The Buccaneers put on the pads and got back to playing tackle football on Sunday, and RT Jeremy Trueblood said the change left him feeling like a kid again. Or maybe it was the scolding he and his teammates got from coach Greg Schiano during the workout that made him feel that way.
On several occasions, but most notably at the end of an 11-on-11 series during which several penalties were called against the offense and RB Mossis Madu fumbled, Schiano gathered his team and let the players know in no uncertain terms he was not happy with their level of play.
"It was sloppy,'' Schiano said of the Bucs' first full-pad workout of training camp. "But I think every time you add a different variable to the equation, you're going to get a little bit of that until you get used to it. So certainly there is a ton of stuff that we need to work on.''
Ball security is at the top of that list. Though Schiano said the Bucs have done a good job of avoiding would be-turnovers, he was disappointed with Madu's fumble because he believes mistakes like that can be avoided if players follow proper procedures.
"In the passing game, you have to stick it in windows that maybe aren't very big, so there are going to be some interceptions,'' he said. "It's when you're carrying the football that there is no reason for that ball to come out — ever. If we are going to get turnovers, let them be on interceptions where the risk/reward is really great.''
Schiano wasn't happy with the discipline displayed by his offensive line. There were procedure penalties and a few missed assignments, said Schiano, who remains confident the issues will be corrected.
"As we get into this thing and we start to hit our stride, we have to be able to clean up our football and play smart football,'' he said. "That's still a little bit down the road for us, I think, before we start really looking like that. But it will come."
A name to know
Jacob Cutrera played eight games for the Bucs last year and though he is not a household name, he is starting to make a name for himself with the coaching staff.
A linebacker and special teams contributor in his second year out of LSU, Cutrera was one of the Bucs' better performers during the offseason workout program and he's continued to impress during the early days of camp.
"Not a whole lot of people have heard a lot about him, but so far with what we've seen in OTAs and the first couple of days out here, we are very impressed with him,'' Bucs linebackers coach Bob Fraser said.
"He's a guy who's only been around a couple of years, but he's a smart player, he's got great athletic ability and he's got great physical statistics. And we are liking what we're seeing.''
What the Bucs are seeing is a lot of versatility. The 6-foot-3, 238-pound Cutrera can play any of the linebacker positions, and he has yet to look out of place in the new attack-oriented scheme.
"Wherever they need me to play, I'm that kind of guy,'' said Cutrera, whose 2011 season was cut short by a concussion that landed him on injured reserve following Week 13. "I feel like I have a great opportunity here.''
So far, he's making the most of it.
For whom the bell tolls
Schiano has a history of leaning on one running back more than others. He refers to that back as his "bell cow,'' and he believes rookie Doug Martin has the size necessary to fill the role.
"I think what allows him to have a chance is that he is a stout guy,'' Schiano said. "If he was 5-9, 185, I'd say no. But he's not. He's close to 220 pounds and he's pretty rocked up.''