A few things to watch as the Bucs begin organized team activities

TAMPA — On the heels of their rookie minicamp, the Bucs are embarking on Phase 3 of their offseason program with the start of organized team activities.

Starting Tuesday, the team will hold 10 such training sessions through June 3, during which seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills are allowed, but not live contact.

A mandatory three-day minicamp follows shortly thereafter (June 7-9). So what can fans expect to glean over the next 2.5 weeks? In terms of depth card movement or final roster determinations, probably very little. But some players – and positions – are worth watching. Here are some of the elements we will observe during the three sessions (Tuesday, May 25 and June 1) open to journalists:

A big serving of Trask

Expect second-year Bucs quarterback Kyle Trask to get plenty of reps at the team-organized team activities that will take place over the next 2-1/2 weeks. [ ARIELLE BADER | Times ]

While we’ve recently heard conflicting reports on whether sophomore draft Kyle Trask has a bona fide chance at quarterback in 2022, one thing seems certain: He’ll get liberal repeats at the during these 10 sessions.

After moderate preseason action last August (29 of 55, 312 yards, one TD, two INTs), Trask barely fell behind center during regular gameweek build-up, limiting his development mostly film study, class work and observation in the field.

“These (organized team activities), we have free reps that we can watch, and it will happen,” quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen said last week. “It’s going to happen, it’s on our radar as it should be. It must be done.

An overview of Gage

New Bucs receiver Russell Gage had 66 catches for the Falcons last season, including 50 in the last eight games.
New Bucs receiver Russell Gage had 66 catches for the Falcons last season, including 50 in the last eight games. [ KEVIN SABITUS | Associated Press (2021) ]

Organized team activities represent our first look at new receiver Russell Gage equating to the Bucs’ offense. With no timetable for Chris Godwin’s return from knee surgery, the former Falcon – who had 50 receptions in Atlanta’s last eight games of 2021 – could play a starring role at the start of the season. season.

“I enjoy (organized team activities) a lot more, especially for a guy like Russ, where it’s really slowed down and it’s more of a passing pace,” receivers coach Kevin Garver said.

“It’s an opportunity to just break it down for him, slow it down, and he can sort of understand the ins and outs of it from an alignment perspective and an assignment and an execution (point sight) – the nine together.”

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Safety observations

The Bucs bolstered their safety depth this offseason with the addition of veterans Logan Ryan (pictured) and Keanu Neal.
The Bucs bolstered their safety depth this offseason with the addition of veterans Logan Ryan (pictured) and Keanu Neal. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

Assuming both participate, new Bucs safeties Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal will make their field debuts of sorts. Neal, the former Gator and Falcons first-round recruit, projects himself as a solid safety who can fill the void in running support created by Jordan Whitehead’s departure to the Jets. Ryan, who won two Super Bowls in four seasons playing with Tom Brady in New England, can play a similar role as a nickel back but can also play free safety (if Antoine Winfield Jr. gets injured), said safety coach Nick Rapone.

Who lines up at left guard?

Veteran backup guard Aaron Stinnie, who replaced injured starter Alex Cappa in the Bucs' playoffs two years ago, is a strong candidate to replace retired left guard Ali Marpet.
Veteran backup guard Aaron Stinnie, who replaced injured starter Alex Cappa in the Bucs’ playoffs two years ago, is a strong candidate to replace retired left guard Ali Marpet. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Assuming veteran Shaq Mason — acquired from the Patriots via trade in March — replaces Alex Cappa at right guard, the left guard vacancy created by Ali Marpet’s retirement arguably looks like the camp battle of most interesting workout.

Veteran backup Aaron Stinnie, reserve Nick Leverett, 2021 third-round rookie Robert Hainsey and possibly even Seminole High alum Brandon Walton (a 2021 practice squad regular) will register reps. at this post. Of course, the team also drafted Michigan center tackle Luke Goedeke — who projects as an NFL guard — in the second round.

“I think that’s probably going to be for me, for us, one of the really fun positions to watch during camp, development and competition,” offensive line coach Joe Gilbert said.

“That’s the only thing we preached (and) Goodie (run-game coordinator Harold Goodwin) preached in our room – it’s open. That place there, every guy has a chance; Brandon Walton, all these guys. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

A Brady cameo?

Don't expect to see 44-year-old Bucs quarterback Tom Brady at any of the Bucs' team activities.  Brady likely won't appear with the full squad until the mandatory minicamp in early June.
Don’t expect to see 44-year-old Bucs quarterback Tom Brady at any of the Bucs’ team activities. Brady likely won’t appear with the full squad until the mandatory minicamp in early June. [ DOUGLAS CLIFFORD | Times ]

A few days ago, we would have considered Tom Brady a long shot off the board to show up for organized team activities. But that was before photos surfaced on the team’s official website of him committing to Phase 2 of the team’s offseason program.

Now, we’re just not sure, although offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich said last week that “I don’t need to see him, I really don’t need to.”

“I think he’s done enough (organized team activities), really, to be honest with you,” Leftwich added. “And that’s what we’ve been doing, really, ever since he and I got together. We really haven’t had a summer as far as me and him are concerned, but the conversations we have, the mutual understanding we have, it’s all going to be fine whether he participates or not.

Contact Joey Knight at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls

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