Rookie G Davin Joseph is used to fans asking for autographs, but not to watching the first-team offense operate without him
The start of Buccaneers training camp brought with it many familiarities – coaches barking, receivers and defensive backs yapping and fans hoping to get an autograph – but it also proved an unfamiliar experience for a much-heralded rookie.
First-round selection Davin Joseph, an explosive guard from Oklahoma, found himself faced with a new scenario – not working with the starting unit. Of course, that's no surprise for a rookie making the transition to the NFL but it's still tough for a fiery competitor such as Joseph.
With 40 starts in his college career, the Consensus First-Team All-Big 12 lineman isn't used to standing around watching the first team work without him, but that's exactly what he found himself doing during Friday's practice.
"I haven't done that in a long time, but there won't be too much standing around," Joseph said. "The coaches know what they want and what they have in store for me, and hopefully I'll live up to their expectations and mine too."
Perhaps as encouragement, it was passed on to Joseph that Offensive Line Coach Bill Muir said he has what it takes to start now, but the humble rookie responded that he was merely trying to compete, learn and be able to contribute by the time the first game comes around.
"Coach Muir has a lot of experience in this area, so he would know more than I would," Joseph said. "If he says it, then I believe him. It still takes a lot of hard work, so I might have what it takes talent-wise, but hard work-wise I still have to prove myself."
Joseph plans on using the fierce competition along the O-line to do just that.
"The guys around here – we're like a family, more than just a team," he said. "The guys have embraced me and [Jeremy] Trueblood very well. It's friendly competition. It makes it really comfortable to come in here as a rookie and be able to compete with some older guys and know that they'll help you out and also have the coaches help you out too – they're competing with you makes you better.
"I'm in good shape," he added. "I weighed in at 316 today. I want to get down a little more to feel really comfortable, but right now I'm feeling good."
Asked about the team's focus on improving its offensive line play, running back Cadillac Williams made his thoughts abundantly clear.
"I'm loving those guys upfront, from the starters to reserves," Williams said. "I know it's football, and guys go down and you have to have some back-up players, guys who can step in. We have a lot of depth at offensive line. We have a lot guys out here competing, so I'm just looking forward to the outcome."
As for early evaluations of Joseph, Head Coach Jon Gruden stressed there is a long way to go with all players at this stage of training camp, but that the organization likes Joseph and his potential.
"He's a quick study, he's a very athletic guy and he's got some size and some unique traits that we need around here," Gruden said.
Though the expectations of his teammates and coaches are high, Joseph seems ready to embrace them. The first step, he said, was reporting to camp on time. Joseph made it clear to his agent that being with his teammates for the start of training camp was very important to him. The rest, he said, is a matter of hard work.
"I know what Coach Gruden wants," Joseph said. "I know what Mr. Bruce Allen wants. I know what Coach Muir wants. My expectations and their expectations are on the same page.
"I didn't come here to sit around. It's my goal to start, but I am taking realistic steps, not trying to overwhelm myself right now, and it'll get there when it gets there. But hopefully it gets there in a hurry."