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September 27, 2010 @ 2:10 pm
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/1 Votes

Benn's Role Likely To Increase

Written by Wolf
Wolf Heard


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Rookie wide receiver Arrelious Benn caught his first NFL pass on Sunday against Pittsburgh. Is this a sign that he is likely to earn more playing time? What did Benn say about playing the Z position? Find out this and more.
A 38-13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday invoked a lot of questions for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – questions that did not need to be addressed a week earlier when the team was unbeaten. One of those inquiries is will the Buccaneers use rookie wide receiver Arrelious Benn more after the bye week?

Benn, one of two second-round picks by the Bucs in 2010, caught his first NFL pass late in the fourth quarter against the Steelers. Then he caught another one. And he added one more on a ball that was tipped in the air by fullback Earnest Graham. Benn finished with three catches for 33 yards (11.0 avg.) and looked like he was ready to see more playing time in the coming weeks.

“When my name is called I just have to be ready and support those guys and play my role,” said Benn.

Up to this point Benn’s role has not been to make an immediate impact on offense like fellow rookie Mike Williams, but rather him learning the offense and the Z (flanker) position. While it is the same position that he played for three seasons at Illinois, Benn says that there is so much more to learn at the pro level.

“It’s pretty much the same role, but the offense is totally different,” said Benn. “I came from a spread offense. The terminology is totally different here. I know it’s a west coast, pro style offense, but coming from Illinois I only had a handful of things I needed to know.”

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Benn feels like he is more suited for the Z position because of the physicality needed to play in that role. While Williams, the Bucs’ 2010 fourth-round pick, gets more balls thrown his way as the X (split end), Benn and the other flankers have to do some of the thankless tasks that sometimes go unnoticed.

“They ask for a lot as far as blocking and certain routes. I look at it like the 
Z is kind of dirty,” said Benn. “You have to come down and block ends and linebackers. The X has got one-on-one coverage on the outside. He is on an island with not a lot of traffic. The Z is like they guy that has to take them hits across the middle of the field, but that is the type of player I am and Mike (Williams) is an X kind of receiver. That is why we are both here and playing the positions that we are at.”

Right now there is already someone manning Benn’s position in the starting lineup. That guy is second year pro Sammie Stroughter. As a rookie last season Stroughter caught 31 passes for 334 yards and one touchdown working primarily from the slot. Now that he is starting on the outside, Stroughter’s production has taken a nosedive. Through three games, the 2009 seventh-round pick has only six receptions for 49 yards. Benn almost matched those totals on one drive against the Steelers.

“Now with Rejus (Benn) on the come, you have to play him a little bit,” said Morris. “Yesterday we had Preston Parker up and some of those guys that will be able to go in a give Sammie some spells so he can be more effective in the zebra package, which we know he thrives in and makes his most production.”

During his press conference today, head coach Raheem Morris said that he is not thinking of making changes to the starting lineup at this time, but wants to get Benn on the field more to contribute.

“I don’t know if you have to make changes, wholesale changes with some of those guys,” said Morris. “I like my team and where they are and where they are going and I like what we have going on. But would I like to increase Benn’s role? Yes. Yesterday he probably got 13 or so snaps. He can certainly help us some more and give us some more energy because he is young, powerful and dynamic. He made some great catches yesterday and want to see him get out there and little more.”

When Benn has been on the field he has proved to be a weapon. In the Bucs’ final preseason game against the Texans he hauled in three catches for 33 yards and two touchdowns. During the bye week, expect the Bucs’ coaching staff to find more ways to get the ball in Benn’s hands more so he can start to make a splash on offense.
Last modified on Sunday, 03 October 2010 21:01

