By Leo Haggerty

The Buccaneers concluded five straight days of training camp yesterday.  To say it was grueling was an understatement as the Pewter Pirates went through drill after drill in the oppressive heat and humidity of a Florida summer.  The day off today was much needs for players and coaches alike.

One thing is for sure.  The tempo that HC Bruce Arians promised has been evident at all phases of every practice.  Players are working hard and playing fast during every period of practice.  If enthusiasm and work ethic translate into wins, the Bucs will be in the double-digit win column.

In fact, some players took it to the extreme with QB Jameis Winston being the poster child for the aforementioned enthusiasm.  Yes, that’s #3 in the orange NO CONTACT jersey in the photo above, attempting to make a tackle after an interception.  Arians suggested that, if he needs to make a tackle which he is not advocating, make sure he does it with his left shoulder.

Other responses from the “King of the Kangol Cap” are listed below.  Again, brief and to the point.  The only time he expounds on a topic is if he wants to make sure the questioner, which was me, completely understand the question.

LH : With the elimination of 2-a-days and the limited amount of practice time, does that give you enough time to evaluate talent?

BA : Oh yeah.  We were out here a full two-and-a-half hours today. If you went any longer, you’re going to have injuries. In the studies, the last 45 minutes of a three-hour practice are when players are the most susceptible to injury.  But yeah, it’s plenty of time. We can evaluate them mentally and then in the two-and-a-half hours. Our rookies have had 500 reps. I don’t know if any other team’s rookies had 500 reps. But, they were on that field all of spring, they were on the other field all of this camp – until the last two days when we were done with that stuff. If you can’t show me in 500 plays, you can’t show me.

LH : In the NFL today, has the fullback become obsolete?

BA : I think some teams are using a fullback. I think Develin from the Patriots did a good job in the playoffs because people are using these smaller, faster linebackers. I think you might see a little bit of a resurgence, but if a guy is a tight end and can do that job, now they don’t know if it’s going to be an I-formation. If the fullback comes into the game, you’re going to get a certain defense every time.

LH : Were the quarterback focusing on the tight ends and running backs today  in the red zone period or was that just a coincidence?

BA : Yeah, that’s pretty much where we’re at down here tight. We will split our backs out.  We’ve made some good throws to our halfbacks, who can all catch. We’ll utilize everybody.

BA : Is cutting players still the most difficult part of your job no matter how long a coach has been in the league?

BA : Yeah because you cut the ones you love coaching.  You know, the try-hard guys who do everything right and do it all with everything they’ve got but are just not good enough. Those are the ones that are really hard. The hardest is a veteran whose time has come to an end and you have to tell him, and he doesn’t believe it.  That is hard.

LH : Will you game plan for the first exhibition game with the Steelers or just focuses on your team

BA : No, we will just practice our stuff and just go up there and play base stuff.

Photo journalist Trace Crisp braved the heat and humidity to prove the following excellent shots.  Enjoy.