This was the last week we get some football action until training camp at the end of next month. It's fine. I'm fine. Everything's fine.
It's not fine.
-OTAs and mini-camp lasted just long enough to get us used to seeing football on a regular basis only to rudely rip it away for six weeks. Le sigh. It was just getting fun. Seriously, during mini-camp the players seemed like they were really starting to mesh as a team. In the process, they were goading friendly rivalries among offense and defense. Players were celebrating with each other. They were also buckling down and helping each other, asking questions of their coaches and putting forth all the effort they were allowed without pads. It was so encouraging to see and made me that much more anxious to see how training camp plays out.
If you want a full wrap-up of mini-camp, along with how new defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh's first days with his new team went, I've got you right here.
View the top photos from the Bucs offseason practices.
-The next six or so weeks will offer some much-needed rest time before the day-in and day-out grind of the NFL season hits. Players and coaches will get to spend time with their families and relax but this time isn't without a healthy dose of accountability. Head Coach Bruce Arians is all about accountability. He's also big on trust, so his message to the team as they broke mini-camp was short and sweet:
"Be in shape when you come back, don't start over and don't be the guy. Simple."
That was what he told the media, anyway. He was a little more impassioned when he addressed the team in the huddle directly. Lucky for you, we got that, too.
-If you have been paying attention, you may have seen that Head Coach Bruce Arians had some very high praise for the Bucs' secondary. Once a major area of concern, he went so far as to say that the unit has been 'totally fixed.' Is that really the case? Probably not, given that he's very adamant about also saying the Bucs are nowhere near a finished product at this point in the season. It's encouraging to hear, nonetheless and Scott Smith explores the topic a little further in his latest mailbag here.
-Around the NFL writer Dan Hanzus predicted each team's 2019 MVP. Scroll down to the Bucs and you'll see he has none other than signal caller Jameis Winston as who he thinks will be Tampa Bay's standout player this coming season.
"Coming off a disappointing season both on and off the field in 2018, the Bucs broke the In Case Of Emergency, Hire Bruce Arians glass as a last-ditch effort to unlock the promise of their former first overall pick. Last time we saw Arians inherit a veteran passer, he revitalized the career of Carson Palmer in Arizona. We all know Arians prefers an offense with big-strike capability, a philosophy that could work as a double-edged sword with a big-armed, turnover-prone passer like Winston. The fact that Arians was willing to come out of retirement to help solve Winston tells you something. Let's see if Mr. Kangol can spin his magic again."
-Speaking of quarterback Jameis Winston, he was right back in the building on Friday to host his Youth Pro Camp for hundreds of kids at AdventHealth Training Center. Winston brought out teammates like Ali Marpet, Ryan Jensen, Donovan Smith, Cam Brate, Will Gholston, Scotty Miller, Justin Watson, Bryant Mitchell and even assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust. It was a free-for-all of fun as Jensen tried his hand at defensive back, Gholston played QB and Miller coached up some kids on route cuts.
Captain Fear even tried his hand on defense. It didn't go so well.
This was the fourth year that Winston held his youth pro camp aimed at instilling good habits and values as much as good football skills. His three main points of emphasis? "I can do anything I set my mind to," "EFFORT" (yes, in all caps) and "teamwork makes the dream work." Those values coincide with his Dream Forever Foundation that aims to impact the lives of financially disadvantaged children and youth. The camp also had some special guests from Special Olympics Central Florida in attendance, too. It was a full Friday of fun and Winston himself is a whole mood.
-We know you've been asking. Head Coach Bruce Arians knows you've been asking. But they're coming! Coach Arians' New Era hats are almost here! You can get yours through the Arians Family Foundation to do some good in addition to looking good, too.