With training camp two weeks old, and the first preseason game against the Miami Dolphins less than one week away, it’s time to look at some players who have made a name for themselves and those who have just been ok.
Todd Bowles was asked what two players have stood out to him during training camp, and he mentioned wide receiver Jaelon Darden and defensive back Logan Ryan.
In talking about Darden, Bowles said, “His approach all offseason has been outstanding. He works hard, keeps his head down, and plays ball.”
Darden was one of five players I talked about in an earlier article that needed to make a good impression in training camp and have an excellent second year after a disappointing rookie season. All good for Darden so far, as we should see a lot of him against Miami in the first preseason game.
Wide receiver Chris Godwin, recovering from a torn ACL and MCL, practiced in pads for the first time this week. Godwin is working hard to be ready for the Buccaneer’s season opener in Dallas, But head coach Todd Boles tempered that enthusiasm a bit.
“It’s good to see him out there,” Bowles said. We’re not getting our hopes up.” Bowles went on to say that Godwin is a long way off from participating in practice at 100 percent.
Another rookie who has caught the attention of coach Bowles, as well as other members of the secondary, is Zyon McCollum, the rookie cornerback from Sam Houston State.
Bowles said that “We’re putting a lot in right now, so obviously, he’s going to have to be learning for the next few weeks. But his athleticism, his speed, and his intelligence are there. It’s just him getting used to the system.”
McCollum surprised everyone with his IQ at the combine this spring. The 6-foot-2 cornerback has a blazing 4.33/40 speed, which is extremely for the cornerback position.
Teammate Carlton Davis says that McCollum has a great future ahead of him with the Buccaneers. “Zyon is a great fit for our defense. He’s learning, but he came in really advanced, even from the college he came from. He’s a rookie working his way up, and he’s going to have a bright future.”
Jamel Dean said, “He came in strong and is having a great camp right now. So, I’m just looking forward to see what he can do in the season.”
A player that has been just so-so in camp is quarterback Kyle Trask.
With Tom Brady missing a few practice sessions this week to tend to a personal matter, Trask was given the opportunity to run the offense and did not overwhelm anyone.
Most telling was the two back-to-back end zone interceptions thrown during a red zone drill. Trask also had another interception dropped by free agent linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi.
Bowles says that Trask is on point and is pleased with the second-year players’ progress. “He is doing everything he’s supposed to be doing. He’s confident in where he’s going, and he understands things. We’re putting him in a lot of situations where he’s getting some experience, and that’s all we can ask for right now.”
Trask will see a lot of playing time against the Dolphins next Saturday, as the Bucs have already announced that Tom Brady will not play in the preseason opener.