The Tampa Bay Buccaneers begin OTAs today. They met Monday morning and for the first time, Coach Greg Schiano will get to see his guys up close and persona.
There will be mostly meetings, conditioning and that sort of thing. First mini-camp is in two weeks and that's when they'll get into some more serious work on the practice fields.
So while you fret away over Morris Claiborne or Trent Richardson, let's shift gears on you and give you some important things to contemplate, maybe some of the things that Schiano and his staff will have on their minds this week:
1. The Great Geraldini: Boom or Bust
The single player with the most to prove this season is none other than the Great Geraldini, known to most of us as Gerald McCoy.
This is the season where McCoy simply must prove himself worthy of his position in the draft, worthy of the huge chunk of money that so that this Sooner is a Boomer rather than one giant bust.
To do that, McCoy is going to have to prove that he can play 16 games in one season in the NFL. Everyone talks about how much better the defense is with him in there. Well, it's time for him to put up or shut up. Pretty simple, eh?
What is the Bucs biggest concern?
2. Does Schiano have a "Linebacking for Dummies" manual?
Is Quincy Black really as bad as everyone says he is? His game video says he is worthless and certainly not worth the contract he was given. But that was then and this is now.
Perhaps Schiano has his own "Linebacking for Dummies" book that will change Black into a star and get Mason Foster up to speed. These OTAs might tell us if the Bucs are still in the market for a free-agent addition to the linebacking corps. It's certainly not too late.
3. Are you Joshin' us?
As crucial as this season is for McCoy, it's equally crucial for Josh Freeman. We'll find out in a hurry if Vincent Jackson is the cure for what ails Freeman.
Will Mike Williams be moved into the No. 2 position? What's in store for Arrelious Benn? Was Freeman's 2011 season an aberration? Enquiring minds want to know.
4. Blount put on notice.
If you want to get on Schiano's bad side, fumble the football. Are you listening LeGarrette Blount? You can't like the corps of running backs currently in the house. Blount better improve or be ready to ride the bench.
Where do the Bucs need to improve most?
5. Help me Ronde.
How effective will Ronde Barber be this year? That's a huge question. The Bucs can get by okay with Barber and Eric Wright as the starters.
There's nothing but a cloud over Aqib Talib, who certainly has to realize that there's a new sheriff in town, one that he won't be able to cuss out in public. I would love to see him try that with Schiano.
6. A Grimm reminder.
This is a make or break season for Cody Grimm. He's been on the Gerald McCoy plan, spending more time on IR than on the field. Time to see if he's real or gone. Same with Tanard Jackson.
The peanut gallery was insisting that T-Jax was the answer, but he went down the toilet with the rest of the defense last season. Safety is a major concern, isn't it?
7. How good is this new coaching staff?
The answer is simple—anything is better than what the Bucs had last year. There was no control, inmates ran the asylum, chaos ensued. The 10-game losing streak may have been the ugliest stretch in franchise history. Look for more organizational quality control.
There you have it in a nutshell. Of course there are more questions regarding any 4-12 football team.
But for now, we have actual football practice at One Buccaneer Place, two weeks ahead of the rest of the NFC South as afforded by NFL rules granting that to new coaching staffs.
Here it is, April, and the wheels are turning.
September seems a long way off, or does it?