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Bucs sluggish in first practice against Jacksonville Jaguars

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Playing against a different team was supposed to make the Tampa Bay Bucs energized Wednesday.

It had the opposite effect.

The Bucs were sluggish, according to head coach Dirk Koetter, in their first practice against the Jacksonville Jags. The teams practice against each other again today before playing in Saturday night’s exhibition game.

“I thought offensively, we were a little bit sluggish,” Koetter said. “But maybe that’s due to Jacksonville playing good on defense. I’ll know when I watch the tape. I just didn’t think we had much juice today on offense. It happens.”

Koetter wouldn’t guess as to a reason.

“Well, anything I say on that would be like we’re making excuses,” Koetter said. “The bottom line is, I just didn’t think we were as crisp on offense as we have been in our own practices. But, again, it’s a different environment, so it was a good experience for us.”

It was in Jacksonville, in 2007, that Koetter first met coach Mike Smith.

“We had quite a year that year in 2007,” Koetter said. “I was in the press box with Mike that year, and I saw the best defensive coordinator that I’d seen. Now, it was my first year in the NFL, so all I had seen was college guys. But I saw a defensive coordinator who was a great teacher and an extremely hard worker and always had his guys ready to play.”

Koetter said the goals for the Bucs’ defense to get better are easy.

“We’ve got to create more turnovers,” he said. “We’ve got to get off the field on third down, and we’ve got to cut our penalties.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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