With day one of Bucs rookie minicamp in the books, there were some notable observations and sound bites from both players and head coach Bruce Arians. Here are some of the top takeaways.
EDGE Joe Tryon
First round draft pick Joe Tryon will be sitting out of rookie minicamp and OTA’s as he has yet to pass his physical. Tryon will be sidelined as he recovers from a slight knee scope procedure he had done about three or four weeks ago. According to head coach Bruce Arians, he won’t rush the rookie back early but expects him to be good to go for mandatory camp starting June seventh.
QB Kyle Trask
Bucs’ new rookie quarterback Kyle Trask had an up and down day at camp on Friday. He made some really good throws particularly to fellow rookie WR Jaleon Darden but also had some mistakes including an interception to UDFA CB Cameron Kinley. On the whole it was a productive first day for the young quarterback. Arians was specifically pleased with the way he processed information saying. “Just the way he processes information. To take it from the first time ever hearing it – he was throwing it to the right guy. There were some really good, disguised coverages that he saw the first day of his career, so I was really impressed with how he processes information, and he was very accurate.”
Robert Hainsey Center?
One thing that surprised me was hearing that Robert Hainsey was exclusively working at center right now. A career right tackle at Notre Dame with over 30 starts, Hainsey will now begin the transition to learning a new position. After showing off his versatility at the Senior Bowl it appears the team is putting that to the test. As to where his final position ends up that will be a story line to watch throughout camp.
Safety, Tight End, Offensive Line
While rookie minicamp is really about getting the players in the facility, making sure they are in shape and can pass physicals as well as early installs. It also provides the coaching staff to take an early look at positions that they expect competition at. Arians touched on where the best positions some of these rookies and recently signed veterans might have the best chance to earn a spot on the Bucs roster. “Yeah, there are a couple spots that we could fill some roster spots – safety, tight end, offensive line. There are always some last-minute guys that always surprise me in these types of opportunities.”
WR Jaelon Darden
Many were surprised when the Bucs traded up in the fourth round to select a wide receiver, but the early returns look promising. It’s only been one day but Arians likes what he sees from the rookie Jaelon Darden and he should be a factor in the return game. “I thought he looked really, really good until he got really tired. He took every single rep. He looked really clean catching punts and looked really explosive as a receiver.”
While practice squad rules remain uncertain for the upcoming season, if they were to stay similar to last year rules, they teams will have expanded squads with the opportunity to protect four players each week. If such is the case, look for the Bucs to keep one or two specialists around. Undrafted free agent signing Jose Borregales was one of the best kickers in the country last year and impressed Arians his first day of camp. “I think he’s a heck of a kicker. Whether or not he can supplant Ryan [Succop], we’ll see. We had a really good kicker on our practice squad last year, so if that’s his opportunity, we’ll be really happy with him. There’s a good chance we’ll keep a punter and a kicker possibly – depending on the protocols. Who knows what they’re going to be.”
With the schedule release last Wednesday, the Bucs finally knows when they will be playing their 2021 opponents. With early tests against the Rams and Patriots and a mid-season bye week, Arians was pleased with how the schedule played out. “I thought it was a really good schedule. I’m not concerned with the L.A. to New England travel. We’ve done that in the past. It’s a good break – Week 9 Bye. I thought it was perfect for us. When you win a World Championship you should get exposure in night ball games. Hopefully we broke that cycle last year halfway through the season of being [terrible] at night and got a little better at it.”
With the recent news that Tom Brady is expected to begin throwing as soon as next week, Arians main concern was that Brady just take his time. He is in no rush to get the greatest of all time back out on the field and risk reaggravating an injury. “Yeah, I just told him to take it easy. He wants to get his arm in shape, but he’s got to take his time with that leg. You throw with your legs just as much with your arms, so just take your time and make sure you’re right.”
Arians also confirmed what Brady said in a recent podcast with Hodinkee about his struggles grasping the Bucs playbook. “Yeah. Probably the Kansas City game. The second, third, fourth quarters we started playing really, really well. From there on we attacked, and we took that attack mode philosophy. I think we were all on the same page from there on out.”