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  • avatar

    WE will be seeing his # called more and more.Hey a TD so early in his first couple games is more than some present and former picks have even produced in years past.Benn could get some more productive #'s with creative play calling. yes, coach morris needs to address the playbook selections that can spread the offense for movment down the field.....Explore all the possiblities these youngsters are capable of.H.i.F.
  • avatar

    cadillac is a good running back he needs some blocking and every time he gets agood run it gets called back for a penalty he can't get a break i feel bad for him because its a contract year and hes not getting any help. Ithink they waited to long to start freeman and i thought they would do the same thing with benn he is a talent to like freeman and mike williams he needs to be on the field.It's sad to see more steelers fans then bucs fans last week and games getting blacked out i really don't like that being a bucs fan i hope we can get things going here atleast enough to know when i'm watching a home game.
  • avatar

    Are we sure it's the Oline? Blount seemed to run just fine. Need to play Blount and Huggins and see if the run game is still a problem. If it's the Oline, I don't know what it will take. We have been building an Oline forever!!
  • avatar

    As much as I like Stroughter, he is not a starting Z WR, he's a slot specialist. Why Morris is so intent on plugging "his guys" like Kyle Moore, Cadilac, Stroughter,amongst others, into positions they don't deserve is frustrating IMO. Stoval was the best Z reciever, Huggins the best RB, Crowder the best DE, where are these guys? We will suffer thru a ton of big plays on defense as Morris continues to trot Grimm out there to show everyone he's right. Ego is starting to get the better of Morris, IMO.
  • avatar

    The key to getting better production from our veteran offensive line is having the right line coach to motivate them. I don't think we do. They are badly underachieveing right now. Stroughter is best used running back kicks and out of the slot on third downs. Benn needs to be promoted to the number two receiver position. He can take the punishment accross the middle, has great carries after the catch, and can be a great blocker on running plays. I also agree Blount, Benn, and Huggins need to see a lot of action in the Cincy game. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    I like to see Sammy go back to the slot and put Benn at number 2. Sammy isn't a true number 2 better suited for slot going across the middle and making things happen that way.
  • avatar

    Embrace the youth movement. Get Huggins, Blount, & Benn involved.
  • avatar

    Horse is right. It all starts at the line of scrimmage.
  • avatar

    I attended the opening game at Ray Jay. I was pretty high up in the cheap seat section so I could be mistaken, but I could have sworn I saw #17 come out onto the field on several occasions during that game. Did anyone else notice Benn out there? Obviously he didn't record a catch, but if he did play and he contributed to the slow start we had in the 1st half perhaps that's why Morris is reluctant to start him just yet. I really like Benn though and I hope he puts enough on display at practice soon to warrant a starting position at flanker.
  • avatar

    if somehow we go into cincy and win, all bucs fans should give the team a free pass for losing to ptt...we would then be 3-1 coming home for a nfc south showdown with the saints.....if we bounce back and steal a win in cincy we are rolling again.....adam from ny...................................................................................................................................................... ps then if we come home and knock off the saints the media will hype this team as the real deal....i know its a tall order to take both...and frankly i would be happy splitting those 2 games...but if we lose both, we are then in colapse mode.
  • avatar

    The Bucs will be double digit underdogs in their next two games. There was no "collapse mode" on a really bad team in 2009, and there won't be on this much improved team in 2010. These guys don't quit. I consider it to be possible for the Bucs to win either of those games. If they don't, I will take satisfaction in whatever progress I expect to see in individuals and units. The best players on this team have the least experience. They will learn no matter who wins the game. They will be truly competitive in 2011 and dominating in 2012. They're going to win more games this season. Relax and enjoy the progress. This is so much better than the '80s and early '90s.
  • avatar

    Maybe the play calling is impacting the running game. Please check it out. There must be some way to make running room. Play the big guys and get some more of them at every opportunity. Morris, please take over the offensive play calling.
  • avatar

    That's okay with me playing the younger guys like Benn more, but it is not going to make much difference until the OL can get it together in the same game as a running and passing blocking unit. The scary part of all of this is that our OL is a veteran line and there are no rookies on it. Go Bucs! Play Harder! And practice with pads this week!
  • avatar

    Horse, speaking about the Oline, I find it very curious that our highly paid center and touted right guard show no dominance whatsoever, they are the biggest disappointments to me.
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