By Leo Haggerty


Week 2 of voluntary, and I emphasize voluntary, Organized Team Activities is in the books.  So, Buccaneers fans, as Aaron Rodgers so aptly stated a few years ago, “Relax” when it come to the seasoned  veterans that are not attending OTAs.  These guys played 20 games last year and that was the most of any National Football League club.  They need the recovery time more than anything.

When is it time to started being a bit worried, you ask?  That would be when a player doesn’t show up for the mandatory, and I repeat mandatory, Mini-Camp that starts next week.  That’s because if a player is a no-show, they can, and probably will, be fined for non-attendance.

Had a chance to chat with Assistant Head Coach & Run Game Coordinator Harold Goodwin and Safety Raven Green along with QB Ryan Griffin plus Outside Linebacker Anthony Nelson.  Below are their responses to my questions.  Enjoy.

LH : For the first time in NFL history, a Super Bowl champion is bringing back all 22 starters.  As a coach, how nice is it for you that, in your room, you have guys that you don’t have to throw into the fire immediately but, like Giovani Bernard, you can assimilate slowly into the program?

HG : Yes, we are very fortunate to get all the guys back plus to add some pieces through the draft and free agency.  For me as a coach, it’s going to be exciting to go back into the room and everybody is going to be knowing what I’m talking about right from the start.  With that being said, you cannot be complacent.  We have to stay hungry and pretend that last year just didn’t happen.  Hopefully, we can do better that way.  Stay focused throughout the year and have an opportunity, at the end of the day, to possibly repeat.

LH : This may sound like a real stupid question but do you ever get used to the heat in Tampa?

RAG : I’m shedding a couple pounds right now, for sure, due to these practices.  I can say that I’m enjoying it.  I want to see how low that I can go.  I think I’m listed at 197 on the roster.  We’ll see.

LH : Coach Arians talks all the time about putting stuff on film.  How important is it now, at the OTAs, to put positive things on film?

RYG: It’s always good to put positive things up on film but, at this time of the year, guys aren’t going to lose their job.  The big thing, this time of year, is that the coaching staff wants to see if you can pick up a playbook and where you’re at physically.  It’s always good to put good tape out there, no matter what it is.  That’s because everyone is always watching and they’re always grading it.  You just have to keep doing it.

LH : Are you more comfortable with your hand in the dirt on in coverage?

AN : I would say that I’m a pass rusher first so I would rather have my hand in the dirt.  Obviously, I’ve become a lot more comfortable dropping into coverage and doing those kinds of things since arriving here in Tampa but I’m a pass rusher through and through.  It’s in my blood.  I’d rather put my hand in the dirt and get after the quarterback.  I think a lot of edge guys would.

Photos provided for the first time in almost a year by photo journalist Trace Crisp.