By Leo Haggerty

The Buccaneers continued in night mode with their second of three consecutive evening practices.  Again, the Pewter Pirates were forced indoors due to lightning in the area.

As has been the case, the defense is ahead of the offense especially during the skeleton blitz period.  DC Todd Bowles has been throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the Bucs offense when it comes to the pass rush.  The Tampa Bay defense has brought between three and eight pass rushers and, at times, has been extremely effective in confusing blocking assignments which leads to sacks as well as forcing the quarterbacks to scramble out of the pocket along with throwing late that has led to interceptions.

Let’s give credit to the offense though because that gap is starting to close.  The offensive line is, slowly but surely, starting to recognize different blitz schemes and that gives the quarterbacks time to find an open receiver.  Also, the quarterbacks, when they have a clean pocket and can step into their throws, were extremely accurate especially during the goal line period.

One thing is for sure.  This team, unlike Buccaneer squads in the recent past, will be well prepared going into the regular season.  The offense will have seen every blitz scheme possibly known to man.  The defense will be aggressive and attacking especially at predetermined weak spots in the opposition offense.

The big thing is not to judge what is taking place now because this is a learning experience on both sides of the ball.  All that matters is that this team is healthy and ready to on September 8th when the San Francisco 49ers roll into Raymond James Stadium for a 4:25 kickoff.  I hate to add this part but, weather permitting, especially at that time of the day in Tampa Bay.

Until then, enjoy the ride as well as the musings HC Bruce Arians.  Another great group of comments from the King of the Kangol.

LH : I know it’s not now but will there come a time when you have to go out and practice in the elements?

BA : Not when they’re loud. Lightning delay the whole time and now three inches of rain. That’s just going to ruin your practice. We’ve got all the elements we need as far as body temperatures being 101 for practice. That’s what this is set up temperature-wise and humidity-wise to acclimate us to the first game. It’s not going to be any hotter September the eighth than it is today. This is sports science. If you’re going to come, come. I’m worried about the team getting in shape.

LH : When will you start making decisions on who to cut?

BA : Some will be the last cut. We don’t have to cut him until after the last game, so…

LH : Seemed like the pass protection was much improved today?

BA : Yeah we did pretty good until the third group got in there. We switched Boozer from left to right and he struggled on the right today. He’s been doing a heck of a job on the left.

LH : Also, looked like the quarterbacks had a clean pocket to throw from much of practice?

BA : Yeah, we’re doing a much better job of blitz pick-up, seeing our assignments, seeing our hots. They always bring one more than you can block, so who’s hot, getting that ball out of your hand to the receiver, we’re doing a much better job of that.

As usual, another great job by photo journalist Trace Crisp behind the glass.  Enjoy.