TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take the field en masse for the first time under new coach Lovie Smith today. The occasion is the first of the three minicamps they’re allowed to hold as a team with a new head coach.
Teams retaining their head coach from last season are afforded only two minicamps, so this is a chance for the Bucs to catch up on teams that are keeping their offensive and/or defensive schemes intact.
The three-day camp is scheduled to be open to the media in its entirety, so with that in mind, here are five things we’ll be keeping an eye on as the offseason workout program moves into its next phase.
LG Carl Nicks
Nicks hasn’t been on the field since early last season, when he contracted a MRSA infection on the left foot that’s been a problem since shortly after he arrived here in 2012. Despite repeated interview requests, Nicks has not been made available to the media so the mere sight of him would be news all in itself. On the other hand, if Nicks is not on the field, it will be an indication that he may still be a long ways away from contributing to a team that badly needs him to regain the Pro Bowl form he displayed before he left New Orleans for Tampa Bay three years ago.
The Bucs let go of long-time starting right guard and offensive team captain Davin Joseph earlier in the offseason, but they haven’t done anything of note to replace him. The belief right now is that Jamon Meredith and Oneil Cousins are gearing up to fight it out for the starter’s spot, but neither seems like an ideal fit, at least not as the starter. That has many thinking the Bucs will address this spot during the draft. It’s possible, though, that the Bucs will try to go with what’s already on their roster, so who’s lining up at right guard this week will definitely be worth noting.
Josh McCown will start this minicamp at the top of the quarterback depth chart, but he’s not the long-term answer at the position. Glennon may not be either, but right now he’s the closest thing the Bucs have to a quarterback of the future. The thing is, neither Smith nor general manager Jason Licht have said how they really feel about Glennon. They seem to like him all right, but it’s hard to know if they consider him an option going forward. How much work Glennon gets and how he performs over the next three days could go a long way toward determining Glennon’s future with the team.
The trade of wide receiver Mike Williams left the Bucs with a gaping hole at a position that was already thin to begin with. We know from listening to Smith that what he craves most of all at the receiver spot is speed, and he has some speed options on the roster in players such as Chris Owusu, Tommy Streeter and Skye Dawson. This is another spot that will probably be addressed in the draft, but who lines up opposite Vincent Jackson on the outside and in the slot should provide an indication of what the new Bucs hierarchy thinks of some of the holdovers it inherited from the last regime.
The Bucs are doing all they can to keep coordinator Jeff Tedford’s offense under wraps. Players have so far refused to provide any details of the scheme, other than to say it will have some up-tempo elements. It’s hard to imagine the Bucs revealing much with the media watching but they can’t afford to waste the next three days either. Assuming the Bucs use this camp to get their players accustomed to terminology and system basics, we should start to gain an understanding of what kind of attack the Bucs are planning to launch against their opponents this season.