Notes from Training Camp Day 2

Sloppy is the word

The drills were sloppy. The transitions were sloppy. There were penalties. All in all, this practice kinda sucked. As I mention in the YouTube for Day 2, much of the session was spent on the far side of the field. The most action came during 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 segments toward the end. Though my stated goal was to watch the “fat guys,” I was not able to see much of their work. I saw:

  • No change in the QB stack rank
    • McCown improved from Day 1
    • Leftwich was unchanged (and still slow and crappy)
    • Freeman was worse than Day 1
    • Johnson needs to find a way into meaningful reps
  • Less effort from the WR corps
  • More effort from the TE corps
    • Especially K2
  • Nice work by the Dline and Secondary
    • Specifically Hovan, White, Wilkerson, Barber, Jackson and Arrington
  • Sloppy work by the LB
    • Nice effort from Black, but as a crew, they looked a bit out of it today

Since there was not much excitement at camp, I will take this opportunity to explain where I see the QB battle in more detail, as I have apparently confused some folks. In my opinion, Luke came in as the starter. It is an open battle, but he was penciled in at the #1 spot. He has done NOTHING to change that. Has he been breathtaking? No. Has he rekindled those feeling of joy when first I watched Doug Williams crack receiver’s sternums in the late 70’s? No. (Admittedly, I was young then, but my Dad loved to tell the story of how hard Doug threw the ball). He has been effective, accurate and at times, exciting. He has thrown the deep ball well (though the deep ball is getting WAY too much press in my book) as well as the intermediate routes. He improved from Day 1 to Day 2.

Now let’s look at the others:
Byron Leftwich: As was pointed out to me by many (especially Cantankeris of fame), only a dummy would have been convinced that Leftwich would be any good here. He has apparently always been so slow that time seems to move backwards in the same arc as his exaggerated wind up. I have never seen someone take so much time in the pocket to make a decision. I have also never seen a camp QB do that, take what would normally be a sack, continue the play and manage to NOT salvage it as often. It has been the single largest disappointment for me thus far in camp (hence, I am a dummy).
Josh Freeman: Lots of talk coming in that Josh was ready to take the wheel. I know I was clear that I thought drafting him was a bad idea, but that is water under the bridge now folks. He is a Bucs QB and as such, I want to see him succeed. He is a physically imposing young man with a strong arm. Right now, his reads on the field and decision making have been very poor. He regressed from Day 1 to Day 2 and as I reported, at one point, threw 3 INT’s in a row to the same side of the field into double and triple coverage with nary a look-off. Does this mean he is a bust? No. (I know, the “Gaines is a bust!” and “D.Jack is a bust!” guys are pissed off now) t means he is a young QB with a lot to learn. That is what he should be. The coaching staff should be educating him and getting him better each day. Then it is on him to translate that knowledge to the field. Only time will tell if he can do that. For our sake, I hope he can. For our sake, I hope we give him the time to do so.

Josh Johnson: The Gruden/Williams project player from last year comes into camp stronger and lokoing much shaper. I have already prattled on about his form and technique. He performs well in 7 on 7, though he takes the check down a little too often to excite anyone (“That is cause he hasn’t got a ‘big league arm’ fat chops!” you might be thinking). I have seen him throw the ball with good pace and excellent accuracy. I have not seen him in 11 on 11 to see what he does in a real environment. As I said on the YouTube review, if you are going youth and the one veteran you picked to provide stability at the QB position takes so long to make a decision that the NFL actually considers implementing a “Throw Clock,” maybe you go youth across the board. It would take Johnson showing some chops in live fire during camp and in the preseason, but if I were calling the shots, this would be one of the shots that would be in the arsenal.
And now you know at least one reason why I do not rule the world!

I will be back at camp tomorrow trying to get a glimpse of the offensive and defensive line. Today was made better by the presence of Captain Bones, Spent and Creekchub (The Captain of The Captains Deck). Tomorrow I will be flying solo I fear, but solo football is still football dammit!


"Here's to good memories, ounce by ounce." --Matt Westerman Currently hosting an Internet Radio/TV show called "What the Buc?" covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers! We are having a blast and would love to get feedback from you folks on it.

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