As we inch closer to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beginning the long and brutal journey into their Training Camp, Mini-Camp is the last time the team will be together for several weeks. There isn’t a whole lot that we can truly breakdown and analyze for this three-day camp, but there are several things to keep in mind while this preparation camp goes on.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Backup Quarterback
Jameis Winston is the undoubted starter and leader of this Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. The question now is, who will backup Winston for 2019?
Blaine Gabbert has a shot at becoming the second man in line simply because of his veteran status and knowledge of the system Arians is installing. That doesn’t guarantee him that spot especially with Ryan Griffin signing a new one year deal with Tampa this off-season. The things we’ll have to keep an eye on is who takes what reps with which groups throughout the rest of the week.
This will not be the only audition these players will have at displaying what they bring to the table, but it’ll help boost the coaches confidence in them. Don’t forget about undrafted rookie free agent Nick Fitzgerald. Unless this kid really blows away the offensive coaches, his chances are very slim.
The real headline is who will be favored heading into training camp, Gabbert of Griffin?
Will Ronald Jones II Still Turn Heads?
Ronald Jones II left a lot of what we had expected from him in 2018. A dismal 1.9 yards a carry is not what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their fans expected from a second round pick who had a better than average college career.
Jameis Winston has gone on record saying how Jones II has really stood out and has become more confident. Even the coaching staff has echoed more of the same. Was confidence the real issue with Jones II in 2018? Or was it the lack of time of actually being on the field?
Let’s be honest, you have to believe a little in what this new regime brings because we’re looking at more of the same as far as the offensive line goes. Jones II needs to make every rep count this week and really display his new found confidence in order to head into training camp with a good impression on his coaches.
Devin White Taking Control
It’s been no secret during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers off-season workouts that rookie linebacker Devin White has made a voice for himself on this team early on. Between the interceptions and the ability to learn quickly, White is slowly living up to his fifth overall pick expectations.
Carmen Vitali of Buccaneers.com explained in a recent article that White has already begun to make this defense his by being that vocal and spiritual leader on the team. The one thing that stuck out from her OTAs wrap-up article is that White is constantly with LAvonte David asking for advice and soaking up his knowledge of the game.
It’ll be interesting to watch how White handles a quicker pace of practice as the Bucs start installing new concepts and preparing for training camp.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Secondary
Let us all forget, if you haven’t already, the 2018 Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ secondary. While Tampa still has a very, and I mean very, young secondary, the mix of second and first-year players has been somewhat of a bright spot during OTAs.
Bruce Arians himself has stated that the secondary has been absolutely fixed. The amount of hard work and athleticism these rookies have brought to the team is being felt from the offense. PLayers like Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jamel Dean, and Mike Edwards are making their cases for being integral pieces in the success of the 2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense.
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What About Vernon Hargreaves?
Bruce Arians has made it clear that he has created a challenge for Vernon Hargreaves this off-season by mentioning him in press conferences and not in a good way. We all know that the Buccaneers have already picked up Hargreaves’ fifth-year option and will be in a somewhat “prove it” season. But the fact that Arians has specifically mentioned Hargreaves to the media will hopefully give Hargreaves an “edge” so to say.
Todd Bowles will put these players into position to play their best brand of football. The only question is, will Hargreaves step up to the occasion, or will he allow a rookie to take his starting role?
Jameis Winston, Byron Leftwich, and Clyde Christensen.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2019 season, in my opinion, lays solely on whether or not Winston and his coaches can unlock his full potential. The chemistry with his known pass catchers is already established and newcomer, Breshard Perriman, has already begun to get on the same page with Winston.
Like I’ve stated early on in this article, the team is generally the same personnel-wise, but what really makes this team different from the 2018 team is the coaches. Byron Leftwich and Clyde Christensen will have to get Winston to the big payday and it starts in Mini-Camp.
For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense to make the stride to become elite, the coaching staff will have to get Winston to play sharper, smarter, and bigger in this final contract season. Winston will want to have a great mini-camp to help build momentum for training camp.