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August 6, 2013 @ 12:58 pm
Current rating: 3.00 Stars/1 Votes

Stocker Confident He Can Still Be The Starter At Tight End

Written by Gil
Gil Arcia


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Third-year tight end Luke Stocker is eyeing 2013 as the year he becomes the Bucs starting tight end. If he can stay on the field, that plan can turn into reality.
When he was drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 draft, tight end Luke Stocker was immediately penciled in as the Bucs future at the position. Having to battle through a hip injury throughout 2011 and playing behind veteran Dallas Clark in 2012, Stocker has yet to see a legitimate opportunity to start for the Buccaneers – until now. 

“They are handing it to me in training camp,” Stocker said after practice Tuesday. “'It's yours and you have to take it and run with it.'”

Stocker, who was activated off the Active/PUP list Monday, saw some extended action during Tuesday's practice but still in non-contact situations. Although he is being held back again, Stocker is not having any further health issues. But this time around, Stocker lets it be known that his current injury is not the same as ones he's dealt with in the past.

“I don't feel like mentally I've had a setback at all,” Said Stocker. “Physically, obviously, I've missed a lot of time in training camp. Everyone needs training camp to get in football shape. I've been doing everything I can and protecting my calf at the same time. It's just a matter of getting back into football shape.

“Last year I don't think I missed much time, maybe a game. Rookie year I missed a lot of time. That was a big setback. That was also a big lower body injury. I was on crutches for some time. This is nothing similar to that. It'll be nothing like that. “

Head coach Greg Schiano doesn't appear to be as enthused as Stocker does when talking about the injury and time missed.

“You look up and you’re into the preseason schedule, so you miss that grind, that chunk of time that I think is really a big part of what he needed,” Schiano said when addressing Stocker's situation. “So I don’t know what that’s going to do to his progress, we’re going to have to see. But it’s certainly not the optimal way to go about it, that’s for sure.” 

Tampa Bay has competition in at the tight end position for the former Tennessee Volunteer, which is a group of tight ends that are all hoping for playing time and to make a mark on the team. And Stocker has taken notice to that. 

“It is an interesting group. You don't really have anyone that's really seasoned, that has had a lot of success as an individual,” Stocker said about the tight end group. “Tom Crabtree won a Super Bowl but individually everyone is trying to get to the point where they breakthrough in their career. You see a lot of guys just battling out there and I'm really excited to get back out there.

“Across the board, no matter what position you are, he (head coach Greg Schiano) always preaches competition. Obviously in a position like tight end, like we were talking about, we have nobody that's seasoned. I've played in the league three years but I've never been a true starter, (or) every down tight end. So that's what we're all fighting to be. We're all fighting for that breakthrough in our careers.”

But Stocker has an advantage over the rest. This is his second full year under offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan's offense and he thinks he, as well as the rest of the team, are comfortable with the offense.

“It's not even compared to last year and where we were at, where I was at,” Stocker said. “I think I speak for the whole offense and all the guys that are coming back. It's night and day on how comfortable we are now and the understanding of it.”

Stocker will continue to push forward in his recovery in hopes of get some playing time this preseason heading into the regular season. However, for now, the 25-year old tight end will rely on the Buccaneers training staff as that is all he can do right now as well as remain confident.

“I think it will be great to get in there and get a lot of plays in, the more the better to a certain extent,” Stocker said. “But the trainers have a plan for me and I'm just following the plan.

“I think that I have showed promise. I think that I have showed them I can do things. It's a matter of consistently doing good things and consistently doing the things they need me to do.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 07 August 2013 07:46

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  • avatar

    I think its time to do the talking on the field,If he doesn't he will not be the starter, Maybe TE at No#3 Go Bucs Maybe there a future Jimmy Giles in the future-Go Bucs
  • avatar

    I think Luke is indulging in wishful thinking. First, he got injured trying to pass a the conditioning test. That's a test he knew was coming and had all off-season to prepare for. Second, he has basically missed training camp. Reading all the articles on his development during the off season, it is obvious that Schiano wanted to see a large dose of improvement during camp. Third, he has not shown physical characteristics to be either a standout blocking or catching tightend. He doesn't have the size or strength to be an outstanding blocker and he does not have the fluidity and agility to be an outstanding receiver. I wonder why they are keeping him around. Maybe hoping for a trade.
  • avatar

    guys - and I'll caveat this with "I'm not a massive Stocker fan" - maybe we need to back off Stocker here...he's the best we have right now. I understand that might not be saying much, but none of the other TEs could even block Bowers right now (while seemingly every OT in ear shot of Tampa can). Look, I want the next Jimmy Graham too, but we need someone who can first and foremost block for the Dougernaut...remember that's still plan A on offense...and like it or not, Stocker did catch some balls down the stretch last year too. So, at least until someone else proves through preseason that they can make a block, Stocker is our guy. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    Now that Stocker is well Schiano needs to offer him to New England and see what his Buddy will offer for him. Since we gave away a 1,000 yard rusher to N.E. for only a 7th round draft pick, New England should give us a lot better pick for Stocker, since they like to have a lot of TEs. If you get a 6th pick or better, trade him off. We don't need him. We need to just cut Lewis. He has a poor attitude and no work ethic. I can't see any team in the NFL trading anything for him, and we need his position on the roster to find better talent than him.
  • avatar

    Okay here's my problem with Stocker, aside from the fact we traded that 4th round pick to move up in the 4th round to get him; that's Dominik's fault, not his. My problem is he has never so much as shown flashs that he could be something great on either the college or pro level. I watched him plenty of times at Tennessee and he was completely, totally average. I voiced as much the day we drafted him; check the story archives. Now, he has gotten to the pros and been even less than average. His run blocking is a B-, his route running is a D, I can't grade his hands cause he's so rarely open and his health has been a D-. I believed in McCoy and I believe in Clayborn and Bowers despite them having low health grades because they have shown flashs of excellence at the college and pro level. I don't like Stocker because he hasn't.
  • avatar

    Now write one of these for Myron Lewis! Comedy gold!
  • avatar

    You could take out Stocker's name and insert Lewis and you wouldn't notice LMAO.
  • avatar

    It'd not like we have a lot of talent at TE right now. I would let him heal and see if he is ready by pre season games 3 & 4. If not, then we have a decision to make.
  • avatar

    A talented player that doesn't see the field isn't an ace worth holding onto. When he has seen the field his results have been mediocre. Pass. I like the committee approach Schiano was alluding to with Crabree, Byham and Wright. Byham and Crabtree are the 1-2 punch on 2 TE sets or goal line situations. Wright is your situational 3rd down and 2 minute offense slot guy. Stocker needs to have a sensational pre season to stick.
  • avatar

    Haha what a loser.
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