By Leo Haggerty


The Buccaneers wrapped up a very interesting Week 4 of training camp with a lackluster 34-3 loss to the Titans at Raymond James Stadium.  Tennessee moved to 2-0 in the preseason and Tampa Bay tumbled to 0-2.

Due to the fact that both teams had two spirited and physical practice days this week, both Pewter Pirates HC Bruce Arians along with HC Mike Vrabel chose to rest a plethora of starters for the contest.

Basically, it became a tilt where the backups from both franchises determined the outcome.  With that being said, that visitors definitely outplayed the home team.

Had a chance to get a couple of pictures from the two practices that I will add along with some shots by Senior Writer Rob Kriete.  Brooklyn, as were refer to him for obvious reasons, made his maiden voyage to Buccaneers practice and then followed that up with his first visit t the Raymond James press box as a credentialed member of the media.  Look for more in his GAME ON column this Wednesday.

Go a question or two, and sometimes three of a good number of members of the Tampa Bay franchise.  That included HC Bruce Arians, QB Ryan Griffin, DL Pat O’Connor, DL Khalil Davis, CB Dee Delaney and LB Grant Stuard.  Below are their answers to my queries and some will surprise you.

LH : When there were four preseasons games, the starters played a half or more in the third game.  Will they play that long in Houston against the Texans even though it’s the last preseason game?
BA : Yeah, they’re going a half next week because we’re going so long before we play. I mean, we can’t go against Dallas, who is really good, and all of a sudden play game speed. We better have some game speed under our belt before we show up against the Cowboys.
LH : Did the starters get more out of the joint practices on Wednesday and Thursday then they would have in this preseason game?
BA : Oh, there’s no doubt. There’s no doubt. We got a lot of really, really good work on Wednesday and Thursday. There was no need for them to hit again tonight.
LH : That’s a pretty good team on the other sideline tonight, right?
BA : Yeah, they’re a playoff team. They’re a good football team. I like the way we practiced against them Thursday.
LH : Was the biggest disappointment tonight just not finding the end zone?
RG : Yeah, especially when you go through a whole game and different people are playing and it is tough to get in a groove. Obviously, different quarterbacks are going in, different receivers. But still, obviously, you want to find the end zone. It doesn’t matter if it’s the preseason. It still feels just as good.
LH : Everyone talks about third down being the money down.  What’s the most important down for you?
RG : Well, I think getting ahead of the sticks. I mean, if you’re going to go through our last two preseason games, we just haven’t got ahead of the sticks. So we’re not running the ball for four or more on first down or completing the ball. We are getting a lot of third and longs or just a lot of third downs. You would love to not have any third downs on a drive. It just makes it harder to score. Football is beautiful game and it’s so hard, but it’s so simple. I had a play today, it was cover zero, exit screen, it was a perfect play to that coverage. I threw it to Scotty (Miller) and he got eaten up. I’m sure the other side was
wide open, but on that play you can go either way. You pick a side and today it didn’t work. But, that’s football and that’s why I love the game. It drives you crazy but it always brings you back and you’re always looking for more. So a lot of stuff like that happened today.
LH : Does a loss still hurt even if it’s preseason?
DD : For everybody it’s different. For me, I feel like every game is important, preseason or not because you never know when it will be your last snap. So, I take every game like it’s the last.

LH : Last year, you played in empty stadium or with really small crowds.  Communications wasn’t a problem.  After two home games with no limit on fan attendance, was communication a problem?

PO : No, it wasn’t.  We’re excited to have the fans back.  We love them especially when they make a lot of crowd noise that has such a powerful impact upon the game.  We just go with it.

LH : A lot of people believe that defensive lineman are all just brute strength.  There’s a lot of technique involved, isn’t there.

KD : A lot.  That’s the difference between college and the pros.  You have to use your hands at this level or else the reps won’t be as good.

LH : Swim or Rip or Spin or Bull.  What’s your favorite move?

KD : Swim.  Yeah, probably the swim.

LH : Is it importance to not try and do too much but just do your job?
GS : Yeah, especially this week going against them.  I had some reps where I had lost this week and so, I saw the same match-up in the game, and I was wanting to just do some extra. But I tried to stay with my technique and just do what the coach asks me to do, and just really play my butt off.  That’s all I can do
LH : What’s the biggest difference between playing linebacker in college and linebacker in the NFL?
GS : Oh, hands on block.  When I played in college, was able to use my quickness.  I was able to get offensive linemen to overstep and I could slide inside and get in the gap.  Here, they’re going to be in their gap.  This guy is going to try and reach to the other guy.  You have no choice but to go up and put your hands on them and get it that gap as opposed to trying to be an athlete down there.  That’s the biggest difference.  It sounds simple but the offensive lineman up here are all fast.  Their job is to get you out of that gap as opposed to college run plays.  Hey, I’m learning but it’s fun.
LH : Which one of the Avengers are you?
GS : Thor.  He’s my guy.

All picture below are by our outstanding photo journalist Steve Jacobson from Wednesday’s practice.  Enjoy.