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3 Observations from Bucs training camp – where are the kickers?

Roy Cummings



Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

TAMPA – The Buccaneers wrapped up Day 2 of training camp on Saturday running an 11-on-11 drill that played out amid a strong rain shower that coach Dirk Koetter didn’t mind seeing at all.

As Koetter pointed out, the Bucs will play their first game of the season in Miami on Sept. 10 and there’s a good chance they’ll have to play at least a part of it in the rain. So…

“It’s good work for us in the rain, really good work for us,’’ Koetter said. “We didn’t handle it great. We had a couple of issues on offense but that’s part of it. It’s Day 2.’’

Day 2 was also the last in which the Bucs will work out wearing only shirts, shorts and helmets. They’ll be in shells (soft shoulder pads) on Sunday and in full pads on Monday.

With that in mind, here are three observations from the second day of camp.


Where are the kickers?

 Koetter has said it at least twice in two days now that the most important position battle in camp is the kicking battle between Roberto Aguyao and Nick Folk. Fans attending the workouts, though, have yet to see either combatant kick a field goal or an extra point in a team drill. It’s quite possible that in an attempt to keep it from becoming a huge distraction, the Bucs are letting this battle play out somewhat in private, either by having Aguayo and Folk do their kicking later in the day or possibly at Raymond James Stadium. It wouldn’t be the first time they’ve done that, but you would think that sooner or later, they’re going to have to bring this battle back out into the public. Let’s hope so anyway.


DeSean Jackson is a human highlight reel

 One of the moments Bucs fans have been waiting for since the team signed Jackson back in the spring came to fruition on Saturday when Jackson was targeted on three deep throws near the end of practice. Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves broke up one of those passes, but Jackson made big plays on the other two, hauling in one for a touchdown and grabbing the other for a long gain even after the ball had been tipped. Quarterback Jameis Winston still needs to do a better job of getting the ball into Jackson’s hands, but there’s no doubt this guy is worth the money the Bucs paid to get him and as well as the price of admission to a game.


The defense has picked up right where it left off.

 It took the better part of two months but once the Bucs figured out what it was coordinator Mike Smith wanted them to do, their defense really took off last year. The unit allowed an average of just 17 points per game in the second half last year and it seems to have picked up right where it left off. Hargreaves broke up a couple of passes on Saturday while safety J.J. Wilcox intercepted a pass that was first tipped by fellow safety Chris Conte, who also recovered a fumble. The offense is what everyone wants to talk about with the Bucs, but the defense could prove to be the real key to success this year.




Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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