Just as he was the past two seasons, RB LeGarrette Blount is listed on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp roster as weighing 247 pounds. The difference is, this year's measurement is accurate.
"I think he has definitely taken some weight off of him, because if he was 247 in the program last year, then I think he was a little more than that in reality," Bucs coach Greg Schiano said.
"I think what LeGarrette has done here is, he's gotten himself into better shape. He certainly looks better. And I think he is a better player at the condition he is at right now."
Blount, who is competing to keep his job as the lead ball-carrier, was not available for comment after Thursday's workout, but his weight loss appears to be a result of his strict adherence to a new conditioning program.
Schiano and the training staff talked with Blount during the offseason about his workout regimen and diet, and Blount clearly bought into that program.
"The fact that he did it is promising," said Schiano, who singled out Blount on Thursday for some exceptional play.
"He is hustling his tail off. On the turnover we had the other day, he was the one who chased the guy down and had a strip opportunity, so we are seeing good things. He's doing well."
Down and out
The Bucs continue to have problems keeping defensive linemen, in particular left defensive ends, healthy. LDE Da'Quan Bowers is out indefinitely with a torn Achilles tendon, and LDE Michael Bennett sat out Thursday with an ailment Schiano couldn't define.
"I'm not really sure what it is," Schiano said. "It's kind of a combination of stuff. I don't know if we can categorize it yet. He just didn't feel well."
DT Amobi Okoye didn't feel that well, either. He was limited in workouts for the second straight day, but Schiano said he was mostly being rested to avoid overworking his surgically repaired right knee. The Bucs also limited rookie S Mark Barron, who has a toe injury.
Schiano doesn't believe any of those missing time Thursday will be out long-term.
"It's little things," he said. "Mark got his toe banged up yesterday but I think he'll be fine, and Amobi just needs a couple of days (off) after going on (his knee) for four straight. And with Mike, he's going to be OK. …Hopefully we'll get him back in a couple of days."
Rookie RB Doug Martin's ability to catch the ball is one of the attributes that made him a first-round draft pick. That trait, though, is clearly an acquired one.
"When I started high school I had no hands at all," Martin said. "My teammates used to make fun of me all the time for that, so I started developing my hands when I was in high school and in college, and that was a main priority I had."
Faces of the franchise
For several years, the Bucs have adorned the outside corners of Raymond James Stadium with larger-than-life images of players. Images went up this week of quarterback Josh Freeman with receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, guards Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks, safeties Ronde Barber and Barron and defensive linemen Gerald McCoy and Adrian Clayborn.