TAMPA, Fla. — While lacking some star power, the first organized team activity of the Todd Bowles era featured a hearty ensemble nonetheless.
More than 70 players on the current 90-man roster attended Tuesday’s workout (staged in helmets and shorts) at AdventHealth Training Center, the first of 10 organized team activities before the three-day mandatory minicamp starting June 7. The veteran participants included 2021 Pro Bowlers Vita Vea, Ryan Jensen, Antoine Winfield Jr. and Tristan Wirfs.
“Impressive,” Bowles said.
Perhaps the only under-represented groups: the offensive skill players and linebackers. After throwing to teammates recently during Phase 2 of the team’s voluntary offseason program, Tom Brady didn’t appear Tuesday. Nor did tailback Leonard Fournette, receiver Mike Evans, left tackle Donovan Smith, cornerback Carlton Davis III or linebackers Lavonte David, Devin White or Shaquil Barrett.
“Again, it’s voluntary,” Bowles said. “I know where each and every one of them are, and a lot of them have good reasons not to be (in attendance), so we’ll go from there and coach the guys that are here.”
Bowles reiterated he remains in frequent contact with Brady, but offered the quip of the day when asked how regularly the two communicate.
“I don’t think that needs to be public knowledge, how much me and my girlfriend date,” he said. “But we talk, and we’re on the same page. We’re in lockstep. We’re in lockstep with (offensive coordinator) Byron (Leftwich) and (quarterbacks coach) Clyde (Christensen), so everything’s good.”
Dee Delaney a Day 1 star
Cornerback Dee Delaney, a surprise survivor of final roster cuts last season, ended Tuesday’s workout with two big plays in 11-on-11 work.
Delaney deflected a Kyle Trask throw that rookie free agent linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi intercepted, and later picked off a Blaine Gabbert pass intended for tight end Codey McElroy.
Veteran cornerback Jamel Dean later tipped another Gabbert pass that Mike Edwards intercepted.
“(Delaney) stood out today, he had a great day,” Winfield said. “And he’s a heck of a player. He always stands out, every time I watch him play, every time he’s out there practicing and everything.”
As expected, Trask — entering his second NFL season — got a liberal amount of reps Tuesday, sharing snaps with Gabbert in 11-on-11 work while veteran backup Ryan Griffin observed in a ball cap.
“I thought Kyle did a great job today,” tight end Cameron Brate said.
“Obviously it’s tough, he’s working with a whole new group of receivers, kind of different groups of offensive linemen. So getting all those guys on the same page, that’s huge for the quarterback, and I thought Kyle did an awesome job with that today.”
More joint workouts slated
Bowles confirmed the Bucs, already slated for joint preseason workouts with the Titans in Nashville this August, also will host the Dolphins for similar sessions.
Tampa Bay hosts the Dolphins on Aug. 13 before traveling to Nashville. The exact date of the preseason contest against the Titans hasn’t been determined.
“I really like (the joint sessions),” Bowles said.
“It breaks up camp. Obviously with one less preseason game right now, you need to get all the work in that you can get in. We’ve got two very good teams coming in here on both sides of the ball, so it gives us a lot of good work.”
“Gronk didn’t stop dancing for like, four hours. ... That might have been his only workout of the offseason, but he got it in that night.” — Brate on fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski, an invited guest at Brate’s recent wedding.
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This story was originally published May 17, 2022 4:39 PM.