TAMPA, FLA (WFLA)- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers put on shoulder pads for the first time at this year’s training camp and, as expected, intensity at practice was raised. Big hits were cheered by fans in attendance. But not all the physical play met the approval of head coach, Dirk Koetter.
During a 7-on7 drill, a pass from quarterback Mike Glennon, to tight end, Brandon Myers, fell incomplete. Safety, Major Wright, already in motion to make contact with Myers, lowered his head, making helmet to helmet contact. Myers was sent to the ground, down only briefly. Had it been a real game, Wright’s decision would have been a costly one.
“That was a cheap shot,” said Koetter. “He would have been ejected. He would have been fined and it was a 15-yard penalty. We don’t need those kinds of hits. Those kinds of hits don’t do us any good because they won’t be good on Sunday.”
Wright was guilty of the same penalty on the very first Sunday, of the 2015 season. A pass from Titans quarterback, Marcus Mariota left running back, Bishop Sankey, defenseless against a charging Wright. The hit, although questionable by rule, resulted in a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty. The first of 13 unnecessary roughness calls on the Bucs, for the season. And while not all the calls were the result of hits to an opponent’s head, each added to a league high 165 penalty flags. 143 of those penalties were accepted by Bucs opponents.
While hits are sometimes debatable, during games, Koetter feels there should never be a vicious hit during a practice.
“I always talk to these guys, ‘We’ve got to take care of each other on the field,” said Koetter. “There’s hitting in live contact and there’s hitting against our teammates.”
Sunday, the Bucs will take one more physical step: full pads and surely more hits.