2021 Bucs Training Camp: 10 Takeaways From Day Three


The Bucs kicked off Day Three of training camp with another hot morning. A light rain really had the humidity cranked up, making it seem like there was a giant, wool blanket wrapped around the AdventHealth Training Center.

But just like Day Two, the Bucs pushed through. As media, we were very limited with what we could see due to the Bucs shutting down the north end zone. But just like the Bucs, we pushed through and still found plenty to talk about.

So let’s dive in to some of the best moments from Day Three of Bucs training camp.

It was brutally hot…again

Look, I know weather updates usually aren’t included in training camp reports. And they probably shouldn’t be. But it’s a different animal when you’re talking about the weather in Tampa Bay. Especially after Bruce Arians made the comments he did on Monday regarding the Bucs, the weather, and training camp so far.

It was so hot that Arians took his guys inside the indoor practice facility for a few minutes while Jose Borregales practiced his kicks. The idea was that it was a halftime simulation, but it also represented a moment for the team to cool off. This weather will either make you or break you, so let’s hope the guys get some type of relief over the next few days.

Arians said after practice he thinks the break worked and was much more pleased with the second half of practice on Tuesday when juxtaposed with the previous two days.

Bucs Antoine Winfield Jr. and Tyler Johnson were back out on the practice field for Day Three of training camp

And Antonio Brown was there from the start, as well. This is obviously good news for the Bucs, who are currently thin at safety and are missing Justin Watson.

Chris Godwin and Ndamukong Suh were the big names who sat out today, both likely just maintenance days. O.J. Howard did have his helmet with him, but was an observer for the third straight day.

Johnson’s Monday absence is still a mystery, but he made up for it on Tuesday…

Tyler Johnson had a really good day of practice

He made a couple of really nice grabs over the middle. He was able to show off his run-after-the-catch ability on the first grab, slicing through the defense for extra yardage.

Johnson almost made the biggest play of the young training camp as he attempted what would’ve been a circus-style, one-handed catch over the middle. But he couldn’t haul it in.

Either way, he looked good, which is what the Bucs want to see during this year’s training camp.

There is a major competition going on for the fourth tight end position

This may just be the most heated competition right now. You currently have Tanner Hudson, Codey McElroy, and Jerell Adams battling it out for the TE4 spot on the roster. All three players are doing their jobs and catching just about everything thrown their way. All three have been very impressive, as well.

I’d say Hudson has the lead just because he is more familiar with the team and what goes on. His play hasn’t dropped off, either. But he could easily see McElroy or Adams surpass him if he starts to go through a slog at any point. Adams is really making a name for himself. Don’t be surprised if he overtakes the lead by simply being the better player of the three.

At the end of the day, the Bucs have a good problem on their hands and this type of competition is exactly what you want to see during training camp.

The Bucs defense was getting after it on Day Three of training camp

The pass rush was on fire Tuesday. The secondary was communicating well. Overall, the defense was mightily impressive.

There were sacks, batted balls at the line of scrimmage, interceptions, pass break-ups, etc. Whatever variety of defensive plays that you love to see happen, happened during Day Three.

Shaquil Barrett talked about how the defense loves pissing Arians off on Monday. I wonder how Arians is feeling after Tuesday’s practice.

A lot of play-action

It’s been well-documented how efficient the Bucs are when using play-action and they used a ton of it during Day Three of training camp.

The pinnacle of the utilization came when Tom Brady hit Cyril Grayson Jr. deep down the middle of the field for an easy touchdown. Pre-snap motion was also involved during the play, making it even that more exciting.

The Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski connection was live

Mike Evans looked a bit shaken up after a catch during the Bucs’ two-minute drill and sat out the remainder of practice. There shouldn’t be much cause for alarm because it’s not like he missed the last half of practice, or anything. He only missed the last portion and it makes sense to keep him out at that point.

But there’s another reason there shouldn’t be any cause for alarm and that’s because this team is loaded with offensive weapons. Without Evans, Brady found Gronk twice. One was a deep pass down the middle that allowed Gronk to gain some extra yards after the catch. The other was a perfect pass that allowed Gronk to squeeze between two defenders and get into the end zone for a touchdown.

Gronk tuddies are the best tuddies and we got to see one on Tuesday. This team is loaded.

A development at punt returner

Most know that Jaydon Mickens will be challenged as the team’s primary kick returner, but we haven’t seen the dichotomy of the kick returners or punt returners yet.

That changed on Tuesday. Mickens, Jaelon Darden, and Scotty Miller all took turns catching punts in that order. Right now, it looks like Mickens has the head start. But that could easily change in the coming weeks.

The running backs looked good and caught the ball well, too

Especially Ke’Shawn Vaughn. He had a diving catch on the near sideline that a lot of receivers can’t make and then he made a nice open-field move to gain extra yardage after another reception later on.

Leonard Fournette caught just about everything thrown his way. Ronald Jones II had some really nice runs and didn’t have any drops from what I saw. Gio Bernard was a little more of an afterthought Tuesday, but that could be chalked up to veteran rest.

Ross Cockrell continues to impress at safety during Bucs training camp

Talk about an unanticipated story entering camp, but this is obviously also a welcome one.

Cockrell had another strong day. He started with the safeties doing individual drills, which shows how serious the Bucs are looking him as an option during training camp. He nearly recorded a pick for the second straight day, but couldn’t finish the play. Cockrell was also out there getting guys lined up and showing solid communication with his counterparts in the secondary.

Right now, there’s no reason to discontinue this experiment.

Be sure to check back in on Wednesday for the Day Four recap from Bucs training camp! If you missed Day One’s and Day Two’s reports, you can check them out below: