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October 4, 2013 @ 2:32 pm
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/1 Votes

Help On The Way As Crabtree Eyes A Week 6 Return

Written by Gil
Arcia
Gil Arcia

Gil
Arcia

Beat Writer E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Tight end Tom Crabtree has been battling an ankle injury and has been unable to play yet this season. However, the 27-year old Columbus, OH native has been working close with the Bucs training staff and says he is close to playing his first game as a Buccaneer.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 0-4 for many reasons. On paper the Bucs have arguably the best team in the NFL. But what do the best teams in the NFL have that the Buccaneers do not? A tight end worth throwing the ball to.

Not taking anything away from Nate Byham, Luke Stocker, nor Tim Wright, but neither have stood out as go to guys for the Buccaneers to start this season. A wide-open missed opportunity in the end zone, missed blocking assignments, and bad route running have all been mentioned in the same sentence with Tampa Bay’s tight ends. Collectively, the Bucs tight ends have caught nine passes for 85 yards, and of the three both Byham and Stocker have been placed on injured reserve. The team ranks 30th in tight end receptions – the 29 ahead of them are individual players.

However, help may soon be around the corner.

Tampa Bay brought in tight end Tom Crabtree this past offseason from the Green Bay Packers to help at the position. Fighting a high ankle sprain suffered during the final preseason game against the Washington Redskins, his return draws closer.

“There’s no need to – we have to be smart about it – no need to push it (his ankle injury),” Crabtree said. “But at the same time I want to be out there and be involved as much I can to be ready.”

Just last week, Crabtree was potentially getting closer to coming back. Head coach Greg Schiano informed the media he was limited in practice last Thursday then Friday stated that the 27-year old tight end suffered a setback hence forcing him to miss the fourth straight week. Crabtree talked about that setback.

“You know, I was trying to get back out there for the game last week,” Crabtree said. “Went out there on Wednesday, tried to move around and felt good for a little bit and there’s one instance where – I don’t know if you’d say I tweaked it or a setback, whatever you (want to) call it – the ankle wouldn’t go.

“That’s kind of the frustrating thing. I’m kind of learning as I go. I feel like I’m ready one day and then go out there and try to move, it’s frustrating.”

On average, a high ankle sprain sidelines a player anywhere from four to six weeks. Since coming down with the injury during the final preseason game, the timetable for return puts him right at the back end of the timetable which is Week 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Crabtree stated the Eagles game is the one he is hoping for to step back out on to the field. 

“Yeah, I think virtually that’s kind of where my sights are set,” Crabtree said. “Talking to (head trainer) Todd (Toriscelli) and the trainers I think it’s a realistic goal. Hopefully, be smart about it this week and get back out there.

There is a fine line because in this league you are going to play with pain and injuries and such but I have to kind of gauge whether there’s a fine line of playing with some pain or playing hurt to where you’re not really helping the team you’re actually hurting the team. If I go out there at 70 percent, it’s not helping anybody. But I understand there is a need at the position now. It seems like that need is increasing every week (with) unfortunately someone going down. I think Eagles week is a realistic goal.”

Crabtree worked primarily with the first team during training camp due to Stocker being held out because of injury. It was then where he was receiving passes from quarterback Josh Freeman. But it will now be Mike Glennon who he will receive passes from – like when the two connected for a 61-yard catch and run in Week 1 of the preseason. Crabtree says Glennon has what it takes to be a leader.

“One thing (in Week 4), he looked good in there as far as just his command of the offense and the huddle,” Crabtree said. “He was fearless and that was a really good sign. We expect that from Mike and he showed that.”

The return of Crabtree will be a welcomed sight for the Buccaneers. An already depleted position due to injuries only has Tim Wright as the lone healthy Buccaneer on the 53-man roster. His versatility in the run and passing games should prove to be an asset for Tampa Bay. 
Last modified on Saturday, 05 October 2013 11:11
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COMMENTS

  • avatar

    Good article, but really best team in NFL on paper? Not a team led by Manning or Brady, but a team led by rookie QB and a clueless coach? AnyTE that is mediocre might help at this point since all of ours stink. If we can't beat the Eagles at home after this extra time to prepare.....Just can't believe after all my excitement this season was over before it started. Shiano needs to go. Curious to see Glennon. Haven't made my mind up about him yet. Love to see defense finish top 10. Would be something positive to end this horrible season on.
  • avatar


    I hope he works out, but I don't much care who is on the field in any particular position right now. It is time for the Bucs to get a win period. Beat the cheese steaks! Go Bucs!
  • avatar


    Owlykat: The Eagles game is at Ray Jay not Philadelphia. Hey, at least you didn't mention the reverend.
  • avatar

    Right on Roland...I mean c'mon, EVERYBODY knows we want to run the ball....EVERYBODY knows who Doug Martin is...so on 1st down when there's 8 men in the box looking for you to run, why not play action pass??? HELLO!!!???
  • avatar

    Also, hopefully the Bucs did plenty of statistical review for the first Bye week and we will now see far less running on 1st down (We must have about a 1 ypc average on 1st down). ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------And we should see far more of 17 (Page) and 32 (Demps) lining up in the slot and not 2 horrid TE's on the field. As Florida fans already know Demps can really put pressure on a Defense. We should exploit that and find ways to get 17 and 32 touches on the perimeter and underneath after VJax and/or Williams force the Safeties deep. Freeman couldn't read man coverage quick enough to make drag routes work but my guess is Glennon can get the ball out of his hand before 17 or 32 crosses his face, thereby giving 17/32 the chance to run at the other DBs/Safeties... Well, I can dream of it anyway :-)
  • avatar

