I wrote during the off-season that Dirk Koetter had brought energy and intensity back to One Buc Place. You could see it in the eyes of players and coached, and hear it in their voices as well. There was just something different.
Perhaps that new intensity is already on display at training camp.
The Bucs put shoulder pads on for the first time this year on Saturday, and the big hits were flying. Linebacker Cassanova McKinzy was on the delivering end of a couple of those big hits, one of which was a big blow to tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Don't worry, Seferian-Jenkins did not get hurt, did not drop the ball, and did not tweet "Yo Mama" jokes to McKinzy after practice!
Major Wright delivered a big forearm to an unsuspecting Brandon Myers, which drew some aggrevation from head coach Dirk Koetter.
"Yeah, that was a cheap shot, Koetter said. "He would have been ejected, he would have been fined and it was a 15-yard penalty. We don't need those kinds of hits. Those kinds of hits don't do us any good because they won't be good on Sunday."
Penalties have been a big issue over the last couple years. The Bucs have been an organization that sees its players fold when big calls go against them. In particular, Major Wright delivered a similar blow in the first game of last season against the Titans. The play was flagged, and the Bucs immediately folded, allowing the Titans to dominate the game and get a huge win.
Koetter realizes his team needs to cut down on these catastrophic penalties if they're truly going to turn the corner and become a playoff contender.