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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

OTA Notes: Rotating #1 Quarterbacks

Mike Glennon got most of the first-team work during Thursday's OTA practice, but Jameis Winston is getting his shot, too…Plus, Donteea Dye makes a good first impression and other notes.

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As Linebackers Coach Hardy Nickerson pointed out to us recently, there is no official depth chart in the offseason. Still, the coaches have to pick 11 players on each side of the ball to take the first snap in any given drill, so it's possible to get a general sense of the pecking order. It's important, however, not to put too much stock into such observations at this time of the year.

But don't take my word for it. Here's Head Coach Lovie Smith on the fact that Mike Glennon, not rookie Jameis Winston, took most of the first-team reps at quarterback in full-team and seven-on-seven drills during Thursday's OTA practice, which was open to the media:

"Jameis is getting his first-team reps. [The media is] here on Thursday; on Wednesday, he was with the first-group then. I wouldn't look too much into that. We just want the guys we think can play to get reps and to work with a lot of different combinations, not just the quarterback position but throughout."

Essentially, the Buccaneers are alternating days with Glennon and Winston as the primary number-one passer. Even within such a structure, there's room for mixing it up a little bit, but the point is that both quarterbacks are getting a very real opportunity to fight for the starting job. Winston had his day on Wednesday; next week, the Buccaneers have four OTAs scheduled, so that would presumably be an opportunity for both players to get two more shots.

Photos of OTA practice at One Buccaneer Place.

"Jameis and everybody else, you're going to have to earn your position, yeah," said Smith. "Jameis is right on schedule. We're not disappointed or anything like that in him, or our football team right now. On schedule."

Winston may not have run with the ones on Thursday, but it was still a valuable experience for him, and not only during the reps he was on the field. The number-one overall draft pick has been impressed with what he's seen from Glennon and is doing his best to learn from the third-year player.

"Just watching Mike and seeing things he does, I'm trying to peek everything that he has because he's been doing great," said Winston. "I look up to him. The things that he does are magnificent and I try to always compete, so it's always good to have a great guy in front of you. It just helps you push yourself."

Some additional notes from Thursday's OTA:

  • Special Teams Coordinator Kevin O'Dea gave quite a few young players a chance to show off their moves during a kickoff return drill, but it was rookie sixth-rounder Kaelin Clay who went first in the rotation. Clay may eventually help the team as a wide receiver, but it was his impressive work in the return game at Utah last year that prompted the team to spend a draft pick on him. Others who got a shot included wide receivers Kenny Bell, Tavarres King, Donteea Dye, Robert Herron and Adam Humphries. King and Herron are both second-year players but the others are rookies. King and Humphries also worked as the personal escort for the returner, lining up just in front of the deep man and leading him into the hole. Veteran running backs Mike James and Bobby Rainey were used in that role as well. Any job a young player can nail down on special teams is important when it comes time to fashion the 53-man roster.
  • Speaking of Dye, the young receiver out of Heidelberg (a Division III school in Tiffin, Ohio with about 1,000 undergrads) is holding his own against tougher competition. A Buc fan named Tom Hawk inquired into Dye's progress in this week's One Buc Mailbag and I promised to get more information. Here's the inside scoop from Wide Receivers Coach Andrew Hayes-Stoker:

"He's fast, he's got juice. That's the first thing that shows up when you see him. He's really athletic, very agile, very good hands, great body movement, really good body lean for a receiver. That's a surprise for a guy that came from where he's coming from. Great first impression. Really happy with him."

  • While the Buccaneers had more than 80 players in action on the practice field on Thursday, there were a few veterans who were not in attendance: tackle Demar Dotson and cornerback Johnthan Banks. Apparently unconcerned, Head Coach Lovie Smith emphasized that the OTA practices are voluntarily and that the team knew exactly where both players were. Smith said the team will hopefully "get them back before long."
  • As I noted on Twitter on Tuesday, second-year wide receiver Mike Evans was back on the practice field to start the week after leaving the previous Thursday's practice a little earlier with a minor leg injury. At the time, Smith referred to it as a "tweak" of Evans' hamstring. A similar injury in last year's OTAs cost Evans some offseason practice time, but this one was apparently even less of an issue as the young receiver didn't even miss a full practice. Evans made it through the week without issue. Smith also noted that rookie guard Ali Marpet, who missed last week's work with his own hamstring injury, was back on the field this week, too. "It was good to get Ali Marpet out there," said the coach. "He hurt his hamstring a while back. Good to get him back into the mix, also."
  • With Dotson out, the Buccaneers gave plenty of first-team action at right tackle to Patrick Omameh, who started all of last year at right guard. Early in practice, the Bucs starting five on the O-Line was LT Donovan Smith, LG Ali Marpet, C Evan Smith, RG Garrett Gilkey and RT Patrick Omameh. This is a good time to revisit the "don't read too much into it" clause from earlier. The Bucs used some other first-team combinations throughout the two-hour session, including much of it with Logan Mankins at his usual left guard spot.
  • With incumbent kicker Patrick Murray getting a scheduled day of rest, the Buccaneers gave all the attempts during the field goal session to the recently-signed Brandon Bogotay. Bogotay made 11 attempts ranging from 23 to 53 yards and made nine of them. He was one of two from 53 yards; his other miss hit the upright from the 40-50 range. Mike Glennon served as the holder during this drill.
  • Rookie wide receiver Rannell Hall, a UCF product, drew strong reviews for his work in the rookie mini-camp in May. During a red zone seven-on-seven drill on Thursday he caught touchdown passes on two consecutive plays. Jameis Winston was sharp during this drill, including a pump-fake fade pass to Russell Shepard in the back right corner of the end zone on the final rep.
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