Buccaneer Training Camp: Notes from a Balmy Second Day of Practice

The second day of practice wrapped up today at One Buc Place.   Although it was not as fast and furious as Friday, with kickoff returns taking center stage for the first time, there was still some flash and excitement in team drills.  Offense and defense faced off in 11-on-11s again, to the delight of the hundreds of fans in attendance.  Josh Freeman was impressive for a second straight day, although maybe quite as sharp as Friday, allowing an interception and long return to WLB Geno Hayes.

The first significant injury in training camp occurred with TE Luke Stocker.  According to Raheem Morris, Stocker injured his hip and will be out for a couple of weeks, although Morris had not yet been apprised by the training staff to the extent of his injury.

Mike Williams, who was carted off the field with cramps Friday, returned today and looked sharp, cutting and moving well.  Williams, who set the team record for TD catches in a season last year, made getting in the playoffs both his personal and the team’s goal this season.

“Get in the playoffs,” Williams said.  “I had a good individual season, but we didn’t get in the playoffs.  We felt we got better each game at the end of the season.  If we get in the playoffs, we could have done a lot of damage in the playoffs, so that’s just my goal for next year.”

In addition to Williams, Dezmon Briscoe continues to impress, contorting his body and making a leaping catch on a hard pass from his quarterback today.  Kellen Williams also looked very sharp for a second straight day, making several athletic grabs in traffic.

“He caught a lot of balls,” Morris said. “That’s Kellen Winslow.  Kellen’s never satisfied.  Kellen came to me (after Week 2 Carolina game) (and said) ‘I can do more’.  (I said) ‘OK, do more.’  He’s just a critical guy of himself.  He’s critical of his game.  He’s always coming to me asking me what do I see in his route combinations, in his practice habits.  Is his tempo getting better.  He takes his playbook into the whirlpool.  He’s just one of those guys.  He’s just always going to be critical of himself and very demanding of himself.  He has high expectations, and that’s what makes him a great player.”

Sixth-round draft pick RB Allen Bradford signed his contract and showed up for his first day of camp.  The 5’11, 235-pound bruiser is a back that MLB Mason Foster does not like tackling.

“Man, he’s big,” Foster said. “He’s real big.  He’s a monster.  I’m glad we got Allen Bradford.  I trained with Allen down in LA and played against him all throughout college.  He’s tough.  He’s a big guy.”

Foster and Tyrone McKenzie continued their battle today for the starting MLB position.  I asked McKenzie if he feels he bring a level of physicality to the middle linebacker position that hasn’t been here for a while.

“I believe I do,” McKenzie said.  “But to be honest with you, I’m trying to just be the best that I can be and be me.  Whatever player that is, then I’m just gonna go out there and be (that) player, and let the coach tell me what he likes about it.”

Raheem Morris told me he likes what he’s seeing out of both so far.

“Seeing those guys really compete,” Morris said. “Seeing those guys go out there and learn every single day and getting better and better.  I’m liking what I’m seeing as far as the run fits, as far as the guys making plays, as far as them being excited.  The cohesiveness  developing on the defense for those guys, and those guys being together in that room, it’s good.  It’s a healthy competition.”

Practice resumes on Sunday morning with a closed-to-the-public morning session, followed by an evening session that is open to the public from 5:15 to 7:30.