Buc defensive backs forced Jacquez Green and the team's receivers to deal with bump-and-run coverage
On Monday, the Bucs capped off a two-a-day session at training camp with a barbeque meant for team members and their families. On Tuesday morning, they held a fish fry.
Or at least tried to. As is practice during the regular season, the Bucs spent Monday morning simulating what the Miami Dolphins would do on Thursday in preseason game two, in order to prepare to defeat it. That involved adopting some of the approaches the team grew to recognize when the two teams met for four joint practices in Orlando on July 28-29.
"I think we got a good initial feeling on what they're going to try to attack with us," said safety John Lynch after the morning session ended. "Likewise with them, so I think it will be a good, well-played football game. Guys will be playing hard because this time guys are playing for jobs."
Head Coach Tony Dungy ran the team through a 135-minute practice, about 10-15 minutes longer than usual (though scheduled that way well ahead of time). Much of that time was spent with either the offense or the defense emulating Miami's units for the other side.
"Yeah, we got in a little work on them today, and it's different stuff for us," said Head Coach Tony Dungy. "A lot of bump-and-run coverage that we have to face on offense and a little different style, a two-back running attack that we look at on defense. We got a start today and we'll continue on this afternoon."
The most notable aspect of those difference is the Dolphins' coverage technique, which is a much more physical and aggressive approach than the Bucs' prevalent zone. Miami was very effective with that style against the Buccaneers in Orlando, so the team is working on getting used to it, which involves Tampa Bay corner men coming up to the line of scrimmage to disrupt routes.
"We don't do it as much as they do," said Dungy of the bump-and-run. "We've got some young guys that were pretty good bump-and-run players in college. We gave them our best effort today."
Not all of the two-plus hours were spent in Miami mode, as the practice still had a very training camp atmosphere about it.
"Today we started preparing for Miami, though we're still in the traditional 'camp mode', doing fundamentals of football," said Lynch. "Today we brought out the cards and the service teams, and got some good work done introducing ourselves to Miami. Then we had a fundamental period at the end. During training camp, we try not to focus too much on the opponent but just on getting ourselves better."
That internal focus appears to be taking effect on the offense, which is picking up steam after a slow start. Dungy was complimentary of the offense's results on Monday, and he thought Tuesday's practice kept the momentum going.
"It was (another good practice)," said Dungy. "It's always a little bit tougher as you start in on that first day, but yesterday was very sharp and we're encouraged by today."
As Dungy mentioned, the team has another session of preparation for the Dolphins on Tuesday afternoon, beginning at 3:30 p.m. There is a morning practice only on Wednesday, then the team heads off to Miami on Thursday.