TAMPA — If the Bucs didn’t accomplish everything on Lovie Smith’s wish list during training camp, the coach of the Buccaneers can’t blame the weather.
When camp wrapped up Thursday after nearly three weeks of practice, only the initial July 25 workout was wiped out completely because of dangerous conditions.
“The rain has cooperated with us throughout camp,” Smith said after Thursday’s final practice was interrupted 35 minutes due to lightning in the area. “I think every day there’s been a threat of thunderstorms and lightning, but for the most part, we’ve been able to get everything in. I feel like we had a good camp.”
Pro Bowl DT Gerald McCoy heads into Saturday night’s preseason matchup against the Dolphins feeling good about the vibe at One Buc Place.
“Training camp’s been good,” said McCoy, who has emerged as Tampa Bay’s unquestioned leader after four NFL seasons. “It’s definitely different than the last couple of years. Everybody’s starting to bond and come together.
“We’ve still got a long way to go, but I like what I see so far.”
Two-time Pro Bowl S Dashon Goldson, fully recovered from an ankle injury, can’t wait to tackle somebody new in his first 2014 action.
“I’m a little anxious, but at the same time, I’m trying to control my emotions,” he said. “It’s my first preseason game and I’m excited about it. It’s football season again. New scheme, new faces and a new attitude, for the most part.”
Rookie RB Charles Sims (ankle) and CBs Alterraun Verner (hamstring) and Mike Jenkins (leg) have been declared out for Saturday’s game at Raymond James Stadium, where the Bucs are seeking to restore the dominance at home that marked their reign as a league power.
“Sims will not play,” Smith said. “You see him in a walking boot. That’s normally not a good thing and he won’t play in the immediate future.”
Grinding it out
When QB Josh McCown signed as a free agent from Chicago in March, the 12-year veteran didn’t know the dedication level of his new teammates.
He does now.
“More than anything, we’ve learned we’re a group that’s willing to work,” McCown said. “That’s what I found out. We came out every day and really put the time in and got quality work when we’re out here. From the No. 1 highest-paid guy on the roster to the last guy, everybody worked hard — and that’s what you want to have.”