TAMPA BAY — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaching camp opened on Wednesday with lots of storylines to observe throughout camp and all through the preseason, including the loss of Rob Gronkowski, return of Chris Godwin, signing of Julio Jones, new faces on the offensive line, and lots extra.
But on Day 1, the story was about the offense. More particularly, the vast receivers, who have been with out Godwin and Jones. While Mike Evans regarded sharp in the restricted quantity of time he was concerned in group drills, it was a blended day of outcomes for the others.
And that’s why the return of Godwin, together with the anticipation that Jones can regain his kind, should be on the top of everyone’s thoughts, including Tom Brady.
Can Chris Godwin and Julio Jones stabilize the Buccaneers’ vast receiver group?
Overall, Brady, Blaine Gabbert, and Kyle Trask regarded sharp operating their respective models, however their receivers struggled to constantly catch the balls that have been thrown their approach.
It’s no secret that if Brady doesn’t have his full arsenal of weapons accessible to him to start the season, we might even see Tampa Bay’s offense battle out of the gate when airing it out. Of course, it’s Brady, however as we noticed in his last years with the New England Patriots, he can solely achieve this a lot and not using a robust supporting solid round him.
And that’s one of the the explanation why the Buccaneers went out and signed Jones on the eve of coaching camp — to make sure that the vast receiver group doesn’t miss a beat if and when a large receiver is sidelined at any level throughout the season.
Head coach Todd Bowles famous that Tampa limped to the end line at the finish of the 2021 season after a rash of accidents hit the vast receiver room, and they didn’t need that to occur once more this 12 months. Bowles mentioned they’re constructing depth now quite than having to select up no matter would possibly be left on the waiver wire. Still, he expects Jones could make a distinction on the subject when the common season kicks off.
“[Jones] is still a good football player. We have to replace Gronk’s catches,” Bowles mentioned. “So, now we have an extra weapon, especially in the red zone and out on the field. We’re going to put him to use and give us a chance to be more creative in some of the things that we do.”
Bowles did observe, although, that Jones has struggled with well being in the previous, and though he’s wholesome now, it’s one thing they’ll monitor. So, there isn’t any certainty there, which implies after Evans and Godwin (as soon as he’s wholesome and able to return), it’s anybody’s guess as to who steps as much as put the relaxation of the puzzle collectively.
It will be a spirited competitors between Jones, Russell Gage, Cyril Grayson, Scotty Miller, and others. But hold an in depth eye on Grayson — he drew some eyeballs together with his crisp route operating and elevated consideration in the passing recreation.
Kyle Rudolph and Cameron Brate tasked with filling the void left by Rob Gronkowski
At the tight finish place, it’s Kyle Rudolph and Cameron Brate, with Rudolph, who was personally recruited by Brady in the offseason, main the approach.
“When Tom reached out earlier this year, even before Rob made a decision, he said, ‘we don’t know what Rob is going to do at this point, but regardless, we need you down here.’ That was my first time thinking about coming down to play with Tampa,” mentioned Rudolph. “Then Rob retired, and I thought what better opportunity for me to come down here and not only play with the greatest QB of all time but also be around this winning culture.”
Rudolph, entering his 12th NFL season, mentioned he’s cramming to study the playbook, the totally different nuances related to routes, Brady’s preferences, and extra. But he expects to be full-steam forward when he steps on the subject in Week 1.
“We play the Dallas Cowboys Week 1 in September, and my goal out there is to be on the same page with Tom like we’ve been playing together for 10 years,” Rudolph mentioned.
Rudolph is aware of he can’t fill Gronkowski’s sneakers — he admitted so himself — however what he can do is present a dependable goal and security blanket for Brady. During his 10 years with the Minnesota Vikings and one season with the New York Giants, Rudolph pulled in 479 receptions for 4,475 yards and 49 touchdowns.
And for Rudolph, he has one clear objective: win a championship.
“The only thing I haven’t done is win a championship, and that’s all I want to do,” he mentioned. “It’s very evident the first two days here [in Tampa] — everything we do individually and collectively as team … is about reaching that ultimate goal.”
New items on the offensive line to observe throughout Buccaneers coaching camp
While the Buccaneers’ pass-catching state of affairs will get sorted, there can even be lots of consideration on the offensive line. That’s as a result of there’ll be two new faces who’re tasked with defending Brady — LG Aaron Stinnie, who replaces now-retired Ali Marpet, and RG Shaq Mason, who replaces Alex Cappa after he signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in free company.
It was an uneventful first day of apply for the offensive line — because it should be — however that is one thing to observe as the preseason and regular-season video games get underway.
The Buccaneers spent a second-round decide on Luke Goedeke, and Stinnie will work to carry him off for so long as doable. But if he struggles, don’t be shocked to see Tampa Bay have a brief leash, particularly if Goedeke impresses throughout camp.
The excellent news for Stinnie (or Goedeke) and Mason are that the heart of the line remains to be anchored by eight-year veteran Ryan Jensen, who performed in Tampa the previous 4 seasons. At left sort out is Donovan Smith and on the proper aspect is Tristan Wirfs.
The hope, of course, is that two new faces don’t disrupt an entire lot, particularly with the three anchors returning to the identical system.
Other information and notes from Buccaneers coaching camp
- There was loads of chatter the previous few weeks about RB Leonard Fournette’s weight, however Bowles mentioned it’s exhausting for lots of gamers to constantly keep in form year-round, and he’s proud of the approach Fournette regarded on the first day of camp. Bowles famous that if that they had a recreation at present, Fournette may play.
- Bowles on Godwin: “Chris has been working like crazy. He’s getting better every day. We don’t have a timetable yet, but we’ll be happy to have him when he comes out.”
- Jones arrived in Tampa on Monday night and took his bodily on Tuesday morning. The Buccaneers will look to get him on the subject and in control as shortly as doable. As far as his uniform quantity and if he’ll attempt to seize No. 11 or 2, Jones mentioned, “I make the number. The number doesn’t make me.”
- Breshad Perriman caught a 30+ yard move from Brady in group drills, whereas Grayson pulled in an acrobatic sideline catch in the midst of a number of defenders.