FC Tom Edrington reports from day two of Buccaneer training camp.
8:00 a.m.: The good news today is that there's a nice cloud cover over One Buccaneer Place, it won't be as oppressively hot as it was yesterday.
8:15 a.m.: The buzz in the air is about the bad news from yesterday's opening day, when we saw Arrelious Benn suffer what appeared to be a leg injury. We find out today that he suffered an MCL sprain to his right knee. Fortunately, it was Benn's left knee that was surgically repaired last season. On the same play, corner E.J. Biggers suffered a broken foot and some staffers have confirmed to us that both could be out 4-6 weeks. Biggers was the favorite for the nickel position.
8:30 a.m.: Great crowd assembling. They're headed for the west side stands to get a close look at the offense. Reminds of of the old saying that "offense sells tickets."
8:44 a.m.: Horn sounds a tad early, it's on. And like yesterday, the early part of camp is all about fundamentals. Sure it's boring for the fans to take in, but it is fundamentals that this team lacked last year and it is strong fundamentals that will pay off when the regular season begins.
9:30 a.m.: They're breaking up into individual position groups for more drills. More fundamentals.
9:39 a.m.: Looking at new running back Michael Smith, he's built more powerfully than you might think. I like the look of this guy. With his speed and power, he's a player to watch.
10:00 a.m.: It's obvious who the most animated assistant is on Greg Schiano's staff. It's wide receivers coach P.J. Fleck. They guy's flying around out there. He's definitely high energy. He's even wearing cleats.
10:15 a.m.: I'm still amazed at the size of wide receiver Vincent Jackson. He catches everything. Maybe he can be the Bucs answer to "Megatron." He looks like a tight end but moves like the wind.
10:30 a.m.: I'm watching third-year defensive end E.J. Wilson. I've heard Schiano really likes this guy. He's 6'3", 290 out of North Carolina, which means this one has Butch Davis' fingerprints on him. They're working him at left defensive end with Michael Bennett, the position that Da'Quan Bowers was expected to tie down.
10:45 a.m.: Keeping an eye on Amobi Okoye. Looks like he may be the favorite to take over Brian Price's old position on the defensive line.
11:00 a.m.: There's a lot of noise from the stands. The offense is going seven-on-seven with the defense and Jackson just made a huge catch. He went high over Aqib Talib. Jackson's been putting on a clinic and schooling Talib, but don't panic. It looks like Jackson could beat any corner in the league if he plays like this when they put the pads on. V-Jax is definitely the star of the first two days.
11:05 a.m.: Mason Foster picks off Josh Freeman. Foster is looking pretty comfortable in the middle. Najee Goode is also getting some nice reps in the middle and broke up a pass.
11:06 a.m.: Uh oh! Mike Williams just went down and he's grabbing his left hamstring. He's getting up and going to the sideline. It looks like it may have been a cramp.
11:15 a.m.: The horn blows, and it's over. The players are doing some post-practice stretching. More smiles. No one threw up today.
Aftermath observations: Doug Martin continues to look great. The guy has a lot of "hustle." No doubt he's impressing the staff, but I think it's important to ditch the "battle" talk between Martin and LeGarrette Blount. Blount looks pretty good, he's catching the football with ease and he looks ready to play if the season started next Sunday. They will use BOTH of these backs. Simple common sense tells us that two good backs are better than one.
Talk about attention to detail: they had the quarterbacks practicing the art of recovering a bad snap from center when they're in the shotgun formation.
Tiquan Underwood looked great for the second-straight day. He showed up in shape and the heat didn't bother him yesterday. Today looked easy for him.
Keep an eye on wide receiver Ed Gant. He looks good and he's big: 6'2", 200.
Dallas Clark didn't look so hot today. He had a couple of drops and one pass went off his hands and Ronde Barber made the pick. Good old Ronde, always in the right place.
Two days done and I've had enough of this "underwear" football. It's time to get the pads on and see who can play football. That should happen tomorrow.
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