WR Antonio Bryant is taking the OTAs seriously in an effort to have another big season this fall
A day after kicking off "OTA season" with an organized practice on Tuesday morning, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were back on the field in large numbers on Wednesday.
Using the second of their 14 allotted "organized team activity days," Buccaneer coaches gathered with 62 players for a 100-minute session, finishing at 12:05. With the team's 16 rookies ineligible to return to team headquarters until next week and a couple other players slowed by minor injuries, that turnout was nearly complete.
OTA workouts will continue over the next four weeks, the team getting together for full-scale practices on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week. That will lead into the mandatory mini-camp that ends the Buccaneers' 14-week offseason training program.
On Wednesday, the Bucs encountered another hot morning when they began their pat-n-go and stretching periods at approximately 10:25 a.m. ET. They went from their into individual drills, with three different defensive groups gathering on the middle field and the offense – split into a TE/WR group and a QB/RB group – taking the easternmost field.
Three quarterbacks began a drill with the tailbacks and fullbacks, with Luke McCown, Byron Leftwich and Josh Johnson taking turns throwing a variety of shallow outs and quick ins to backs releasing out of the backfield. Later, the passers joined the receivers and tight ends and the backs went to the far end of the field to engage in a series of very interesting drills.
For a few minutes, for instance, the backs took turns slipping a thick bungee cord around their waists, with the other end tied to the goal post. Against the cord's resistance, they had to surge forward to a variety of cones. Moments later, they headed over to a series of three tall tackling dummies and ran behind them as Running Backs Coach Steve Logan used the Jugs gun to surprise them with passes through various gaps in the bags.
Equally entertaining drills took place at all corners of the two fields. Cornerbacks worked on shedding a blocker (using a pad, since no real contact is allowed) and getting to a running back who was trying to get around the edge. Linebackers worked on their footwork when reacting to the play, trying to eliminate false steps and hesitations.
Even without the presence of tight end Kellen Winslow – Buccaneers.com reported on Tuesday that Winslow's absence was expected and not considered an issue by the coaching staff – the three passers had an almost full complement of targets to which to direct their passes. Early in a session of route-running against air (no defenders), wide receiver Antonio Bryant ran a deep out and snatched a very low pass off his shoe tops just as he came out of his break. As several coaches shouted their praise, Bryant simply jogged back to the line of scrimmage and said, "It's going to be like that all year."
Obviously, the competitive spirit is already high at One Buccaneer Place.
Head Coach Raheem Morris is scheduled to speak to the media following the conclusion of today's practice. Please return to Buccaneers.com in the afternoon for a more detailed look at Wednesday's OTA.