Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bucs Camp Over

The Bucs ended training camp this morning and headed back over to Tampa. They have a game against the Jaguars on Saturday and after that the practices will be at One Buc Palace. Camp had a different feel to it this year than it did last year and years past. Last year seemed a bit quiet, but this year you had a lot of the coaches, especially Raheem Morris, yelling and getting loud with the players. While the camp had a louder feel this year it also seemed to be a bit softer than the past. The players had a lot of practices canceled or moved inside due to heat. It is hot out there and they do need days off, but it seemed to be a lot more this year than in years past.

The big positive for the Bucs this year was that they are coming out of camp almost perfectly healthy. Last year the Bucs had a bevy of injuries throughout camp to starters and backups that really hampered camp and the Bucs season. Cadillac Williams went through camp healthy this year and will start the season at full strength. With Luke Petigout back and playing it looks like the offensive line is healthy and due to Petigout's absence they may have found out that they have more depth than they thought. Aaron Sears filled in for Petigout nicely in the first preseason game and in camp. Sears drew rave reviews not only from the coaching staff, but also from the players themselves. The defense is healthy and ready to prove that they are better than they played last year.

The Bucs had some great battles in training camp at the wide receiver and all across the defense. Maurice Stovall has emerged as the second wide out after training camp and it looks as if David Boston played well enough to make this team. Boston had a good camp and looked healthy for the first time in a while. Stovall looked great in camp and is very dedicated, but he did not see much action in game one of the preseason, so I would like to see more of him in the next preseason games. Second year corner back Alan Zematis was in danger of not making the roster at the beginning of camp, but he used his chances wisely camp and showed great effort on defense and is the 4th corner on the roster as of now.

While the Bucs lost Mike Alstott for the year they may have found the replacement in Michael Pittman, which opens up a roster spot that may be used on rookie Kenneth Darby. Darby has looked great in camp and also looked good in his time in the first preseason game. He fell to the 7th round in the draft after a horrible senior season, but he has looked like the back he was his junior year and with Alstott gone he may get his chance to back up Cadillac and get in during the regular season.

A big disappointment from Bucs camp was first round pick Gaines Adams and former starting quarterback Chris Simms. Adams has looked bad in camp and definetly will need some work going forward. He looks like he needs to get into the gym and get some more strength because right now he is being manhandled by tight ends. Gruden and Kiffen both have said that he has a way to go in this league and don't be surprised when he is not starting at the beginning of the year. Simms has been even worse in camp, but his struggles have to do with coming off of an injury. He is learning to throw a football all over again and has looked horrible most of the camp and it looks like he will be cut by the Bucs before the preseason is over. It is sad to see Simms this way after he gave his all on the field for the Bucs, but it may be the best thing for him to take a year off and get throwing motion back under control.

Camp gave the Bucs a good chance to see what they have for the season and get the new guys accustomed to how the Bucs want to play on offense and defense. While camp is supposed to bring optimism, and the Bucs did show some good things, i cannot see this team being over .500. Watching camp you can tell that not enough has changed for the better from last years 4-12 team that will make them significantly better. I hope I am wrong, but I think the Bucs are in for another long season.

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