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September 2, 2012 @ 11:49 am
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/1 Votes

Benn Ready To Bounce Back For Bucs

Written by Dory
Dory LeBlanc


Beat Writer E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
After being sidelined with a knee injury suffered in a collision with EJ Biggers on the first day of training camp, WR Arrelious Benn feels like he is in shape and ready to play in the opener against Carolina.
In the Bucs locker room, head coach Greg Schiano installed a digital clock counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds to the season opener against Carolina. The Panthers logo hammers the message home: Time is the enemy. That’s what discipline-driven Schiano has said since he arrived in Tampa Bay, and the statement might not be truer than for Arrelious Benn.

Benn, the third-year receiver selected early in the second round of the 2010 draft, has missed some time due to injuries since he suited up in a Buccaneers uniform. Benn was placed on injured reserve as a rookie after he tore a ligament in his left knee against Seattle late in the season and sat out one game in 2011 with a concussion.

On the first day of training camp, Benn injured his right knee in a collision with cornerback EJ Biggers that has sidelined Benn and Biggers for the entire preseason. Benn was on the field in practiced Saturday and says he is ready to contribute, hopefully starting with the season opener against Carolina next Sunday.

“I definitely expect to play," Benn said, "it’s just a matter of me getting out there and getting back into it and doing things and everything else falls in place.”

Benn has kept up with the playbook, something very important considering Mike Sullivan’s new offensive system and new key additions to the offense, including wideout Vincent Jackson and tight end Dallas Clark.

“One thing I did was stay in it mentally." Benn said. "I felt as though I knew the playbook like I’m one of the coaches now. I was staying in it, all the little things. That’s all I could have done when I was out [injured] there, just get the mental reps.”

Those mental reps, coupled with the low-round draft selection, could be one of the reasons Benn was given a pass on his injury and made the 53-man roster while other players were not as fortunate. The other factor that could have kept Benn as a Buc over other receivers is that he worked to keep himself in shape the past month.

“I think I did a pretty good job with cardiovascular things and JB’s (Jay Butler) a great strength coach and he’s got me to where I need to be," Benn said, "Getting more acclimated with my legs, being as though I didn’t go through camp, so I feel as though I’m there.

“I came back in shape and felt confident with what I was doing. I was healthy for the first time and that happened [the collision with Biggers] but it’s all about how you come back from adversity so I’m not worried about anything else. Whatever people say, they’re going to say. I’m going to come out here and do my job.”

The Bucs receiving corps was loaded with talent through the preseason, so talented that the biggest preseason producer, Tiquan Underwood, was one of the players waived Friday before the roster deadline. Underwood would have most likely been the Bucs’ biggest downfield threat, and while his release was baffling to some, the Tampa Bay coaching staff felt comfortable letting Underwood go and keeping Benn, a flanker. Benn feels that designating receivers to certain positions on the field is not necessary.

“You look at the type of talent we have at the receiver position – how big we are, the speed and strength – it’s great." Benn said. "[We're] Not worried about who’s where, everybody knows everything so we’re all going to go out there and play. It’s a team effort out there everything else don’t matter…we’re going to be alright.”

Listed at 6-2, 220 pounds and clocked at 4.36 at Illinois’ 2010 pro day, Benn has a huge upside with his combination of size, strength and speed. Benn has also performed well for the Bucs, recording 55 receptions for 836 yards (15.2 ypc average) and five touchdowns in 29 games. But despite the upside and the productivity in past seasons, the fact remains that Benn has missed a lot of time getting reps on the field in the new system.

Benn kept his eye on the giant countdown clock in the locker room while healing his knee.

“It got hard because I’d come in here every morning and look at the clock and like, I’m sore one day…it takes time, and that’s all I need.” Benn said.

Right now, both Benn and the Bucs have to hope that time will not be Benn’s enemy any longer and he indeed can play against Carolina, or as the roster stands, the Bucs will be forced to have only four receivers available for the divisional matchup. 
Last modified on Sunday, 02 September 2012 14:23

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  • avatar

    aGAIN-iF uNDERWOOD WAS SUCH A DOWNHILL THREAT WHY DIDN'T KEEP BOTH.i say this preston parker is the one that should have been cut.HE HAS HAD HIS CHANCES LAST SEVERAL YEARS. GO BUCS.
  • avatar

    Sapp benches less than you too Pound. Why don't you challenge him next time you see him. I'm sure he'll accommodate you. It's football not Festivis.
  • avatar

    Cut bait on this guy. Breakout year? Really? GMC benches less than I do and AB can't stay healthy to save his career. 5 wins will be a miracle.
  • avatar

    Does anyone know or has anyone heard whether the Bucs signed Sean Baker to the practice squad?? The kid is a turnover machine and has consistently proven so throughout his career.
  • avatar

    Pinkstob, I hope you're right. I think everyone you mentioned are safe bets, with the exception of McCoy and Bowers. McCoy because he has never shown anything, and Bowers because I don't believe we will see him before next year. There will be new stars this year. Jackson, Martin, Barron, David. Lots to look forward to. My prediction is 7 -9. But everything will have to go right. The biggest improvement will be in Morale. This will be a disciplined Team. There may be some talent holes here and there, but something tells me this will be a team that doesn't have as many penalties, off sides, overthrows, and players drifting off into the problem areas we have seen in the past. ( drug tests, off field incedents, etc)
  • avatar

    seat26, you make very good points and I am hoping it happens. I do think that Bowers might slide in towards the last 2-4 games just to get some game experience.
  • avatar

    I like Benn. Always have. I'm looking forward to this season. So many players that I think will finally break through. McCoy, Freeman, Benn, Talib and maybe even Bowers later this season. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    Can't wait for him to bounce back to 30 receptions and 3 TDs!!!
  • avatar

    The only question I have is can he stay healthy? Most of us know that he can play the game.
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