively short jog-through, and after Friday's game the players will get a break from the practice field on both Saturday and Sunday.
So, things are going to slow down a little bit for the hard-working Buccaneers…in the short term.
In the long run, the atmosphere and the pace of work at One Buccaneer Place is likely to go on mostly unchanged, and the players' know it. Rookie running back Doug Martin said he didn't think the weeks ahead would feel any different, apart from moving out of the team hotel and not having a nightly curfew. Wide receiver Sammie Stroughter figures the team will continue to push itself, as it has learned to do under the new head coach.
Schiano essentially confirmed those expectations when he was asked how things would be different at One Buc after camp breaks on Thursday. His answer: "Not that much."
Again, the short-term schedule will be a bit unusual. Schiano said next Monday and Tuesday's practices would resemble training camp, and then Thursday and Friday will be used to conduct a pair of joint practices with the visiting New England Patriots. There's another game next Friday, the preseason opener just five days after that and a pair of significant roster cuts after each one. But when the dust has settled, there is still much to accomplish and this team is being trained to do things in one uncompromising way.
"Immensely tough," said Stroughter when asked to describe camp. "Grinding, and allowing us to really push ourselves into areas that we didn't think we could be pushed. That was really good. Once you get through it, you look back at it and say, 'It was for the right purpose.' Not knowing what your mind can do, and getting through things you didn't know you could."
Even though he has much more he will be asking the players to do in the coming weeks, Schiano is pleased with how training camp went, particularly in terms of effort.
"They worked very, very hard," he said. "That's what I was most excited about. What I was really pleased with was the effort and the buy-in that these guys exhibited. I do understand – these guys have been busting their humps and now it gears back a little bit, then we have the game. But we do have some hard work to do."