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Bucs hold first joint practice with Dolphins ahead of preseason game on Saturday

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Posted at 3:13 PM, Aug 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-10 18:14:27-04

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held their first joint practice with the Miami Dolphins Wednesday morning.

For coaches, joint practice is almost as valuable as preseason games for roster evaluation.

For players, it’s a welcome break from lining up against the same teammates again and again.

“Going up against our offense every day, we look good,” Bucs’ defensive back Carlton Davis said. “You can never really measure yourself too much because you are going against the same guys every day. It gets repetitive. Going against new competition being able to still perform, have that chemistry, really shows you how far you guys are with the chemistry and getting into our season form.”

There were plenty of one-on-one drills between the wide receivers and defensive backs. With Bucs’ receiver Mike Evans out with a hamstring injury, Julio Jones was making plays against Dolphins’ top cornerback Xavien Howard.

Second-year receiver Jaelon Darden made an impressive move to burn past Noah Igbinoghene for a touchdown.

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For Bucs’ running back Leonard Fournette, it was Jones that stood out the most to him.

“Julio, definitely,” Fournette said. “You see a guy, his stature, how big and how fast he runs, and how he gets open, and why you see where he’s at in the league. I see it every day up front, and he is one of those guys.”

The Bucs’ defense has the task of slowing down those speedy Miami receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

Davis remembers facing Hill, then with the Kansas City Chiefs, during the 2020 season. Hill torched Tampa Bay for three touchdowns in Week 12. But the Bucs beat Hill and the Chiefs later that season in Super Bowl LV.

“It was a pivotal moment in the season both times for us,” Davis said. “Going up against him today was a good flashback. It was fun to get out there and just face him. Let’s do it again.”

The Bucs and Dolphins will do it again with a joint practice on Thursday.

They’ll move across the street to Raymond James Stadium for the first preseason game on Saturday.