The Buccaneers have finally hit the field for the first time under the Lovie Smith regime. It gives the players the opportunity to become comfortable with the new schemes, and gives Lovie and his staff the opportunity to evaluate what they have and what they should focus on in 15 days at the NFL Draft. There are lots of fun notes about the first couple of days the team has spent together. Lovie delved into some of his thoughts in a press conference today. Here are a few quotes from the head coach:
“We got better today. We had to get better. Day two and the soreness kicks in a little bit. But I like where the team is right now. We’ve thrown a lot at them, but they’re grasping it. We practiced without pads, which takes a little bit of work. Guys out there tryin to make the squad in their underwear and that’s just not gonna happen. Gotta wait a little bit for that.”
On Josh McCown: “He’s who we said he was. He’s genuine, he’s a hard worker, a vet. He knows how to lead, he’s been around. Positive guy, too. When you’re new, got some young receivers around you, you’ve got to be patient and that’s what he’s been.”
On OC Jeff Tedford: “We’re doing some different things right now. When we were in Chicago, we ran the football, relied on the play-action pass, those things. We’re gonna do a lot of that here. The tempo may change from time to time, but we won’t veer too much away from some of the basic principles we believe in. You know, Jeff and I got a chance to spend a lot of time together as we were both off last year, so there’s not a lot of surprises with what we’re doing here.”
On Adrian Clayborn and his contract extension status: “(For Adrian) we have something in mind. I’ll just say this; with a new staff coming in, we like what Adrian did last year. He is one of the guys we are counting on this year. And, he needs to play well this year, no matter what we do. He realizes that. Whatever we decide is good for him and I don’t think he’s really too worried about that. He knows he’s gonna be with us and that’s really all any of us is promised. This year. If I was a betting man, I would bet he’s gonna have a heck of a year.” (Clayborn’s 5th-year option must be picked up by May 3rd)
On Schedule Release: “I can’t wait! I’m just like (everyone else), I’m excited. What I look for is opening game. Whoa re we gonna open the season up against? Is it a home game? An away game? You know, when do we play our division opponents? Some of the teams I know a little bit better, when do we play them? It’s interesting, though. More than anything, though, it’s to just get the schedule. It let’s you really start aiming towards something.”
On Doug Martin and his return from injury: “Is he coming off an injury? I honestly can’t tell. I mean, he’s done everything, taken every rep we’ve asked him to,. Seriously, though, Doug has been around here an awful lot rehabbing, but to finally see him on the football field, you know, he’s compact and runs downhill a whole lot. That wiggle he has, makin guys miss in the open field. He’s a happy guy, I like being around him. He takes coaching. Always got a smile on his face.We want to run the ball and (he’s) a guy we have to count on.”
The Buccaneers had 100% attendance for this voluntary mini-camp, including injured guard Carl Nicks who’s recovery isn’t quite to the point that both he and the coaches had hoped at this point. “My goal is to be ready for training camp.” Nicks said. His nagging toe injury will cause him constant pain the rest of his life, but his goal is to return at “90% of what he was”, which would still be better than most other guards in the league. Should he not be able to return, however, that leaves and already weak group of guards even weaker. The Bucs will most certainly have to address guard in the NFL draft, but they are counting on Nicks returning this season.
The players are excited to be there, the coaches are excited to get their systems installed, and Bucs fans are excited about the breath of fresh air that Lovie and his staff have provided the Bay area. They’ll continue working together at the voluntary mini-camp through next week, then all the focus will shift to the draft.