As the countdown continues towards training camp 2017 and the start of the NFL season, a lot of the groundwork is being laid for the upcoming season which will ultimately determine the success or failure of the Bucs this season.
One of the players that will be switching positions along the offensive line will be Ali Marpet. Ali will be moving to center this season and will still play some guard, but his main position will be center. After practice today coach Koetter praised Marpet and is impressed with the way he is learning the position.
The center position can be one of the hardest positions to learn because of the demands that it puts on you. Not only do you have to listen to the cadence of the QB in a 100 decibel filled stadium, you also have to call the blocking schemes for the offense based on what the defense is showing you. I’m sure there will be some growing pains this season, but all indications are that Marpet is adjusting well to the new position.
On defense, Ryan Smith is moving to corner from safety. Koetter said that Smith is also adjusting well to the new position and will be the third corner this season. Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargraves remain the starters. Koetter and the staff issued a challenge to Hargraves at the end of last season to have more takeaways. Hargraves has been a good student so far as he has had a takeaway in almost every practice.
Other players earning high praise from the coach include Doug Martin, Adam Humphries, and Cameron Brate. Koetter also pointed out that this is a no contact period, so it can be difficult to evaluate players for game type situations.
The Bucs continue to get no respect from the national media including ESPN. They are predicting the Bucs to finish last in the NFC South. I would like to have a little bit of what they are smoking. That is just ignorant. It just goes to show the lack of respect for Jameis Winston and this organization Everyone seems to have the opinion that the Bucs improved the team this off-season. But that will not translate to more wins? Right now, I think the Bucs will finish second in the division behind Atlanta.
Let me remind everyone that the Bucs won nine games last year, and just missed the playoffs. With the weapons the Bucs added for Winston on offense including Desean Jackson, and OJ Howard there is no way this team will regress this season.
Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Bucs.