As training camp progressed, it was difficult to say that tight end Tim Wright would make the roster. Not because of his play, but because the Bucs already had Luke Stocker and Tom Crabtree as one and two on the projected depth chart with two others to choose from. They ended up selecting their three tight ends in Crabtree, Stocker, and Nate Byham however, they also elected to add a fourth tight end to the 53-man roster and Wright was the fortunate one.
Wright saw several reps during training camp with the first team in certain passing situations while Stocker was sidelined. Although the reps were shared with Byham and Crabtree, he made the most out of each opportunity he got and more so now with injuries at the position. His hard work finally paid off on Sunday and he talked about what got him to that point.
"I think that comes from my preparation,” Wright said. “[Although] I was a fourth-string, fifth-string [tight end] at the beginning of the year, I felt like I prepared as a starter. [With] the injuries that happened, I felt like it was my time to step up. It wasn't too much pressure on me - I took it as I should - and I think I'm getting it done."
Wright finished the game with seven receptions for 91 yards including a 36-yard catch and run to start the third quarter. His size (6-foot-4, 235 pounds) puts him just underneath the average weight of today’s NFL tight ends but that didn’t hurt him on Sunday. He broke his routes perfectly and at times made Philadelphia linebackers slip in their attempts to cover him. His speed is good enough to make the bigger defenders miss in coverage and all that comes from being a wide receiver.
Wright credits Bucs tight ends coach Brian Angelicho for the transition from wide receiver to tight end.
"I think my tight end coach, Coach [Brian] Angelicho - I'm with him in all my meetings every day,” Wright said. “He teaches me the little things. He was at Rutgers as well. I stepped into the tight end position a couple times at Rutgers, but it was just some schematic things. Now, being there full time, he's definitely taught me a lot about the game from that position. I would give all the credit to him."
With the work that Wright has put in, he is getting a better understanding of the position.
"It's definitely starting to click,” Wright said. “Making the switch to tight end, I had to learn a lot of things, the ins-and-outs of the position, learning how the defenders - how the linebackers are going to cover me, how the safeties are going to cover me - because I'm on the inside now. I'm getting a better understanding of how they're playing me, so I can react and I can do different things from that position now.
"I look forward to every Sunday, but, most importantly, I look forward to the week of practice because I feel like you win the game or you win your battles, you win running routes against a defender, during the week in practice. I look forward to those days to perfect my craft and try to work on little things to beat the defender on Sunday."
The Buccaneers have been in need of a tight end. Wright missed some opportunities on the field early on in the season but if he continues improving, Tampa Bay may have found their guy at the position.