5 Things We've Learned so Far from Tampa Bay Buccaneers OTAs
The extra time together has pushed storylines to the surface quicker than most teams around the NFL, but organized team activities (OTAs) have still helped answer more questions.
Answers to depth-chart questions and reactions to Schiano's new methods make up the majority of the information being pushed from Tampa, but there's all kinds of good stuff to know.
Here are five things we've learned thus far from Buccaneers OTAs.
Greg Schiano Likes Things Done His Way
Vin Diesel's Navy SEAL-turned-babysitter character Shane Wolf in the movie The Pacifier had a catch phrase "It's my way, no highway option." This is a perfect example of how new head coach Greg Schiano runs things in Tampa Bay.
Schiano cut safety Tanard Jackson in April for not rehabbing with the team as much as he should have and then five weeks later informed tight end Kellen Winslow the team was moving in a different direction, partly because Schiano didn't like his absence from the team facility.
Those are just two examples of the control Schiano has over the Buccaneers roster.
He also, according to Peter King, has a few idiosyncrasies of his own. While at Rutgers, Schiano was adamant about the exact temperature of team meeting rooms while on the road, and recently he took away an indoor, temperature-control once-a-week practice in lieu of working in the Florida heat to gain an advantage over visiting teams.
The picture being painted here isn't of an unruly tyrant, but of a coach trying to take back control of a franchise that had its wheels fall off last year under Raheem Morris.
Schiano's team-first and follow-the-rules mentality has been warmly received by the players who ran roughshod over Morris last season, and lost 10 games in a row while doing so.
Vincent Jackson Brings More Than Skills to Tampa
Not only did Vincent Jackson bring a resume filled with three 1,000-yard receiving seasons pasted firmly on the front, adding Jackson to the Tampa Bay roster gives quarterback Josh Freeman a legit No. 1 target to aim for and a veteran know-how that a young group of receivers is greatly benefiting from.
Jackson being at No. 1 and Mike Williams moving to No. 2 on the depth chart could be exactly what this offense needs. Possibly more important is the seven seasons of work experience that Jackson brings to the table.
The players are still learning from the new coaching staff in Tampa, but Williams told The Tampa Tribune that Jackson is their go-to guy now.
"We still get advice from each other, too, but it's mostly coming from him now," Williams said. "He's been showing us a lot of what he's seen throughout his long career and his 1,000-yard seasons and his Pro Bowl seasons.''
The Ronde Barber-to-Safety Move Seems to Be Taking Hold
Most 16-year NFL veterans would have laughed if asked to switch positions late in their career. Ronde Barber couldn't have been more agreeable.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers asked the cornerback Barber to move to safety during offseason workouts to see if he could still produce. His coverage skills have taken a step back of late, but his leadership is needed on the field and Barber can still tackle on the inside.
Barber has played most of the first-team snaps at free safety in OTAs and the team seems comfortable with the move.
When the team has moved to its nickel package, Barber moves to the nickel position and assumes cover duties.
Lavonte David Must Work His Way onto First Team
When Lavonte David was taken in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft, most felt the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded up to grab a first-round talent with great skills against the run, considerable coverage skills and a legitimate threat to notch 100 tackles from the weakside linebacker position.
The Bucs aren't going to give David the job outright, however. He's going to have to earn it.
David has spent much of his time during OTAs working with the second-team defense. This is likely a move to get David acclimated to the Tampa Bay scheme and ramp him up slowly, not any indication of how the Buccaneers feel about his worth.
Cornerback Questions Are Still Abound
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did a lot of reworking of the secondary during the daft and thus far in offseason workouts. The team drafted safety Mark Barron and corner Keith Tandy, asked Ronde Barber to move to safety, and still must consider legal issues with corner Aqib Talib.
How Tampa Bay will deal with the reshuffling in the secondary is still anyone's guess, but early indications in OTAs have E.J. Biggers working at right cornerback with the first team and Eric Wright working as No. 2 in that spot.
Wright was brought in from Detroit in March and many expect him to start. It's possible, with Talib's legal concerns, that both Wright and Biggers could start. Only time will tell as the season approaches.