The Tampa Bay Buccaneers completed their first of two joint practices with the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday at the AdventHealth Training Center. Chippy play sparked on the grass as riveting competition heated up between the two franchises. As the Bucs' offense and defense faced a different opponent than they challenge daily in practice, several players emerged among the pack. From sensational sideline navigation by Julio Jones to pocket collapse courtesy of Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and Shaq Barrett, here are the top takeaways from Wednesday's joint practice.
Outside Linebacker Play Bolsters Defense
After the club declined to re-sign Jason Pierre-Paul, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka's role in 2022 increased. During his rookie campaign last season, Tryon-Shoyinka rushed from a variety of roles to maximize time on the field. This years for the Bucs, he will have a full-time role as a prototypical 3-4 defensive end/outside linebacker. Throughout camp, No. 9 has flashed an impressive pass rush arsenal – including a lethal bull rush and effective counters. On Wednesday, Tryon-Shoyinka beat Miami's offensive tackle with a swift move to the outside during one-on-one drills. In addition, he showcased speed in coverage. Tryon-Shoyinka chased down a ballcarrier and cut him off at the sideline, which prevented a large gain for the Dolphins. Teammates have made note of Tryon-Shoyinka's significant progression, garnering praise. "This year, he is like clockwork," said Lavonte David. "He knows the timing ... he is even communicating at outside linebacker, which you don't see that often." He is bendy for his tall frame (6'5", 258 pounds) and with developed instincts/awareness, Tryon-Shoyinka has the potential for a breakout year in 2022.
Shaq Barrett had a stellar day on the grass, as well. During the one-on-one offensive/defensive line drills, Barrett threw a superb move to get past Miami's starting right tackle, Austin Jackson. He initially went to the outside, and when Jackson overset to the outside, Barrett won with inside leverage on the rep for a would-be sack in game conditions. The play by both outside linebackers has solidified the team's pass rush, elevating the overall unit. The trend continued against the Dolphins as Tryon-Shoyinka and Barrett took centerstage.
Julio Jones Sideline Grabs
During media availability, Leonard Fournette said the player on offense that has impressed him the most throughout camp is Julio Jones. Wednesday served as evidence. Jones hauled in two catches down the left sideline, navigating the boundary and maintaining body control. On the first, Jones jumped over the top of the cornerback to haul in Tom Brady's pass. The second garnered repeated praise from teammate Mike Evans, who yelled, "great route!" Throughout camp, Jones has showcased the elite speed, physicality, leaping ability and catch radius that put him atop the position hierarchy in the league. With Chris Godwin still recovering from December's torn ACL/MCL and Evans working through a tweaked hamstring, Jones has taken advantage of added reps in gaining chemistry with Brady. With an expansive route tree, Jones could take the Bucs' offense to new heights in 2022.
Carlton Davis Interception
Carlton Davis signed a three-year contract extension in March and his production has accompanied the lofty payday. He has become a mainstay in the Bucs' backfield over the past four seasons in Tampa Bay, with sights set on domination in 2022. Davis is effective in both man and zone; Wednesday provided receipts. During the one-on-one receiver-cornerback drills, Davis registered a pass breakup on his first rep on the field. The splash play set the tone and built confidence early on. "I guess that is a good tone-setter, just starting it off fresh, because usually you've got to get into it," Davis stated. "You're a little cold coming off, just starting practice, but I was ready. I've been up against him (Tyreek Hill) a couple of times in the past so I kind of know a little bit about his release packages and what he brings to the table. But at the end of the day, it's about competing. It's about you wanting to win, and I got the best of him on that rep."
On the ensuing 11-on-11 period, Davis snagged a pick. The intended target ran a dig route – a pattern where the receiver starts downfield on a vertical stem, then breaks over the middle of the field at a 90-degree angle. The goal is to deceive the defensive back into thinking the route is a go straight downfield; instead the receiver stops, digs his foot into the ground and shifts on a dime. Enter Davis. As the receiver cut inside, Davis made a highlight-worthy play to shift the momentum. On the interception, Davis laughed, "It was a dig route and when I play off that's one of the routes you should not run on me because I'm just good at playing it. I just broke on it, seen the ball…just made a play on the ball – seen it coming and got my hands on it."
As Davis begins the quest for lockdown status in 2022, he is on the right track.