The Tampa Bay Buccaneers completed their 11th training camp practice on Tuesday at the AdventHealth Training Center. The Bucs play host to the Miami Dolphins on August 10 and 11, prior to the preseason clash between the two franchises at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday. Football is officially back. As additional installs are implemented, the competition heats up. For many players on the roster ahead of the cutdown date, the time is now to cement a role and gain the trust of coaches. On Tuesday, Head Coach Todd Bowles provided insight on developments as the preseason nears. Here are the top takeaways from Monday's practice.
Left Guard Battle
Following the retirement of Pro Bowl left guard Ali Marpet, that job is up for grabs. Veteran Aaron Stinnie has taken first-team reps throughout camp, along with Nick Leverett and first-year player Brandon Walton. Second-round pick Luke Goedeke has primarily worked with the second-team but all are in the audition mix during the preseason for the starting gig. The Bucs will take several weeks to dictate who wins the job, cited by Todd Bowles during Tuesday's media availability. "Well, right after Indy we should know," Bowles described on the timeline. "We should know. We've got to give those guys a chance to compete and play. To put them two or three plays at a time doesn't build the continuity, so we've got to stick him in with the first group and let them go; stick the next guy in at another time, let him go; stick the next guy in at another time and let him go. We'll make our decision then, but we've got to build some continuity. Can't say he's getting three [snaps], he's getting four – it's not going to go with the offensive line. I would say around Indianapolis." Instead of splitting the duties between alternating series, the staff has chosen a different approach to maximize synergy along the line. The contestants will likely either receive a full game of action or a half of football, providing a comprehensive evaluation. Left guard will be the battle to watch as the preseason commences. Assistant Head Coach/Run Game Coordinator Harold Goodwin confirmed the role is still wide open, with each given a "shot to win the job." Snag the popcorn.
Chris Godwin Revs up Workout
Chris Godwin did not participate in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills on Tuesday, but he practiced individually on the alternate field with trainers at the AdventHealth Training Center. Godwin worked with quarterbacks and practiced the nuances of his route tree, getting up to speed. He began the workout as the team period kicked off and extensively worked through routes for at least a 45-minute allotted period. Godwin's increased workload was an encouraging sight for fans. When asked if Godwin will be pushed to play Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys, Bowles responded, "No, he doesn't have to be ready. We want him for the long haul. We don't want him running around, looking good and then getting hurt. We're going through all the protocols and doing all the little things for him, and it's good to see him in pads, but he's got some tests to pass and some ways to go. We're not rushing him by no means. We just want him healthy for the long haul. Once we get down the road and make that determination, we'll go from there. But there's not a fast way to have him ready for the season…The trainers and the strength coach will let us know when that determines. It all depends on how he feels after practice and after lifting and everything. If he keeps feeling good, it will progress to that. I can't give you an exact date, but we'll know when they say something." Godwin was not placed on the active/PUP list to begin training camp, fostering hope and positivity in his return from December's ACL and MCL tear. Although he returned last week in limited fashion, the progression is evident. He could be ready to go for the regular season opener but it's abundantly clear, the staff will not force his debut. The next step for Godwin will be lining up against defensive backs.