We are officially here. 2021 Bucs training camp has arrived.
The first day of camp is usually a benign one, but there was a much different atmosphere surrounding the defending world champs as opposed to previous years.
We’ve waited all offseason to get to this point, so let’s not waste any more time. It’s time to dive in and take a look at the day’s top moments.
The crowd was hyped up for the first day of Bucs training camp
I’ve only been to Bucs training camp three times -this being the third- since 2018, so I don’t have a whole lot of experience to go off of, but Sunday’s crowd was easily the loudest, most involved crowd I’ve seen on the first day of camp. One of the best moments of the day was when the crowd was hyping up Mike Evans to the point where he jumped the training camp barrier and went into the crowd. Everyone hugged. It was an awesome moment.
If Sunday’s crowd is any indication/preview of what Raymond James Stadium is going to be like this year, then opposing teams better hold on to their butts.
Fans are riled up and then a “Brady! Brady! Brady!” chant breaks out. The champs are back. pic.twitter.com/UMrd5kqdNX
— Bucs Nation (@Bucs_Nation) July 25, 2021
Jaelon Darden was very impressive
Overall, Darden had a good first day. He showed off the speed and twitch that prompted the Buccaneers to draft him in the fourth round back in April. He was consistently getting open, even burning Carlton Davis III at one point. Bruce Arians did say he saw too many drops from Darden on Day One, but chalked that up to nerves, more than anything. Either way, Darden will certainly see playing time this year if he can improve each day. Sunday was a great starting point.
Robert Hainsey practicing at center
The Buccaneers had Hainsey taking snaps at center during OTAs and minicamp, so this isn’t a surprise. What’s important is the consistent carry over, however. That’s because Arians has been adamant about Hainsey’s ability to play all five positions on the offensive line. Right now, it looks like as if the Bucs are going to have him play center. It’ll be interesting to see if he stays at center in the coming days or if the Bucs move him around during training camp.
Robert Hainsey at C with the 2s
— Evan Winter (@evan_winter) July 25, 2021
Leonard Fournette receives initial snaps at running back
Granted, this is just the first day of Buccaneers training camp. There is still a long way to go in terms of determining whether Fournette or Ronald Jones II will receive the majority of snaps at running back. But it is noteworthy that Fournette received the first round of snaps over RoJo.
A lot of pre-snap motion on offense
The Buccaneers look like they’re carrying over the pre-snap motion they used toward the end of last season. And that’s obviously a good thing. The Bucs were one of the most effective teams in the NFL when using pre-snap motion over the last eight weeks of 2020 and it was a major component during the Super Bowl run.
O.J. Howard does not practice
Many are awaiting the return of the fifth-year tight end, but it looks like they’re going to have to wait at least one more day. Howard was on the field but wasn’t practicing with the Bucs on the first day of training camp. He’s obviously made a lot of progress, but he doesn’t appear to be “there” quite yet. Regardless, he hasn’t been put on any type of PUP or NFI list, so his return should be soon.
Jerell Adams was making plays
And speaking of tight ends, Adams had a good day. He made several catches over the middle and even made a couple of nice open-field moves to gain extra yardage. The Bucs are looking to find their fourth tight end during training camp. There could certainly be a roster spot for the fourth-year tight end if he can continue to show out like he did Sunday.
There were plenty of big plays on the first day
And speaking of big plays, there were plenty to be had on Day One. Things started to take off once everyone started settling in. Blaine Gabbert hit Tanner Hudson for a long touchdown. Sean Murphy-Bunting had an excellent PBU during 7-on-7s. Darden had a nice grab on the sideline. Jaydon Mickens had a nice diving catch near the sideline. Newcomer De’Quan Hampton had a sick one-handed grab and Nate Brooks broke up what looked to be a sure-fire catch by Darden. Overall, the guys were flying around and the Bucs looked pretty good for the first day of training camp.
Antonio Brown misses the early portion of practice
It’s still unclear as to why Brown wasn’t on the field at the beginning of practice, but settled down once he came out of the AdventHealth Training Center about an hour after everything started. It could’ve been something as benign as routine maintenance. Arians did say Brown is “fine” after practice, so it’s probably nothing.
Arians didn’t say why Antonio Brown was a late practice arrival: “He’s fine.” #Bucs
— Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) July 25, 2021
Kyle Trask practices as the third-string quarterback
The Bucs split up the practice field about midway through training camp and Trask was on the opposite side of Gabbert and Tom Brady. It’s hard to determine who is thrid- and fourth-string at this point, but one thing was clear: Trask was not on the other side of the field with the Buccaneers’ first- and second-stringers.
Overall, it was a pretty jam-packed day for the first day of Bucs training camp. There will be plenty more to chew on over the coming days, so be sure to check back in for daily updates!