Observations on the Buccaneers

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers opened up Monday’s OTA session to the media, so let’s get to some observations.

  • Guard Davin Joseph did not participate, but was at the session. Joseph said he’s recovering from a surgery to a “lower extremity."

  • Running back Derrick Ward and tight end Kellen Winslow were not around. Coach Raheem Morris said he expects both of them to be participating soon.

  • Left tackle Donald Penn didn’t participate in the “voluntary’’ session. Make no mistake on this one. Penn’s looking for a long-term contract. This one’s a tough call. Penn’s turned into a solid left tackle. But, on the flip side, he’s far from dominant and the Bucs don’t want to pay him huge money. But I think Penn has something of the upper hand in this one. It’s not like the Bucs have anyone else to protect Josh Freeman's blind side. And, as we keep saying, Freeman is the franchise in Tampa.

  • Speaking of Freeman being the franchise, those two new toys the Bucs drafted for him looked pretty good this morning. I saw receiver Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn each make some catches. Freeman said he’s going to the hotel where the rookies are staying tonight to go over the practice schedule for tomorrow.

  • I don’t think this quite goes to the level of Deonte Thompson saying he was glad to have a “real quarterback’’ after Tim Tebow left the University of Florida. But I thought Williams had a pretty good line when asked about playing with Freeman. “It’s like great, playing with a big, tall quarterback." Syracuse’s Greg Paulus was a point guard before he was a quarterback.

  • Freeman looked sharp most of the practice, but cornerback Aqib Talib did have one very nice interception.

  • I understand the Bucs are going with youth, but I’m wondering if they still might be looking out for a veteran quarterback to back up Freeman. I think Josh Johnson has some upside. But Jevan Snead and Rudy Carpenter are the only other quarterbacks on the roster. If anything happens to Freeman, the Bucs will be in big trouble.

  • Just got a great anecdote from Kelli Masters, one of the agents for first-round pick Gerald McCoy. She and McCoy flew in from Oklahoma on Sunday night. Their first stop was Raymond James Stadium, where McCoy got his first look at the 80-foot picture of himself. “I literally saw Gerald’s jaw drop and he was just stunned,'' Masters said.