What To Watch For: Buccaneers’ Training Camp


Buccaneers’ training camp is finally here! NFL teams around the league are reporting to their facilities to begin preparing for the upcoming season. For the Tampa Bay Bucs, the quest for a third consecutive division title begins this week.

Unlike the last few years, the Bucs come into camp with a lot of questions to be answered. This means more camp battles and more storylines. Here are some of the biggest storylines that I’ll be watching during this training camp.

Inexperience At Offensive Line

The only constant with the offensive line is change. There are new faces at every starting position compared to most of last season. Fortunately, the left side in line is anchored by star Tristan Wirfs, veteran Matt Feiler, and returning from injury Ryan Jensen.

The right side of the offensive line is almost entirely unproven. Rookie Cody Mauch will be changing positions from left tackle to right guard as well as moving from North Dakota State to the NFL. Second year player Luke Goedeke is moving back to right tackle after spending his rookie year at guard.

No team can thrive with half an offensive line. The development of these two players is critical for the Buccaneers season. I will be watching them very closely in training camp to monitor their progress.

Quarterback Competition

We have heard a lot about the quarterback competition between Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask. One of these two options will lead the Buccaneers’ offense in 2023. Whether it be the unproven third-year Trask or the now journeyman Baker Mayfield.

Regardless of who the winner is, this is not viewed as a good option league wide. Both men will be looking to jumpstart their career in this new quarterback friendly offense. I strongly believe this will be Mayfield, however, he will have to earn the job through legitimate competition.

Regardless of who wins, one of these two will have to play at at least a league average level for the Buccaneers to go where they want to go this year. With playmakers like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on the outside this quarterback will be set up for success. I’ll be watching who reaches out and grabs hold of this opportunity during training camp.

Offensive Structure

I mentioned the new offense before. Dave Canales is bringing in the Seahawks style offense which is of the Sean McVay tree. This involves an outside zone style running game and a quarterback friendly motion offense. In theory, they should set the quarterback up to have a strong year.

And keep in mind everyone will be learning this new offense. From the quarterback to the offensive line to the playmakers. This is very different from what the team did under Bruce Arians. After what we saw last year, that should come as a welcome change

I will be monitoring this new offense closely. How often the guards are asked to pull. How often the receivers are put into motion. All of these things matter and are a piece to the puzzle as the Bucs redesign the offense.

Nickelback Competition

To me, this is the most interesting camp battle this season. The likes of Josh Hayes and Chris Izien were brought in as rookies to compete with returning corner Dee Delaney for the starting nickel job. All of these players are relatively unproven and will need to step up to take this opportunity.

This is the one hole in the Buccaneers otherwise strong secondary. Nickel is essentially a starting position in the NFL today and the Bucs need a good player in place here if they plan to have an upper echelon defense. Someone needs to fill this void.

As of now I’m putting my money on Izien. The rookie out of Rutgers was signed by the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent, but I like him more than who they drafted at that position in the fifth round. All three should see consistent reps at this position and the team should get a good sense for who can actually hold the role at the NFL level.

Rookie Defenders

The Buccaneers invested several draft picks on defense this year. From first round pick Calijah Kancey to sixth round pick Jose Ramirez this defense is full of young talent. Watching their development peaks my interest.

One name who deserves particular attention is edge rusher Yaya Diaby. The 6’4, 270 pound edge rusher from Louisville is a load on the outside and his blend of speed and power are rare combination. Some believe he could compete for a starting job.

I’m also very interested in the development of rookie linebacker, SirVocea Dennis. With starting middle linebacker Devin White requesting a trade this offseason and Lavonte David in his early 30s, the future at middle linebacker is uncertain. In a perfect world Dennis can develop into a starter and secure this job for years to come.

Depth At Running Back

The Buccaneers parted ways with Leonard Fournette this offseason. Now second year running back Rachaad White is expected to take over as the starter. White is a well rounded back with good vision and pass catching ability and should thrive in the new offense.

Unfortunately, there is nothing behind him after that. Chase Edmonds was brought in as a veteran free agent and could potentially be the primary backup. The team also says they’re high on Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who has been a death player to this point of his career after being drafted in the third round in 2020.

Personally, I’m most interested in undrafted rookie out of Syracuse, Sean Tucker. Tucker is extremely explosive and has a good vision to find the gap in The Zone offense. If not for a flagged heart issue at the combine I firmly believe he would’ve been a second or third round draft pick and one of the top five running backs in this class.

Follow, Like and Subscribe to Bucs Report

For more on this and everything Buccaneers check back here hourly at BucsReport.com