The Buccaneers just completed their fourth training camp practice, second consecutive in pads. There has been a lot of good, some not-so-good and, a pinch of ugly. Overall a very productive first four days. Many players who came to establish a position have started to trend downward. And even some players who were assumed to be on the bubble are now starting to make their case.
Who’s Up? Who’s Down?
Bruce Arians doesn’t come off as the type to mince words. The best man will win the roster spot. Competition for training camp in the NFL becomes more and more intense as players start to make their claims. Some Buccaneers are sticking out during training camp this year and not all for good reason.
Let’s break down who’s been having a stellar camp and who needs to step their game up.
Trending Upward 📈
– After lighting up the first three days of training camp (including day three where he blew up left tackle Donovan Smith twice), Noah Spence tallied yet another sack and continued to bully any tackle in his way. It’s something many people didn’t see coming this early, but you can’t be upset about it either. It’s four days in and the production hasn’t stopped. He’s performing in camp with a chip on his shoulder after not meeting expectations (especially considering where he was drafted) last season. Thus, Angry Spence has been unleashed.
– Obviously, when you’re new coaching staff brings in three new secondary players, you know you need to up the anty to reclaim your spot. Davis has been doing just that. He has a few interceptions through four days and is giving the wide receiver ones some real fits. It’s apparent he’s trained well this offseason.
Courtesy of The Athletic’s Greg Auman, below is a good rep where Davis never gave up on the ball and forced the incompletion. It’s been like this all camp.
Video: Good rep for Bucs defense, with push from Noah Spence and breakup by Carlton Davis … pic.twitter.com/blrnAvE5YW
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) July 27, 2019
– Since starting free safety Justin Evans has been out with a heel issue, Mike Edwards has played with the starters and is making the most of it. Earlier today, Arians praised the rookie on his brilliant play through day four.
HC Bruce Arians praised rookie safety Mike Edwards’ instincts after two INTs today – “that guy is a ball hawk.”
— Carmen Vitali (@CarmieV) July 29, 2019
And just in case some of you missed the second interception…
This was his second interception of the day, and it was a beauty. pic.twitter.com/9EgKOZNzG2
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) July 29, 2019
Unfortunately, where there are those that do well, some have to be doing not so well. Three players come to mind so far in camp:
Trending Downward 📉
– I pegged Anderson as my surprise prediction to make this roster. I may have spoken too soon. So far he hasn’t outplayed Peyton Barber, Ronald Jones or Andre Ellington. He’s really competing with Dare Ogunbowale at this point, who has made splashes of his own in camp. Then there was this fumbled snap today…
Video: Bucs rookie Bruce Anderson loses a fumble in run period … pic.twitter.com/b2l1wUixlR
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) July 29, 2019
– Honestly speaking here, Benenoch was on this list well before camp and his performance thus far has been abysmal at best. The videos below should sum up his play so far. In the first tweet, realize that he was playing in place of then-injured, Donovan Smith.
When asked about defenders coming off the edge free, Bucs coach Bruce Arians said, “We had some guys crap their pants today in pads.” pic.twitter.com/15mTrv9lDE
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) July 28, 2019
This is more or less a Spence highlight, but you get the point:
Noah Spence getting to Jameis! Caleb Benenoch with the blocking assignment. pic.twitter.com/DMkz4PpUaB
— TAMPA BAY SPORTS CAST (@bay_cast) July 29, 2019
Bucs Offensive Line
– Overall, the defense has run the show at the start of training camp. The front five on the offensive line looked out of place and overwhelmed. Backup tackle positions and right guard should be addressed immediately.
– While it’s worth noting that a few of the offensive tackles have been out this week, the Buccaneers o-line looks shaky. The rookie defensive backs have come in and played beyond expectations which bodes well for the defense. And we also have a legitimate kicker competition going on. Cairo Santos simply refuses to budge. Less than one week into training camp and competition on the football field looks real.