Reporting day for the debut training camp under rookie coach Greg Schiano proved a memorable one for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As the club's 90 person squad showed up at One Buc Place with hopes of beginning the process of forming the 2012 team, 3 players would be gone before the day had ended. For the 87 left behind, a clear message was sent that it was time to get down to business.
Only 2 years removed from being a heralded 2nd round pick, within hours of arrival the team surprisingly traded defensive tackle Brian Price, while receiver Dezmon Briscoe and defensive back Devin Holland were shown the door as well. After 3 years of a player-friendly approach from former coach Raheem Morris, the tone has definitely changed at One Buc Place. With a lack of results from the old system, the new direction may prove difficult on the players, but is a much-needed breath of fresh air for Bucs' fans.
Receiving only a 7th round draft pick from the Chicago Bears in exchange for Price, the deal was not concerned with getting value in return. Instead, the move was executed to prove a point. When a new leader arrives, the first thing a disciplinarian generally does is make an example out of a "fall guy." In this case, the fiery Schiano turned Brian Price into that person.
Though anyone would be sympathetic to Price's off-season struggles from the death of his sister, the big tackle was haunted by questions throughout his Bucs' career. Not only did he battle a series of injuries that limited his explosiveness, but his worth ethic and conditioning were clearly concerns. Even the soft-handed Raheem Morris took issue with Price, who was benched for a poorly timed personal foul and sent to the locker room during a game last season.
When Price reportedly punched 1st round draft pick Mark Barron during a team meeting in June, the patience of the franchise was exhausted. Similarly, though Dez Briscoe over-achieved by leading the team with 6 receiving touchdowns in 2011, he burned bridges by missing off-season workouts, despite having time to participate in the television show "Basketball Wives." Tampa Bay makes these moves, even at the risk of regretting the loss of talent. Though the Bucs are counting on replacing Price with free agent signee Amobi Okoye and the receiving corps was bolstered by all-pro Vincent Jackson, both players retain the potential to thrive elsewhere. Yet, Schiano obviously believed the need to set the tone was worth any risk.
With a day of meetings, weigh-ins, and physicals under the players' belts, the first full-squad workout kicks off bright and early at 8:45am on Friday morning, July 27th. Making the day even sweeter, the opener of camp is the first of 9 practices that will be open to the general public throughout the next 3 weeks. Whether heading to One Buc Place or merely excited for the first pre-season game against the Miami Dolphins on August 10th, fans can already appreciate the signs of a new tone with Tampa Bay.
Yahoo! Sports, ChicagoTribune.com, Buccaneers.com, NFL.com, TampaBay.com.
More by Jeff Briscoe from Yahoo! Contributor Network:
Jeff Briscoe is a writer who covers sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. A loyal Tampa Bay Bucs fan, he co-hosts the Florida-based radio show, The Sports Train.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Greg Schiano
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Raheem Morris
- Dezmon Briscoe
- Tampa Bay