Running Backs Coach Todd McNair
McNair had good things to say about the running back tandem of Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones from Frfiday’s preseason opener. Overall, he was pleased, but knows it was only a small sample size and that there is a lot more work to be done.
“I was pretty satisfied with how they played,” McNair said. “Of course, it was brief – they had only a few plays. I think [they had] three carries a piece. Peyton caught one [and] Ronald caught one. But, I’m pleased with their development and how they are coming along right now. We’ve still got a ton of work to do, but so far it’s been pretty positive.”
Wide Receivers Coach Kevin Garver
Wide receivers coach Kevin Garver is no stranger to having young players in his room. A young coach himself, six of the Bucs’ 11 wide receivers currently listed on the inflated 90-man roster are rookies. Because of that, Garver says the presence of veterans like Mike Evans and even emerging players like Chris Godwin and Breshad Perriman are invaluable to the group as a whole.
“I went through this last year in Arizona,” Garver said. “I had a lot of young guys on that roster also. You know, it helps though to have vets in your room. Mike Evans obviously has done a lot of great things in his career. Chris [Godwin] has had the opportunity to have a couple years under his belt. ‘BP’ (Breshad Perriman), same thing, going through some struggles early on in his career and having the opportunity to come around. In saying all of those things, it helps having those guys in the room because they are able to help them through the ups and the downs through training camp, through learning, understanding offenses and then really just trying to teach these guys the approach and what it takes to be a vet and what it takes to play at a high level.”
Cornerbacks Coach Kevin Ross
Cornerbacks coach Kevin Ross was full of great nuggets during assistant coach availability on Monday. He spoke on rookie cornerback Mazzi Wilkins and how Wilkins reminds Ross of himself as a player. Nicknamed ‘the rock’ for his physical playing style, Ross called Wilkins a ‘pebble’ right now as he develops. Wilkins wasn’t the only one that Ross spoke on, talking about rookie cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting’s lack of presence in Friday’s preseason game that Head Coach Bruce Arians also called out publicly to the media on Saturday. Ross addressed the coaches’ style of criticism and how the players respond to it.
“They understand the nature of the position now,” Ross said. “This is the most scrutinized position in the NFL. When they give up big plays, it’s easy to see them. They’re not A-gap, B-gap players like linebackers and linemen. They’re field players – they take guys all over the field and they understand now what it’s going to take mental and physically-wise how to play the game.”
Defensive Line Coach Kacy Rodgers
Defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers shed some light on the Bucs’ defense as a whole and what we saw in game action on Friday. Currently, the defense is working on mastering the fundamentals of the system and played a lot in their base formation to be sure the players grasped those concepts. Realistically, we haven’t seen the half of what this defense can do; not even close.
“That’s really what practice is,” Rodgers said about how they’re implementing the new defensive system. “We’re just getting all our installs in now and right now, going into the preseason game, we’re just really showing a lot of our base stuff and really, like you said, [trying] not to reveal what we want to do. So, really right now we just want to get the base fundamentals in and understand the basis of the system, then once we get into the season, everything’s fair game.”
Inside Linebackers Coach Mike Caldwell
Though he’s currently sitting out the rest of the preseason after having arthroscopic surgery on his knee, veteran linebacker Lavonte David is still around every day. He may not be able to be on the field, but he can be in the meeting rooms, continuing to mentor younger players – especially rookie linebacker Devin White, who as the MIKE linebacker, has had a lot of responsibility thrust on his young shoulders.
“It’s always good to have a vet in the room, and he’s a true vet,” Caldwell said of David. “He’s out right now but he’s in every meeting [and] he’s helping the young guys. What I can’t see, he sees, so it’s just like having another coach on the staff and it’s real helpful.”