Football is on repeat. Like the movie 'Groundhog Day,' the same routine ensued on the outdoor practice fields at the AdventHealth Training Center. Installs are being formed. Routes and blocking patterns are assessed in extensive detail, serving as an annual reminder that a new season is looming. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers concluded the second day of training camp. Competition heated up on Tuesday as players underwent positional drills and multiple team periods. As some players vie for a spot on the final 53-man roster and others aim to reach peak form in current full-time roles, practice provides an insightful glance at answering question marks. Here are the top takeaways from Thursday's practice and ensuing press conferences.
Center Ryan Jensen Exits with Knee Injury
Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen exited practice on a cart after sustaining a knee injury. The severity of the injury has not yet been disclosed, as Jensen undergoes further medical evaluation. During the final period on a two-minute drill, Jensen ended up on the ground along with teammate Aaron Stinnie. Stinnie was able to get up while Jensen was helped off the field as Tom Brady offered encouragement.
"Right now, we feel terrible for Jensen," General Manger Jason Licht said. "I do not have any update on that; we won't for some time. We have tests, some tests you have to wait for a couple of days before you can give them. You have to wait for swelling and things like that to go down. So, I don't have any update on that other than that it was a knee injury and we're hoping for the best."
Robert Hainsey then replaced Jensen with the first team to conclude practice. Licht confirmed that Hainsey is one of the primary candidates to fill the vacant role if Jensen is unavailable. He will compete with Nick Leverett for the role until news is finalized on Jensen's injury.
Julio Jones Makes Immediate Impact
In his first day donning a #85 Buccaneers' jersey, Julio Jones lit up the practice field. He seamlessly transitioned into a new offense and became an integral part of the passing game during practice. Tom Brady connected with Jones twice during the red zone period, including one on which the receiver made a leaping grab in the back of the end zone, maintaining balance. In describing Jones' performance, Licht frankly stated, "Well, he looked damn good today," immediately negating any health speculations. Jones has the capability of stretching the field vertically, and generating yards after catch on intermediate routes; both were on display for fans on Thursday. His versatile skillset will open up the playbook, prompting creativity. From running curls and crossers, to screens, Jones made his mark during the highly-anticipated debut.
Joe Tryon-Shoyinka Ascension
Joe Tryon-Shoyinka seemingly embodies the overused yet often accurate depiction, "second-year jump." After the club declined to re-sign Jason Pierre-Paul, Tryon-Shoyinaka will have an increased role in Year Two. In order to maximize time on the field last year in his rookie campaign, Tryon-Shoyinka filled a variety of roles: rushing from the edge, the three-technique spot and dropping into coverage as an off-ball linebacker. This season he will have the opportunity to specialize in one area as a prototypical 3-4 defensive end/outside linebacker. During practice, his pursuit skills flashed. He flew around the edge like a missile during team period, collapsing the pocket and forcing an early throw. Antoine Winfield Jr. then made a diving interception to give the defense an advantage over the offense.
"He's a freak. He's so twitchy, so long …he's strong. He can make such big movements so quick…have to make sure your feet are in the ground with him because he can shimmy, but he can still come to power too. You have to be ready for anything."
Tryon-Shoyinka, the club's 2021 first-round draft pick, has a plethora of pass rush moves in his arsenal to deceive blockers at the line of scrimmage and gain the advantage in pursuit of the quarterback. During positional drills, Tryon-Shoyinka focused on change of direction and blitz technique. With a new season on the horizon and contention aspirations, Tryon-Shoyinka will have a permanent role in the Buccaneers' formidable defense.
Lavonte David Showcased Coverage Skills
During practice, "54" became a consistent chant by coaches, recognizing Lavonte David's exceptional coverage skills on the grass. In one instance, David carried Cam Brate over the middle of the field and undercut the pass. With instincts and exceptional route recognition, David made play after play, emboldening the defense in the Florida heat. Often regarded as a tight end eraser in man coverage, David did not disappoint. With physicality in man coverage, David used size as an advantage on short-to-intermediate routes, neutralizing his opponent. As he enters Year 11, David is refining his craft and taking a Brady approach to prioritizing physical fortitude.