It was a down year for the Buccaneers in a lot of ways — certainly in the record books.

But, according toPro Football Focus, it wasn’t a down year for Bucs tight end Cameron Brate, who was bested only by Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce when it came to first down catches for tight ends (yes, that means he was better than Rob Gronkowski).

Brate has become quarterback Jameis Winston’s Mr. Reliable in crunch time. Whether it’s 3rd and long, 3rd and short, in the red zone or over the middle of the field, Brate is and has been one of the most consistent players on the Buccaneers offense. Stats like the one above are why Brate signed a 6-year, $40.8 million contract with the Buccaneers earlier this offseason.

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Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]

21 COMMENTS

  1. Brate is great.

    There can be no debate.

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    • I can’t wait to cele”brate”.

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  2. The Bucs really need to take advantage of OJ and Cam in the redzone this season!

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    • I wouldn’t worry too much OJ only played in like 5 games last year still made a splash. Provided he stay’s healthy he should pick it right back up.

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      • What? He played in every game. Was on the field for nearly 80 percent of the offensive snaps. The issue was that he was grossly miss-used and under utilized in the passing game despite being THE most explosive and efficient weapon we had last year.

        If Dirk can successful remove his cranium from his rectum, and use his guys properly this offense will be really, really good.

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      • When did I say I was worried about him?? I’m saying that the Bucs need to use both TEs more in the redzone this season.

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  3. Cool story, wish Jameis threw it to him more than he does the other team though…

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    • Jameis throws it to him WAY more than he does the other team. I know he makes some bad decisions, but he is still really young and will figure it out in time. Everyone just needs to be patient.

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    • Completely ridiculous statement firmly rooted in ignorant hyperbole.

      Jameis completed 282 of 442 passes in 2017, 63.8 percent completion rating, 45 of which were caught on 74 targets from Jameis. Jameis only threw 11 picks for all of 2017, several picks of which he threw whilst injured.

      Take your anti-jameis rhetoric elsewhere.

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      • Thank you!!!

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    • Yeah and I’d like a defense that’s not one of the worst I’ve ever seen in my life. I’d like a kicker to actually put 3 points on the board so Jameis doesn’t feel like he has to score a TD on every drive. I’d like a running game that’s not bottom 5 in the league. I’d like the offensive line to protect the QB a lot more. But more than anything, I’d like to have knowledgeable fans that don’t just blame everything on the QB, when the team around him is a pile of dogsh*t. That’s what I’d like

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  4. Cool stat, and I really like Brate so don’t get all mad at me, but how many games did Gronk play in compared to Brate? I think the stat is a little bit skewed. I really wish we would play Hump less and less. I think Jameis would be just fine throwing to Evans, Brate, OJ, Godwin, Jackson and Wilson, not to mention Jones. I think Hump has become expendable and should only be used for injury replacement. He also needs to be replaced in the kicking game too, he doesn’t have enough tackle breaking ability or break-away speed.

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  5. Not a particularly compelling stat given:

    13.5 games for Gronk

    16 games for Brate

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    • Even if he was just behind gronk, 3rd best is still impressive no? I mean come on for an undrafted guy Cam Brate is damn good.

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      • Cam Brate is extremely good for a drafted guy (incredible for undrafted) and getting better. Love him.

        But the statistical comparison was an artifact of game played disparity.

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        • Make no mistake, i clearly understand the argument you’re making. But consider this as well, had Jameis not been absent/injured for 2&3/4th’s-6-3/4ths games. Cam Brates production would have been even better considering the insanely good chemistry the 2 exhibit on a regular basis.

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          • Perhaps, but consider the following:

            a) Brate averaged a bit under a 1st down a game.

            b) The 2/3 of the game that you’re invoking above (the Arizona game) saw Fitzpatrick throw 2 First Downs (of his total 14 on the season) to Brate and a TD to Brate (of his total 6).

            c) In the other two games (Jets and Dolphins):

            * we won (so any inflation to Brate’s numbers wouldn’t have been more or less impactful ultimately)

            * While Brate saw decreased targets on average (3 in both games), he still caught a 1st down in each game (which surpassed his average/game on the season). The ball was spread around a lot (while Mike still saw his disproportionate number of Targets).

            +++++++++++++

            Regardless, extremely good player who is getting better. OJ will eat up more of his targets this year most likely, so lets see that Catch Rate increase back up to the 70 %ish area that it was in 2016. Part of the ~ 8 % Catch Rate drop was due to Brate either not being physical enough and giving up PBU when he shouldn’t and also dropping some key passes (3rd downs and TDs…although he saved JW from a pick via forced throw in coverage twice, with that particularly egregious one early against the Vikings on 3rd & 3 from the Vikes 21). The other part of that was on JW forcing throws to him into coverage.

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  6. Well said Schwifty9 about both Winston and Brate.
    I don’t know why some of these anti-Winston clowns continue to come out here and spout their nonsense.
    Brate was definitely a find as a FA.

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  7. Yo believe me, I want Winston to do well but this getting off to slow starts, turning the ball over and missing deep crap has got to stop.

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    • Well genius, you ever think these slow starts might have something to do with the play calling? It’s the OC’s job to call the right plays to get his QB in a rhythm. And considering Jameis was at the top of the league in air yards per attempt, obviously Koetter doesn’t do a good job calling high percentage shorter passes earlier in the game to get his QB in a rhythm. But yeah, let’s just blame it all on Jameis(who does NOT call the plays) that’s about as common sense as it gets

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  8. Lot’s of excitement for OJ, but I’ll take Brate’s production every day.

    And the reason for the chemistry between him and Jamies is because they WORK at it – extra reps, time after practice, desire to be the best. Not a knock against OJ, just the way it is.

    And would be nice if we got that kind of commitment from D. Jax! Yes, that IS a knock on DJax!

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