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September 19, 2011 @ 1:29 pm
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Parker Making The Most Of His Chances

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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Totaling nearly 200 yards of production Sunday, Buccaneers' wide receiver Preston Parker helped Tampa Bay erase a 17-0 halftime deficient as the Buccaneers were able to rally for a 24-20 come-from-behind victory.

Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris has instilled the “next man up” motto on his young Tampa Bay team since the day the Glazer family handed him the keys to One Buccaneer Place. Sunday afternoon Preston Parker heeded his boss’s advice and became the next “youngry” Buc to make his mark, totaling 195 all-purpose yards between receiving, kickoff and punt returns.

With the Buccaneers down 17-0 at the half and potentially facing a 0-2 start, quarterback Josh Freeman rallied his teammates with the help of LeGarrette Blount, a rejuvenated defense and the little used second-year receiver from North Alabama.

Morris talked about Parker and his contributions to the Buccaneers victory.

“I think that was a situation of next man up,” Morris said. “Preston came in there and converted three third-downs for us. [He] made a huge play on the 51-yarder. Running away from people [and] being excited. He was great on the sideline. He didn’t look like a guy that was out there for the first time -- great in the return game. [He] racked probably about 200 yards of offense for us. He was explosive. He was dynamic and he was able to win on one-on-one coverage and Josh (Freeman) was able to find him. That was a result of Preston Parker finding a way to win.”

Parker commented Monday on his 51-yard catch and run in the third quarter that led to a Tampa Bay field goal and narrowed the Vikings' lead to 17-10.

“It felt like a dream, really,” Parker said. “I probably could have ran a little faster but I was like running and dreaming at the same time.”

The second-year receiver commented on the command Freeman showed in the huddle while leading Tampa Bay to the 24-20 come-from-behind victory.

“It's a whole 'nother Josh (Freeman),” Parker said. “I remember one time when we were in the huddle he kind of pushed me. He just takes control and everybody listens to him kind of like a god in the huddle. [He] calls the play and we go out there and just work for him.”

As an undrafted free agent from a small school, Parker’s road to the NFL hasn’t been easy. After being kicked off the Florida State Football team in 2009 it would have been easy to give up on his dream of playing professionally one day. Parker ended up at North Alabama for his senior season, where he caught 52 passes for 789 yards and six touchdowns but still faced an uphill climb to reach his goals.

“My whole life I have put in a lot of work,” Parker said. “ A lot of stuff happened that people don’t know about. Seeing it for myself and seeing how things are still unfolding is a great feeling.”

Coming into this season, Parker, who leads the team with 142 receiving yards on 10 receptions, had no guarantees of playing time or even making the roster for that matter. But that didn’t discourage him.

“Everybody worries [about making the roster],” Parker said. “But I didn’t let it affect my ability to go out there and work hard, practice hard and play hard.”

While he hasn’t developed the chemistry with Freeman that receivers like Mike Williams or Kellen Winslow have, Parker is happy right now just be a dependable option for the Buccaneers' star quarterback.

“We're getting used to each other but more him getting used to me, though,” Parker said. “He's already used to Rejus [Benn] and Mike [Williams], so [it's] just having another person out there that can help him in getting more comfortable to go to four or five receivers. I’m just letting him know I am there also.”

With Sammie Stroughter out for a least a few more weeks and Mike Williams drawing double coverage at times, Parker should have the chance to showcase his abilities in upcoming game situations.

Last modified on Monday, 19 September 2011 15:15

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  • avatar

    I like this kid and really love Briscoe.
  • avatar

    Parker played well but I don't understand why we don't play Briscoe more. The announcers said that everyone on the team believes that K2 and Briscoe have the best hands on the team. He has played better than Benn. I understand that we want our second rounder to play so why don't we play Briscoe in the slot? Just because the Patriots have success with a smaller wr in the slot doesn't mean that we have to try to copy them. Colston plays the slot for the Saints. Boldin usually plays there also.
  • avatar

    listen everyone needs to calm down before we think he is the second coming of another Percy Harvin I have seen this so many times when a receiver has one great game then disappears the rest of the season so lets give him more time.
  • avatar

    Come on now, much more of that and we will have to refer to you as jongrumpy!
  • avatar

    I have to admit, I was thinking Parker might be on the practice squad after some of the performances by wide outs like Gant in the pre-season. He showed me something at Minnesota. Hope he continues that kind of play. We could have 4 very dangerous receivers with Parker, Williams, Benn and Briscoe. Throw in K2 and Free should have a field day if we get the running game going. I don't think Williams is having a sophomore slump. I just think he's getting doubled more this year. That will change if these other receivers step up and continue to get open. If we can show other teams that Mike Williams is not our only threat as a WR then they will have to pay him less attention and that's when I think you'll see him get the ball more. Give it time.
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    Really like Parker as the returner too. Spurlock certainly has a couple of big game changing returns to his name, but Parker seems more aggressive and consistent. Loved seeing the Bucs' go 4 wide on Sunday.
  • avatar

    Mike Williams has TWO games under his belt, he has one TD and another TD that was called back (not his fault ) and we say he's having a sophmore slump?
  • avatar

    Williams made that great grab in the end zone that was called back. That would've given him 2 T.D.'s on the season. I'm not worried about him. I want all our receivers to make plays,and they did this week.
  • avatar

    Parker looked like the dynamic receiver that Williams was last year! He was able to get open at will, and then had those impressive yards after the catch. I don't know what is wrong with Williams this year, but hopefully he'll pull out of his sophmore slump and emulate the example that Parker set yesterday. However, even Benn looked very rusty in the first half but pulled out ot it.
  • avatar

    Williams is fine just getting a lot of attention now. When other teams figure out we have a full stable of great wrs then he will get open more easily.
  • avatar

    Kid is a stud, hope he keeps up the hard work.
  • avatar

    Couldnt agree more. Much like Percy on the other side..Parker has that wiggle and agility to turn a drag route,etc into a big play. We've needed that guy in the slot for years; Ike Hilliard or Stroughter do not have the agility and quicks like Parker imo. He was supposed to be Percy-lite at FSU and got into some trouble but glad he showed up. With Briscoe at #4 ur talking about a deep WR core that has big play ability. Big ups to the scouting/player development and the whole staff for their work with this kid.
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