Just three days from now, Buccaneers rookies will head into One Buc Place knowing that, for many of them, training camp is their tryout. Veterans will join them on the 27th. Training camp signals a season where all bets are off and there are money and a roster spot to be made on that field. Many college teammates across the NFL chose not to communicate with one another during this period understanding the type of focus needed during the grueling, two-week period.
Training Camp is Make or Break
For Tampa Bay, there’s a host of questions to be answered and training camp does just that. The guys in the trenches can finally go to work. Physical corners now have a chance to show that aggression off the line. Running backs will need to fight through contact. Inconsistencies will be charted, via Bruce Arians “accountability sheet,” and starting Sunday the race to the final 53 will begin. With that being said, here are my five bold predictions for Buccaneers training camp:
1. Scotty Miller Will Steal Playing Time This Year
2. Bruce Anderson Makes the Final 53
– Although it seems unlikely that undrafted free agents make the team, Anderson has proven his capabilities in OTAs so far. So much so that Tampa Bay felt the need to release two-year pro, Shaun Wilson. Anderson’s only real competition at this point is a 30-year-old Andre Ellington (who was out of football last year). There may be a new “BA” in town.
3. Mike Edwards Steps Up in Safety Competition
– The safety competition will easily be the most-watched of this offseason for the Buccaneers. With no true leader in the group outside of free safety starter, Justin Evans, newcomers like Kentrell Brice and third-round pick Mike Edwards will need to step up. Edwards has an alpha male type personality and I wouldn’t be shocked to see a Sunday game this season with Evans and Edwards as the starters.
4. Vita Vea Will Make Tampa Bay Forget About McCoy
– Vita Vea is not Haloti Ngata. He is not Danny Shelton either. He is much stronger, quicker and more agile than those aforementioned players. He’s been reported to have slimmed down to around 330 pounds (down from 347 his rookie year) and presumably is ready to take over the void left at defensive tackle. His strength is uncanny and he’s got such quick feet for a large guy. I smell a Pro Bowl nod.
5. Terry Beckner will have more sacks than William Gholston this year
– This one might shock you, but level with me here. William Gholston was re-signed to a huge contract off the heels of a three-sack season with the hopes he would blossom into more than a run stuffer. The Buccaneers never got that wish. Beckner provides an undervalued talent at an overstacked position.
Three more days until football is back. Pads on. Live refs. Players putting their all on the field. Feels good to be back in season.
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