    Buc4life79 I guess I'd have to agree with you that there is someone (or 2 or 3) players on the 53 man roster that don't have the upside of Zach Sudfeld. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------To me though, Noble is the same type of player as Sudfeld; Potentially both starters, but they will never be anything better then average blockers (at best Sudfeld slightly higher of a ceiling then Noble (11 bench press reps for Sudfeld at his pro day), and both look to be poor on STs. Wright seems to have a little more competitiveness in his blocking and STs play when I watch him. Also, TE in the NFL is a lot about "want to". The punishment those guys playing TE and STs take week after week is amazing. I would imagine the psych test matters to potential success for the TE position far greater then most others. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also, Wright and Noble both had faster get off. Sudfeld's first step was poor. Maybe Dominik is finally catching on to that after signing Williams to an extension and then adding Kevin Ogletree this past offseason... But I doubt it. The last thing we need is another player out running routes who has no chance of getting open on shorter routes.
  • avatar

    Zach Sudfeld...rookie out of NE, was number 3 in the league in receiving for rookie TE's..caught a total of 8 passes for 101 yrds..almost 13 yrds a catch..1 TD, 3 catches of 20 yrds +, 5 of his catches for first downs I believe, like 6'5 273 pounds and one unfortunate fumble...to say that he has been a non-factor is true to the extent that hardly anyone was able to catch Brady's passes until they met us in week 3, take into account him being a third string rookie I think, and the 15% playing time makes even more sense...but NE only cut him because they had to, loved his athleticism and potential ( he didn't earn the nickname "baby gronk" up there during the pre-season for nothing ) and tried to get him on the practice squad but c'mon, who didn't see Rex trying to take advantage of a NE offensive player that he could get up to date extra info from?? Bottom line, I liked what Sudfeld had to say in the pre-season more than what I saw from Wright...but to say that Wright has more potential than Sudfeld based off of production is a long shot at best...Since we're having to bank on TE's "potentials" past Crabtree, we should have brought Sudfeld in to help explore his potential along with Wright.
  • avatar

    I agree the wise PR MC about Sudfeld. His blocking, like Wright's is subpar. But Wright has a chance to get better. I think Wright has a 50/50 shot to develop into a real NFL TE. The kind we should have drafted with the Stocker picks (what a waste using 2 picks to get him).
  • avatar

    Like I said on the message boards, if Tom Brady cant get the ball to him in a pass happy offense that features the tight end, why does anyone think this guy would thrive in Sullivan's offense here with a rookie QB –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Sudfeld's stat line: In the first four weeks of the season, Sudfeld only played in three games and didn't record an offensive stat. He played only 15 percent of the team's offensive snaps this season and was a non-factor on New England's special teams. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– No question Tampa needs TE help but to think Sudfeld is an upgrade over Wright is 50/50 at best
  • avatar

    while I am glad that Crabtree can get back to playing games, I am VERY DISAPPOINTED that Dominik did not pick up Zach Sudfeld from NE when they released him...Crabtree and Sudfeld together would have made viable and legitimate options at TE....instead Dominik lets the Jets grab him..brilliant move Dom!!! Now if Crabtree re-injures his ankle, we're back to no TE's.
  • avatar


    I really would enjoy it if the Bucs could whip Philly. I remember well how often they dashed our playoff hopes in the Dungy era and I still have the bad memory of last years' defeat by them when we should have won. Add to that since their head coach rebuffed our attempts to hire him last year too, they need a Buc whipping. If some of our players are secretly disgusted with Schiano and that has affected their play, hoping they can get rid of him, they should be able to set that aside this week, and focus down on Philly. Philly has a weak defense and even Glennon should have a chance to shine early in the Philly game. Now if Schiano sits on the lead in the second half and runs Doogie in the ground the second half, with Leonard and Demps just sitting on the bench, and then our DC gives this game away with his insane prevent defense one more time, I hope the Glazers fire them both on the spot and leave them at the stadium in Philly. We have a winning team right now who are beaten down by the worst coaching in the NFL! We have some interim coach material right now already with the Bucs who can turn it around if just given the opportunity.
  • avatar


    Finally some good news. Go Bucs!
  • avatar


    With Crabtree back we have a good chance to win that game. I watched the tape of first 3 quarters of the last game (I didn't need to see Q4 I remember that one) and Mike looked great for game one of his real NFL life. I for one am tired of all the B .S. of locker rooom trouble and coach friction, we all know who started the news media blitz, P.R. It's time to get behind the team and offer support. Maybe we can convince them they can be winners. If it doesn't happen sometime after several games, after Mike has had a real chance to start clicking, fel free to bash. GO BUCS!
  • avatar

    I hope Crabtree's return helps but I am skeptical. Did Glennon rely on his tight end at NC State last year? I don't recall how much the Bucs relied on Dallas Clark last year as his numbers were pedestrian (47 catches for 435 yards). He was the 109th player in NFL for yards and he was 4th on the Bucs and that was DALLAS CLARK, a proven player. Vince Jackson needs to prove he is worth his enormous salary. Maybe fight for a ball or two(at the end of the game when leading 10-3).
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