Tim Wright Moves to Tight End

Most young players are hoping to make a move or two up the depth chart during offseason practices.  Tim Wright made a move sideways, and that might help him in the long run.

On Wednesday, for the second practice of the Buccaneers’ three-day mini-camp, the rookie from Rutgers came out with a new jersey, having traded in #18 for #81.  The reason was significant – wide receivers can wear numbers in the 10-19 and 80-89 ranges, but tight ends aren’t allowed to dip into the teens.  They can either wear an 80 number or, if none are available, something in the 40s.

Yep, Tim Wright is now a tight end. Continue reading

Sprint Cup Star Kasey Kahne Visits Bucs

Greg Schiano called them “two great Florida traditions:” the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Daytona International Speedway.  On Tuesday, those two state institutions overlapped in a way that was a blast for some of the people currently carrying on those traditions.

With the 55th annual Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race coming up on July 6, the numerical symmetry was too good to pass up.  On Tuesday, Kasey Kahne, driver fo the No. 5 Farmers Insurance car, visited One Buccaneer Place where, among other things, he took some time after the Bucs’ mini-camp practice to trade passes with his #5 counterpart, QB Josh Freeman. Continue reading

McNulty: Mechanics Not the Key to Helping Freeman

John McNulty is Josh Freeman’s new quarterbacks coach in 2013.  ‘New quarterbacks coach’ – that’s a phrase with which Freeman has become pretty familiar.

Freeman’s position coach upon arrival in Tampa as a first-round pick in 2009 was Greg Olson, though Olson would also be serving as offensive coordinator by the time the former Kansas State quarterback got his first NFL start.  In 2010 and 2011, the position was held by former NFL quarterback Alex Van Pelt.  With the arrival of new Head Coach Greg Schiano in 2012, the position went to Ron Turner and his more than three decades of coaching experience.  Turner moved on to become the head coach at Florida International in 2013, so in comes McNulty, who the Bucs had actually tried to hire away from the Arizona Cardinals a year earlier.

McNulty has plenty of experience, too, including four years in Arizona, a long run with Schiano at Rutgers and previous stops with the Cowboys and Jaguars.  He knows all about the proper mechanics for playing quarterback at a high level.  And that’s not at all his emphasis when it comes to coaching Josh Freeman. Continue reading

Bucs’ Return Jobs ‘Wide Open’

Two weeks ago, Buccaneers.com took a look at the positions where there was likely to be a training camp battle for the starting job, running down the competitors at such spots as strongside linebacker and nose tackle.

Not included in this analysis: punt returner and kickoff returner.  And for a good reason: Neither of those jobs is technically considered a starting position.  Make no mistake, however; those positions are of critical importance, and they are very much up in the air, perhaps more so than any other line on the depth chart. Continue reading

Temple’s Matt Brown Gets Shot at NFL with Bucs

Matt Brown may be able to thank a passport snafu for his first crack at the National Football League.

As told by Philly.com, the former Temple running back was scheduled to fly to Saskatchewan on Tuesday to sign with the Roughriders of the Canadian Football League, but a problem with his passport kept him off the plane.  That in turn delayed his official signing and meant he was still available to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they called Wednesday morning.  He was on a plane to Tampa hours later, returning to the spot where he had participated in a rookie mini-camp on a tryout contract a few weeks earlier. Continue reading

Bucs Being Cautious, But Clayborn is Right on Track

A knee injury last September took away 81% of Adrian Clayborn’s second NFL season, but it gave something in return: Time.

Clayborn, who suffered his season-ending ACL tear in the third game of the 2012 season, at Dallas, would have rather used the next three months to chase quarterbacks and build on his very promising 7.5-sack rookie season.  When that wasn’t an option, he did the next best thing with his sudden wealth of free time – he built himself into a more formidable player. Continue reading

Revis’ Progress Chronicled on NFL Network

The Buccaneers currently have 89 players on their offseason roster, including RB/KR Jeff Demps, whose status hasn’t been fully clarified since the team acquired his rights from New England in a draft-weekend trade.  Of the other 88 players, not one was missing when the Buccaneers gathered for the first of their 10 allotted OTA practices on Monday.

That’s impressive, of course, but not entirely unexpected.  The OTAs are voluntary but usually draw most of the roster, at least in Tampa.  The most recent collective bargaining agreement reduced the amount of time a team can practice during the offseason, so most players want to make use of all the field work they can get.

Of those 88 players on hand at One Buccaneer Place on Monday, 85 were in practice gear and on the field for the full 100-minute session.  Starting offensive guards Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks spent that time with the team’s trainers as they near the final stages of their recoveries from knee and toe injuries, respectively.  And Darrelle Revis, the prized cornerback for which the Buccaneers traded their first-round pick a month ago, split his practice time between mental reps on the sideline and rehab work on his knee with the medical staff.

The Bucs have expressed confidence that Revis will be on the field for opening day this September – coincidentally in New York against his former team, the Jets.  To get there, they have to help him finish his recovery from last September’s injury and they have to get him comfortable in Tampa Bay’s defense.  Thus, the splitting of time between observing and rehabbing during OTA practices. Continue reading

Spence Gets Quick Lesson in Tempo

The very first full-speed, full-team practice snap that Akeem Spence took as an NFL player ended in a little “extracurricular activity,” as they say, a brief after-the-whistle skirmish with veteran teammate Jeremy Zuttah.

That might seem like either bad luck or bad anger management on the rookie’s part, but in reality the first snap was where this breakout was most likely to occur.  The disagreement was over proper tempo in the trenches, where “practice etiquette” is most important, and Spence learned an immediate but important lesson on behalf of all the team’s rookies. Continue reading