The Tampa Bay Buccaneers take the field on Tuesday for the first of their three-day mandatory mini-camp. We have well-documented that the Bucs are anxious to put 2017 and their 5-11 season behind them.
And, they’re free agent additions and draft picks being added into the mix, that are giving them optimism headed towards training camp in July.
With all of that in mind, here are three things that we will be watching for this week:
-How does Rookie running back Ronald Jones (above) fit immediately into the running back plans?
Jones, who was drafted in the second round out of USC, is a speedster and definitely represents a game-breaking threat that the Buccaneers have not had in at least a few seasons. That being said he does not know the offense and has yet to demonstrate one specific aspect that will dictate playing time colon pass blocking.
The Buccaneers playing to feature Peyton Barber an undrafted player a couple of seasons ago, as their starter. Veteran Jacquizz Rodgers is also there, but the assumption is Jones will be on the field a bunch. How much and how soon? We shall see.
– Who will play right tackle in this minicamp and what does that foreshadow for the season if veteran Demar Dotson isn’t fully healthy or the team decides to go in another direction?
Dotson you may remember, suffered an offseason knee injury and has had surgery and is still a question mark, as to when he can return come training camp time and the preseason?
The Buccaneers have previously used former UCLA draft pick Caleb Benenoch as a replacement at right tackle, but also drafted Division II offensive lineman Alex Cappa from Humboldt State in California in April. And GM Jason Licht made it no secret earlier this offseason that they will try Cappa at right tackle.
Will we see him some in that position this week? Likely. If he and or Benenoch excel, could the team decide to use them this fall or will they wait it out for the veteran Dotson?
– Finally, with all the additions through free agency and number one draft pick Vita Vea, will the Buccaneers defensive line start coming to life this week?
This is especially with new defensive line coach Brentson Buckner, who has already asserted himself as a vocal teacher to that group that includes veteran Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy.
In particular, the Buccaneer pass-rush was almost non-existent and dead last in the NFL in sacks last year. However the additions of Vinny Curry, Jason Pierre-Paul, Beau Allen, Mitch Unrein and Vea enhance the chances to succeed.
It has to all start coming together now to be ready for later this summer and the preseason
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