The Bucs wrapped up their first weekend of practice with more of the same non-contact work from the previous days. Once again, the name of the game was timing and precision, as players broke into groups for positional drills before moving to 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s. For the third straight day, the players refrained from pads and full contact. I asked CB EJ Biggers what he and his teammates were able to accomplish and take away from a weekend without contact.
“Getting down timing,” Biggers said. “Getting your legs back under you and getting back into football shape again.”
No one had their timing down better this weekend than QB Josh Freeman, possibly even more so today than the first two days of practice. He threaded the needle with several bullets to Kellen Winslow, Dezmon Briscoe, Sammie Stroughter, and Mike Williams. The latter made a circus catch in which he leaped over Biggers and Sean Jones, snatched the ball, and tapped two feet in bounds in the back of the end zone, which drew a roar from the crowd.
Biggers owned it.
“You’re gonna give up some, and you’re gonna take some,” Biggers said. “I love going against those guys. I told Arrelious (Benn) a few minutes ago ‘you’re gonna get me better when you get back out here’. Like I said, just going against those guys each and every day gets you better.”
Benn was held out this evening, which is not a big surprise, given that he said the coaches told him to take it easy during Friday’s practice.
In his stead, a young, promising group of receivers has shown what it can do, with Dezmon Briscoe delighting the crowd with circus catches, Sammie Stroughter looking sharp over the middle, and Ed Gant, Raymond Webber, Detron Lewis, and Jock Sanders making impressive plays at different times.
The battle out of the backfield is also starting to heat up, with Allen Bradford and Kregg Lumpkin both in the mix for playing time with LeGarrette Blount. After appearing in 11 games for the Bucs last season, Lumpkin is ready to increase his role.
“I’m very hungry,” Lumpkin said. “Just have to stay humble, continue to work hard, and just prove to the coaches that I can play and be that next guy.”
It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow when the pads finally come out.