Before a thunderclap interrupted Monday's practice at club headquarters, Tampa Bay Buccaneers alumni came away impressed with the team's progress under first-year coach Greg Schiano.
G Greg Roberts and LB David Lewis, teammates on the 1979 Buccaneers team that reached the NFC title game, joined Mark Royals, Kevin House, Mark Robinson, Horace Copeland, Jeff Carlson, Cecil Johnson, Randy Grimes, Richard Wood and Mark Cotney for Alumni Day at training camp.
"I see a lot of structure out here,'' Lewis said, "and I like the tempo at practice. Every coach is different, but this camp reminds me of when we were working with coach (John) McKay.
"I like structure because it brings discipline. And when you have veterans like Ronde Barber, Vincent Jackson and Carl Nicks buying in, everyone else goes along with the plan. Coach Schiano's message to these players is very clear — I love you and I'll help you, but don't try to (fool) me or you'll be gone.''
Roberts praised Tampa Bay's offensive line, featuring three Pro Bowlers in LT Donald Penn and guards Nicks and Davin Joseph.
"This line can get the job done,'' Roberts said. "Overall, the Bucs are going in the right direction. They spent some money in the offseason and it seems like these guys are together. I see a lot of camaraderie out here, and that's important.''
Schiano was disappointed he didn't get an opportunity to mingle with Bucs alumni after practice, which was stopped 20 minutes early after reports of lightning in the area.
"When the lightning alarm went off, I guess they split,'' Schiano said. "I came out after I talked to the team and (the alumni) were gone. So much for that reunion.''
Cody Grimm hadn't been on an NFL field for more than 10 months before suiting up against the Dolphins.
The third-year safety made his first game appearance since wrecking his knee against Atlanta in Week 3 last season.
"It took me a second to get used to the speed once again,'' said Grimm, who started against the Dolphins as the Bucs opened in a nickel package. "After a few plays, everything felt like it was back to normal. The best thing was my knee felt great.''
After starting 12 games in his first two seasons, Grimm is backing up first-round pick Mark Barron (toe), who was held out of Friday's matchup as a precaution.
"It was a solid game for us all around,'' Grimm said. "That was a good starting block.''
Work to do
Unhappy with sloppy play during the first 11-on-11 period of Monday's workout, Schiano derided his team several times, gathered the players together once and forced them to restart the period twice.
"Two fumbles and a holding penalty — start the period over,'' Schiano shouted the first time he stopped the session. "There's one way here … we're not going to compromise.''
The players must not have gotten the message, because a couple of minutes later, after another hold and a false-start penalty, Schiano blew the whistle again and gathered the team.
After receiving another harshly delivered message, the players went back to work, but it wasn't long before a Doug Martin fumble riled Schiano to the point he threw the first-team offense and defense off the field.
Several key regulars returned to the field as the Bucs prepare for Friday night's home preseason game against Tennessee.
TE Dallas Clark, CB Aqib Talib (hamstring) and Barron participated, but second-year TE Luke Stocker left the field early with trainer Todd Toriscelli. Stocker did not return and Schiano was unsure why he left.
Penn, who has been out since the start of camp with a strained calf, could return soon.
"When he's ready to go, we'll get him in — we won't do it before,'' Schiano said. "If it was a regular-season game week, he might have a chance to play Sunday.''