Bucs TE Cameron Brate - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Considering the Bucs were without Luke Stocker, unavailable with an ankle injury, and decided to release Austin Seferian-Jenkins after a Friday arrest, the tight end group for Tampa Bay on Sunday was impressive. More specifically, Cameron Brate stepped up and took advantage of his opportunity.
After being targeted just seven times in the first two weeks – catching six passes for 46 yards – the Harvard product saw 10 passes thrown his way against the Rams, catching five for 46 yards and scoring two touchdowns. Perhaps more telling of his role on offense was that half of the targets, including both touchdowns, came in the red zone – his first two of the year.
“We knew this week we had some good looks in the red zone, especially in the tight end room,” Brate said Monday. “We missed on a couple in the red zone too, but to get a couple touchdowns is definitely something we can build on going into the next couple of games.”
Brate, who caught 23 passes for 288 yards in 2015, made a name for himself late last season as a red-zone threat, and his chemistry with Jameis Winston inside the 20-yard line carried over into the offseason. Coach Dirk Koetter reiterated in June that Brate “has got an uncanny ability to show up in the red zone.”
It showed up Sunday as Brate caught both scores inside the 5-yard line off a play-action roll to the right. While Brate said the Seferian-Jenkins situation was unfortunate, it gave way to other tight ends seeing more time and worked out well in Week 3.
“With everything going on in the tight end room, it was a pretty good opportunity for Alan [Cross] and Brandon [Myers] and myself,” a dejected Brate said after the game. “I thought as a group we played really well.
“There’s definitely some stuff we can work on, but as a whole I think we took advantage of the opportunity,” he continued. “Hopefully we can build on this going forward.”
A good place to start is next week, when the Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos come into town. The Bucs know what’s in store against arguably the NFL’s best defense, but as long as the offensive line can keep Winston upright again – he was sacked twice versus Los Angeles – then they should get similar chances in the passing game this Sunday.
“It seems like every week in the NFL is pretty much a must-win,” Brate said. “You’re going to face a good defense every [week], every team has good players. Obviously a big thing for this week is going to be protecting, with a player like [Denver linebacker] Von Miller, he’s pretty tough on the edge. It’s going to be a lot of one-on-one matchups for receivers and the offensive line, so [we’re] just going to have to make the plays when they come our way.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
Way to go Cam. Take advantage of those opportunities.
Jumbo Line is required to help stop the 5-6 pass rushers; this might also be our best package if we insist on running on 1st or 2nd downs. We can’t play conservative in the first quarter. This is a winnable game. We have to score at least 27 points because our Defense can’t stop anybody so far. Go bucs!
Hopefully Stocker is on the mend, and we will have both of them this week.
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