Skip to main content

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Joint Practice with Jets to Provide Bucs with Valuable Work Scenarios

The Buccaneers will visit the Jets' training camp on site for one joint practice, which will allow coaches on both sides to script specific situations and players to seek out fresh challenges


The New York Jets, next up on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' preseason schedule, boast the NFL's reigning Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year. Wide receiver Garrett Wilson and cornerback Sauce Gardner are already budding stars – actually Gardner in particular is already in full bloom – which creates the possibility for some juicy matchups with some of the Buccaneers' most established players. Think Wilson versus Jamel Dean or Mike Evans versus Gardner.

There's a good chance, however, that these matchups will more frequently take place on the practice fields at the Atlantic Health Training Center than on the MetLife Stadium turf.

The Buccaneers and Jets are scheduled to meet in a Week Two preseason game on Saturday night in East Rutherford, New Jersey. However, the Buccaneers are actually flying up to the Garden State on Tuesday so that the two teams can also hold a joint practice at the Jets' training camp site on Wednesday. Because players avoid tackling in practice and because very specific game situations can be scripted by both sides, the Buccaneers' coaching staff actually feels more comfortable playing the team's starters on the practice field than in the game.

Head Coach Todd Bowles indicated on Sunday that the valuable reps of a joint practice could lead him to rest a good number of starters again on Saturday night.

"If they can get a lot of reps in, yeah," said Bowles. "Those who don't get a lot of reps in will play in the game. If we can get the reps that we need to get in in those two practices – which they will take the bulk of – we'll evaluate that probably that Thursday or Friday."

Bowles' reference to two joint practices is based on the original schedule for the week, in which the Buccaneers and Jets were also going to work together on Thursday. However, that plan has since been changed, with the teams choosing to practice separately at two different locations on Thursday. Still, that Wednesday congregation provides an opportunity for some very valuable work for both clubs.

"It'll be very good to get some situation football done against someone other than ourselves," said Bowles on Monday. "We need a lot of work, we need to see different things. Everybody gets kind of stuck in a rut – so to speak – camp wise and kind of knowing who does what and what does it when. It'll be good to go up against somebody else. It'll be good work for us."

In addition, while both teams will tape their practices as usual for later review, that footage is not shared with the rest of the league, unlike the games, and the Bucs and Jets will not meet during the regular season. That means the Bucs can go deeper into their playbook on Wednesday than they would dare to do in a preseason game, as they would rather not broadcast their best plays to the rest of the league.

"You put a lot in because you're playing your first-teamers," said Bowles. "You get them ready for the season quite a bit and you know you're going to see everything you're going to see during the season as opposed to the games where it's going to be basically vanilla football. You're kind of not getting what you'd normally see on certain downs-and-distances."

Evans and Dean won't be the only Buccaneers looking forward to some competitive reps on the Jets' practice fields. Everyone on the 90-man roster is relishing new challenges after three weeks of going against each other.

"I'm super excited, for one because our group of DBs have been waiting for this and had this circled for a long time to go up there and challenge those receivers, and really cement our place in this league," said cornerback Zyon McCollum. "And for me at last year's joint practice, everything was happening fast, so you're catching up constantly, doing things, and finishing in ways that you don't necessarily have to this league. You know, when you're beat, you're beat, and in practice you have to stay as healthy as you can. Just having all that experience going into a joint practice, I'm eager to put my technique to the test, but play smart at the same time."

Related Content

Latest Headlines