“I thought the works good, but we looked a little tired going in, especially on both sides of the ball in the secondary and the receivers,” Bowles told the media on Wednesday. “We gotta get some rest, and we gotta come out here and practice freshly tomorrow.”
Bowles’ predecessor, Bruce Arians, delivered much stronger statements when the Bucs didn’t perform well in practice or in games — win or lose. Oftentimes, Arians included a few NSFW words in his statements though players respected his approach, including Bucs quarterback Tom Brady.
“Hopefully, we’re all very receptive to it because that’s what being a player is and that’s what being a great teammate is,” Brady said on the “Let’s Go!” podcast in November 2021.
A different leadership style by Bowles comes as no surprise for the Bucs. He said he wouldn’t try to be Arians up taking the job, and longtime players such as linebacker Lavonte David affirmed Bowles’ unique approach to leading players.
“Coach Bowles is a great dude,” David told reporters in April. “He’s a team-first guy, he’s a player-first guy. Just got to get an opportunity for the offense, throughout this process, for guys on the offense to learn and get to know him. I’m sure there’s going to be great things.”
The Bucs flew into Nashville on Tuesday, August 16, after a practice at Bucs headquarters earlier in the day. Tampa Bay has two joint practices with the Tennessee Titans before a preseason game on Saturday, August 20.
In Wednesday’s joint practice, Bucs receivers were making grabs early on in one on ones against the Titans, but the Bucs offensive line had trouble with the Titans’ run defense in scrimmaging per Pewter Report. Bucs quarterback Kyle Trask threw an interception into double coverage, and the Bucs defense gave up “multiple big plays” by the Titans, Pewter Report tweeted.
Bowles said his team “looked tired” and “I thought we had too many [mental errors]” following practice on Wednesday.
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Just Chippy Between Bucs and Titans
Last time the Bucs and Titans met for joint practices in 2021, a fight broke out. Things got heated in the trenches on Wednesday between the Bucs offensive line and Titans defensive line according to Greg Auman of The Athletic.
It didn’t escalate to last year’s level, however. Both teams huddled together before scrimmaging to address keeping things cool, per Auman.
“I thought the competition was good today,” Bowles said. “It’s going to get a little close here and there. It can’t be totally clean. We’re trying to do the right things on both sides, and I thought we did a good job.”
Bucs Avoid Injury
Second-year linebacker K.J. Britt “came off the field with trainers” per Auman, but the former Auburn star returned shortly after to the field. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times first reported that Britt had “an apparent ark or shoulder injury” but later confirmed it “may have been a cramp” after Britt returned.
Injuries emerged early in training camp on July 28 with Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen‘s knee injury followed by cramping with linemen Tristan Wirfs and Robert Hainsey. The Bucs also lost players in the preseason opener against Miami with linebackers Grant Stuard and Cam Gill going down.
Bucs receivers Mike Evans and Russell Gage, who sustained injuries at previous practices, sat out Wednesday’s practice, and running back Giovani Bernard sat out, too, amid his injury from the Miami game per Auman.