You must take this information with a grain of salt because the mock scrimmage was not in full pads but shells (helmets and shoulder pads but shorts instead of pants). This meant that there was no blocking or contact below the waist so don't get too excited about what transpired.
It was a skirmish and not a war, but that didn't mean that the Bucs played two-hand touch today. There were still some big hits delivered but, for the most part, it was not a full game experience.
D-E-F-E-N-S-E: It was definitely a defensive day and we would have been surprised if that weren't the case. Most, if not all, defenses are ahead of the offenses in the early days of training camp and Tampa Bay is no exception to that rule. The defense also had the advantage because the offensive linemen couldn't block their legs. Still the Pewter Pirates in the red shirts were better than the white-clad Buccaneers on the offensive side of the ball.
MISSING IN ACTION: Another reason the defense had a good day was the depleted receiving corps. Frank Murphy, and Jacquez Green were kept out of the scrimmage and Reidel Anthony still hasn't suited up yet in training camp. The only Bucs veterans to line up on the flanks were Keyshawn Johnson and Karl Williams.
BREAKING THROUGH: The rushing star of the day was newly acquired Pepe Pierson. He scored the only touchdown of the scrimmage and that was a two-yard jaunt off the right side. This was set up by an interference penalty against cornerback Corey Ivy in the end zone when Johnson ran a fade.
GOOD DAY FOR THE SECONDARY: The secondary had three interceptions. The Pewter Pirates pilfered quarterbacks Ryan Leaf twice (safety Eric Vance and cornerback Dwight Smith) and Joe Hamilton once (cornerback Anthony Midget) and could have, legitimately, had a fourth. Smith dropped one that hit him right on the chest.
BAD DAY FOR THE OFFENSE: The offense had their chances to make big plays but just didn't connect. Quarterback Shaun King overthrew Johnson on two occasions. The first time was on a snake route (out and up the sidelines) against cover 2 and the other was on a skinny post against cover 3.
NOT SO SPECIAL: The special teams did not look sharp and you can bet Coach Joe Marciano will have a "word of prayer" for his charges during the film session. Kicker Martin Gramatica hooked a 44-yard attempt badly and he doesn't seem comfortable with his new snapper (Sean McDermott) and holder (Andrew Bayes) yet. Neither punter did anything to improve their stock with the Bucs. Their kicks were either high and short or just plain short. No one stood out on the return or cover team.
QUARTERBACKS STRUGGLE: None of the quarterbacks had good days and very rarely threw the deep ball They were content with running three and five step drop routes and working the underneath zones.. King had a pass batted down at the line of scrimmage as well as the ball slipping out of his hand when he tried to hold up on a covered Johnson who was running a deep in route. To make matters worse he took a hit during the second series that forced him from the scrimmage with a bruised throwing shoulder. Leap threw two interceptions and did not throw the ball well at all outside the numbers. He had some zip and threw tight spirals between the numbers. Hamilton threw exclusively short or play action passes.
OOPS!: The one negative for the defense was that they had five penalties with four being of the offside variety. Coach Rod Marinelli will discuss the finer points of staying on your side of the football until the ball is snapped. He will do his best to make sure that doesn't happen again.
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