Bucs trying to get used to new helmet rule

by Gary Shelton on June 1, 2018 · 2 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Vea has shown his strength so far./CARMEN MANDATO

Vea has shown his strength so far./CARMEN MANDATO

Friday, 3 a.m.

At the moment, it isn't really like the Bucs are at practice. It's more like they're practicing to practice.

Oh, they can catch and they can chase, but there are no pads, and no one will ever remember the score. But their are officials, and there are the wobbly first steps of a team that is trying to go somewhere.

That's what OTAs are all about. Shorts and sneakers. Underwear football, coach Dirk Koetter calls it.

"There are certain rules that govern us this time of year," Koetter said. "Guys can't really go all-out; they

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can go close. We do the best we can under the rules and we find out – we do definitely find out what guys know and, some of the young guys, what they don't know. But it's just part of the process.

"We had officials with us here this week. So we've had a full NFL officiating crew here all week, so we wanted to take advantage of that and we got a couple two-minute offense sessions in. Yesterday we had to go in the indoor because of the weather. It was great having the officials here. We'll practice two-minute without officials but it's just a lot more productive when they're here, throwing their flags and they're spotting the ball and all that stuff."

Koetter said his team is getting used to the new helmet rule.

"Right now, they're putting out a series of videos," Koetter said. "We've only seen the first series, and as you might expect, the first series are clips – a couple of those clips went back as far as five years ago and they're the most violent ones that everybody with the naked eye could see. We don't want those plays in football. I think that everybody kind of assumes that they're going to call every single bump every time a guy's helmet touches somebody, and it's still football. Like the officials told us, they're still working through it. So this series of videos that we're getting, I'm sure that's going to continue all the way up to the first game. That's what's great about having preseason games, that there's a little bit of a feeling-out period.

"But nobody wants the violent helmet-to-helmet shots in football. Those are the ones we want out. When they showed us those at the owners' meetings, there might have only been eight or 10 of them all year. Like I said, those are the ones that are easy. Everybody wants those out of the game."

On other subjects, Koetter said:

On new center Ryan Jensen: "Ryan has fit right in, number one. He's fit right in with our other guys. You can tell that he's a gritty player, and that's something that we were looking for in all the guys that we added. Because he's got experience, he's a smart player, even though he's adjusting from the Ravens' system to our system, he's really picked things up quickly. You can just tell that he's going to make us pretty – with him and Ali [Marpet] inside and however it ends up at right guard, it's going to make us pretty solid inside."

On rookie cornerback Carlton Davis: :Yeah, Carlton again – I get asked about it almost every time. Carlton, he's off to one of the fastest starts of the rookies. He gets thrown out there a lot just because of who's here and who's not here at corner. He's getting a lot of reps. He's getting a lot of reps against some good receivers. What he's shown is that he plays the ball probably better than I thought he did coming off his tape. We knew he was a good bump-and-run player. You can't really play true bump-and-run during Phase 3, so he's having to play a little bit more off and I think he's getting better."

On cornerback Brent Grimes: "Grimes was here two days this week. He just wasn't here today. And I've talked to those guys quite often. Brent Grimes has been here off and on and, yeah, we're in contact."

On defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul: "He has been here. Yeah, he's been here, and I'm sure he'll be here for the mandatory mini-camp."

On receiver Bobo Wilson: "Bobo's having one of the best offseasons of anybody. I said at the end of last year he was one of the most improved players. Two guys, receiver-wise, that stick out almost every day are Bobo Wilson and Freddie Martino. They're going with the second group because we've got four guys going with the first group. So they get to go with Fitz [Ryan Fitzpatrick] and with Griff [Ryan Griffin], whoever's working the second quarterback that day, and they're getting a lot of balls thrown to them. Bobo has gone from a guy that could only play one position to a guy that could play all three, which helps his chances. He's just become so much more coachable. Part of that is knowing what you're doing, it makes it easier to play fast, and he has no problem playing fast."

On rookie Alex Cappa: "There's a handful of guys on both sides of the ball that are going to play better in full pads than they play how we're playing right now. In real football, that plays to his strengths more. But as far as picking it up and being a sharp guy, being the right kind of guy, he's off to a good start."

On rookie Vita Vea: "What we've seen is a guy that his weight definitely has not affected him. He's got an excellent motor and he is a very strong human being. You can ask those guards that are playing against him… I've seen him pick up 300-pound guys. It's impressive, his strength."

On defensive end Will Gholston, who is lighter: "He's lost weight. He's down somewhere between 10 and 15 pounds from last year. We thought he got too heavy last year, he agreed and he did a really good job of slimming it down. He looks good out there. He's another guy that fits into that category, better in pads than in underwear."

On defensive end Noah Spence, who is heavier: "Noah has gained a lot of weight. Last I checked, Noah was 257. He was down in one point at training camp in the 230s last year. He looks good. He's pretty close to where he needs to be. He's going to be somewhere between 253 and 259, probably."












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