TAMPA – One Buccaneers veteran who could find himself fighting a desperate battle to not only save his roster spot but possibly even keep his career alive this training camp is defensive tackle Clinton McDonald.
McDonald has quietly played some pretty good football for the Bucs while providing strong leadership in the locker room the last three years but the Bucs doubled down on newcomers at his position during the offseason.
They got younger, bigger and potentially better through the addition of Chris Baker in free agency and Stevie Tu’ikolovatu in the draft, and it seems McDonald realizes he’s going to have a fight on his hands.
McDonald, 30, was one of a handful of players this past week who took part in a special training session here in Tampa with the greatest Bucs defensive tackle of all time, Hall of Famer Warren Sapp.
Kevin O’Donnell of Fox 13 Sports caught up with Sapp, who was in town representing ASPI training, and while Sapp says he doesn’t want to become a coach, you can see from O’Donnell’s report, he might make a good one.
— Kevin ODonnell Fox13 (@ODonnellFox13) July 18, 2017
What’s good to see here is that even after seven solid NFL seasons, McDonald believes he can still get better, and the fact he’s taking tips from Sapp suggests he knows he’ll have to.
As for Sapp, he has always offered his help to any player who wants it, and McDonald was smart to seek him out. After all, any player looking to improve, especially as a pass rusher, would be hard pressed to find a better tutor.
And the pass rush is an area wher McDonald could probably stand to get a little better. With just 14 career sacks, he’s never been a dominant pass rusher (few defensive tackles are), but he may have to be to earn snaps with the Bucs this year.
McDonald will be well worth watching at camp now. He’s never been one of the top players fans focus on, but he’s got a new motivation this year and he may have a few new tricks up his sleeve as a result of working with Sapp that will make him more disruptive.