The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held their final full-padded practice of training camp on Tuesday, the 19th day of drills since the squad initially took the field on July 25. For nearly three weeks, the Bucs have braved Florida’s summer heat and rain at One Buc Place in preparation for the start of the 2014 campaign.[Michael Compton photo/Eric Page gets outside the defense during training camp.]
Players were given a day off on Wednesday, and although the team will continue to practice daily, training camp officially breaks tomorrow with the final practice in shells.
“I thought it was good," head coach Lovie Smith said on Buccaneers.com of the last 19 days. "We practiced in the heat of the day most of the time. It’s draining. It’s draining just going through a walk-through down here in Tampa. But the guys got through it.
"We haven’t had any major injuries,” Smith added. “We feel like we’ve gotten about the proper amount of physical contact that we need to get ourselves in position to play the game. I like the work we’ve done. Most of the guys have made a lot of progress throughout. We need to kind of just take steps now. We want to see improvement. What I’m talking about, we want to see that in the game this week.”
In other training camp notes: wide receiver and kick and punt returner Eric Page handled most of the punt returns last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but Smith indicated at his Tuesday press conference that the coaching staff expects to get looks at other players Saturday night when the Bucs host the Miami Dolphins at Raymond James Stadium.
“Eric, of course, has done it,” Smith said. “He was our main punt returner last week. This week, we’re going to take a look at some other players, too. Bobby Rainey, for one. Bobby can catch the ball well. He guarantees me that he can do it well in this league. Like most running backs, they guarantee you they can do just about everything. But Bobby can. For our football team—all positions—we’re going to let as many guys as possible prove what they can do. That’s the goal for training camp.”
“I’m excited,” Dotson said. “It’s the first opportunity to get back out here and prove ourselves from that last game and get that taste out of our mouth and we need it. We need to get out here in front of all of our home fans and show that we can play better football than what we played last week. It’s an opportunity to come out here and show the whole nation – especially these Tampa Bay guys –that we’re better than that.”
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