Head coach Bruce Arians has been pretty pleased with the effort and the work ethic in practice but haven’t been pleased with the mental errors.
“Really pleased with the effort. We’re working extremely hard, two days in a row, fast. We’ve got to be a much smarter football team. After looking at yesterday’s practice, we had way too many mental errors. Same thing today. Guys getting lined up, especially those young wide receivers, and it’s time for them to grow up. But you can’t ask anything more from our football team as far as work. Work, speed of practice and all those things – very, very competitive, but we’ve got to become a smarter football team quick.”Bruce Arians
The Bucs are trying to become the first NFL team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since Tom Brady did it with the New England Patriots in 2003-2004.
Tom Brady has looked extremely sharp and other times just so-so as he recovers from off-season surgery. Brady played the entire 2020 season with a torn MCL and had surgery to repair the MCL this off-season.
He began camp wearing a sleeve on the knee but ditched it after a couple of days. Brady talked about his rehab and how the knee feels as training camp continues.
“It feels good now. It was not my favorite offseason of all time. I haven’t had surgery in a long time. So you kind of forget the rehab process and so forth. It’s a long, arduous offseason when you go through rehab like that. I got a lot of time with my family and stuff, so that was really enjoyable, but I’m happy to be back to work.”Tom Brady
Rookie wide receiver Jaelon Darden has flashed his speed and shown the ability to blow by defenders and get open. But some dropped balls have haunted Darden, and Arians has called out Darden on the drops.
“He dropped two damn passes,” Arians said. “If he gets wide-ass open, he’s got to catch it every time.”
Darden was not the only Bucs wide receiver that Arians chastised. Third-year receiver Scotty Miller who has excellent speed and gets behind defenders must learn to catch the football in traffic. Arians said that Miller has to improve with bodies on him and make the grimy catches to show he can do more than run past people.
Another wide receiver who hasn’t had a chance to show much in camp has been last year’s fifth-round pick, Tyler Johnson. Arians said that Johnson reported to camp a bit heavy. “He came back a little heavy. He’s getting back in shape, which is his own fault. We know he can catch the ball. He’s just got to be able to stay healthy.”
Giovanni Bernard, who signed with the Bucs this off-season, has been working hard to learn the offense and has already flashed his receiving skills out of the backfield in the first week of camp.
Bernard talked about the learning curve and how he is striving to improve every day.
“I think coming in and learning a completely new offense is always tough for any NFL player. There is a little bit of an adjustment period. During mini-camp, I made sure I was here, and even now, I continue to learn every single day by asking questions, asking the players what they see, how they see it, and how things develop. I learned the process through repetition, understanding it, and being accountable.”Giovanni Bernard
The offense is light years ahead of where they were last year at this time, but they still have work to do to reduce the mental errors and develop that consistency needed to win another Super Bowl.
“It’s night and day,” Arians said. Last year our defense knew what they were doing. The offense had no clue. So, it’s a real good competition. Both sides are winning.”
Defensively, rookie Joe Tryon and linebacker Devin White have earned praise from the coach for their play on the defensive side of the ball. Still, Arians said the overall execution must improve.
There are nine more practices before the first pre-season game on August 14th against Cincinnati, and we are just over a month away from the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.