TAMPA – The Buccaneers put on the shoulder pads for Day 3 of training camp on Sunday. As you might expect, the intensity was ramped up just a bit as a result.
The Bucs will be in full pads for the first time when they take the field on Monday, but before we get to that here’s three observations made during Sunday’s workout.
Too close to call.
That’s the state of the kicking battle between incumbent Roberto Aguayo and challenger Nick Folk. And we’re not just talking about who has the edge over the other. The Bucs finally brought the kickers out into the public on Sunday and while each was given five field goal tries from different spots on the field, a couple of the kicks were too close to call good or bad. Without referees to break the tie, the consensus among the members of the media watching from the sidelines was that Folk went 3-for-5 while Aguayo went 5-for-5. Bucs coach Dirk Koetter saw it differently. He said he thought both made four of the five they tried, but he admitted he was mostly watching the alignment up front to see how that looked and wasn’t paying full attention to the kicks.
The defense just doesn’t quit
The defense stood out all weekend and for all the right reasons. After ranking 29th in the league in total takeaways last year, the defense continued to make big plays during the first three days of drills. On Sunday, safety Chris Conte had a pick and cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah and linebacker Kwon Alexander forced fumbles, Alexander stripping the ball from wide receiver DeSean Jackson after Jackson hauled in a pass down the left sideline but failed to adequately secure the ball. Linebacker Richie Brown also had a pick and fellow linebackers Adarius Glanton and Devante Bond both dropped passes they could have and probably should have picked off.
The battle for the last roster spot at wide receiver behind Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries and (most likely) rookie Chris Godwin is one of the tightest in camp, and it’s way too soon to say that anyone has taken the lead, but Donteea Dye has looked very impressive. Dye has been getting a lot of work with the first team and on Sunday he took the first kick return reps ahead of Josh Huff. That’s significant because the winner of this battle will almost surely have to be a special teams regular, and Huff didn’t necessarily establish himself as a must-have in the return game last year when he mishandled several kicks.