-You’ve probably read multiple articles that suggest things aren’t always what they seem in a Todd Bowles defense but deception isn’t just reserved for that side of the ball – the offense has its fair share of trickery built in between selling fake handoffs or intertwining routes that force defensive backs to make split-second decisions. These kinds of situations are all run over and over again in everything from individual position group drills to scrimmaging situations where the two sides go head-to-head and it’s a lot of fun to watch.
-It was the veteran receivers' turn to stand out today with both Chris Godwin and Mike Evans making splash catches. In half-field drills, Godwin managed to use his incredible length to pluck a ball out of the air without ever actually leaving his feet. He was essentially just able to reach over the defender to grab it. He’s going to be a nightmare wherever Head Coach Bruce Arians and Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich decide to line him up.
Evans, on the other hand, did leave his feet when he made a leaping grab with three defenders swarming around him. A guy that’s 6-5 who can also jump up to get the ball shouldn’t even be allowed.
-Second-year receiver Justin Watson made some tangible improvement throughout the practice. He dropped a pass early on but made a mission out of making up for it the rest of practice. Watson had a couple of great grabs from various routes all over the field. His final act was a diving catch in the front corner of the end zone for a touchdown while they team was executing two-minute drills. If that was the game-winning touchdown, Watson would have easily had it.
-The new defensive scheme is extremely aggressive in nature and is known as an ‘attack’ defense, aiming to basically impose its own will on opposing offenses. The overall mentality has carried over to the players, who at one point were actually calling for some deep shots down the field. They wanted to defend them. The energy level is very high throughout all levels of the defense and they are all starting to work in concert with each other.
-It’s hard for the front line on the defensive side of the ball to stand out during Phase III where there is still no contact but the middle and deep levels made up for it today. Immediately after a great play to break up a pass, rookie cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting one-upped himself by nabbing an interception. He saw the ball was going underneath and quickly cut under to make the catch. It was a pretty great series for the rookie.
-Speaking of rookies, the secondary weren’t the only ones making plays on the ball. The play was a checkdown to the running back over the middle and when linebacker Devin White read that, he was able to break up the pass. This defense swarms in the direction of the ball no matter what happens and they aren’t giving up on plays very easily.
THE BEST THING I SAW:
This one requires some context. Second-year cornerback Carlton Davis came off a play shaking his head to corners coach Kevin Ross and admitted that he had given the receiver too much room. On the very next play, Davis appeared to have learned from his mistake when he positioned himself well enough to be able to undercut the receiver’s route and ended up intercepting the pass with room to run. You could say he’s a quick study.
View the best photos from the fourth day of Bucs OTAs.