S Will Allen has made the Bucs feel confident in their safety position despite the free agent departure of Dexter Jackson
What was great about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2006 offseason? The heavy attendance, the work ethic, the camaraderie, the development of young players, the tempo and precision of workouts. That's a few answers, and we could pinpoint a couple more.
Who was great during the Bucs' offseason? That is, paradoxically, a more precise question with fewer direct answers.
In summarizing the Bucs' four months of offseason work from March through June, Head Coach Jon Gruden generally couched his praise – and he was quite pleased with the work – in terms of the whole team. NFL coaches generally keep most of their specific evaluations of players inside team walls, and there's no point in over-hyping one young man or putting added pressure on another one at this point in the year.
With whom are the coaches really pleased? The answers will be found in the training camp depth chart, in the waiver wire and in the starting lineups on game day.
Direct questions such as, "Who really stood out this spring?" or "Which of the rookies is coming along most quickly?" rarely get answered with much specificity. However, there are often nuggets of such information in a coach's wrap-up of practice or mini-camp. Sometimes a player does enough to impress a coach that he finds himself mentioned without prompting.
Below are four such players who have apparently fired up Gruden with their efforts this spring. It is vitally important to realize that the inclusion of these four does not necessarily mean the exclusion of any others from the list. For instance, Gruden was also very strong in his praise of quarterback Chris Simms, but that is a topic that deserves its own development.