Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Shifting Gears

Originally scheduled to run another complete, 10-period practice on Thursday, the Bucs instead switched the focus to special teams and finished up the week of work a little early…More detailed OTA report to follow

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LB Jamall Johnson and his Buccaneer teammates concentrated solely on special teams on Thursday morning

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers left their helmets in the locker room on Thursday morning and hit the practice field for a slightly different set of drills.

Though the week's original plan called for three full-scale OTA (organized team activity) practices, the Buccaneers' coaching staff pulled an audible on Day Three, switching the morning session to a special teams-only workout. All of the approximately 80 players who were in attendance participated, even those who are not normally involved in the kicking and coverage game.

Whether the switch was prompted by the continuing wet weather, a desire to work the players' legs a little harder or simply the need to spend a little more time on special teams, the result was a series of specialized drills run at full speed. Head Coach Raheem Morris will address the decision at the conclusion of practice. Please return to Buccaneers.com for a more detailed wrap up of the day's work in the afternoon.

Head Strength & Conditioning Coach Kurt Shultz actually had the floor (the grass?) to start the practice, guiding the players through a series of running drills on the middle of the three practice fields. After a quick stretch, the whistle was handed over to Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia, who had the westernmost field covered in a maze of cones, low pads and tackling dummies.

Bisaccia conducted exercises that focused on specific details in the larger picture of returning and covering kicks. The first drill, for instance, involved lines of players stepping through the low pads, sprinting downfield, making a quick move on the tackling dummy and simulating the tackle at the end of the play. Staffers then hurriedly moved the pads out of the way as Bisaccia switched the running lanes from sideline to sideline and had the players work on backpedaling half the field and turning to sprint the other half.

Even without their helmets, and with no actual footballs in sight, Buccaneer players still got an intense workout on Thursday morning as they finished the second week of OTAs. The team will be back on the practice field next week for three more OTA workouts on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

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