The Buccaneers injury situation can be summed up in the words of the late, great nationally syndicated DJ Casey Kasem, “The hits just keep on coming.”
Unfortunately for the Bucs the “hits” aren’t records, they are literal hits. Like to the knees and head.
But for each player that goes down, another one gets an opportunity to show what they can do, and so far this season the Bucs have had more players step up and shine then drop off the charts.
Former Eagles receiver Josh Huff is the next Bucs player who will get an opportunity to prove his worth after the team placed wide receiver Cecil Shorts on injured reserve after a knee injury suffered against the Chargers.
Huff talked to the media during Wednesday’s open locker room session prior to the day’s afternoon practice and said he is eager for the chance.
“Definitely, I haven’t been out there with my team in a month,” Huff said. “I’m excited to get back out there and get things going again.”
A hamstring injury while running scout squad a few weeks ago prevented him from getting a chance earlier.
“Yeah, it was frustrating but at the same time I know everything happens for a reason. I’m here now and excited to get going and get ready for the Saints Sunday.
“I think the injury helped a little bit, as far as more into the play book, learning the ends-and-outs of the offense. I feel pretty comfortable with the offense and the playbook now. I’m just looking to fit in where I can and make plays where I can.”
While speaking to the media on Wednesday from the podium, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston’s eyes lit up as he talked about a dynamic that Huff brings to the offense.
“Josh Huff, man, he’s blazing,” Winston said. “Has a lot of abilities that would definitely add to our repertoire. We’re really excited to have him up and to see what he’s going to do on game day.”
Offensive coordinator Todd Monken talked about Huff and also agreed with Winston’s assessment.
“It looked like a few weeks ago we might have been able to get him up and he had a setback. But we’re excited,” Monken said. “We’re going to find out this week what kind of recall he’s had. When you’re on the practice squad most of the reps you’re getting are with the opposing offense against the defense, so we’re going to find out what kind of recall he’s had. We’re going to have to do a great job of getting him up to speed.
“He’s got some juice. I don’t think we’ve seen yet but we’ll find out this week.”
Joining the team midway through the season isn’t ideal but Winston said he and Huff are working on getting on the same page.
“It’s getting better and better,” Winston said. “Obviously we still have a long way to go, but we have to get that connection and continue to work more and more. But we’re looking forward to taking on that challenge this week.”
Huff said he and Winston have been working on their chemistry.
“Since I’ve been here, in and out everyday with him trying to get the chemistry going and I think we’ve done a great job so far we’ll see come Sunday all the hard work we’ve put in since I’ve been here.”
Bucs top receiver Mike Evans said joining a team late in a season isn’t easy, but believes Huff will still have success.
“It’s hard in that respect, learning a whole new offense,” Evans said. “As far as playing, he can play ball. It’s just football. When he gets out there I think he’ll do just fine.”
Despite his needing learn the playbook quickly, while also dealing with an injury setback, Huff loves what he has seen since joining the Buccaneers.
“It’s been great being here the past couple of weeks and just being around the guys and learning them and learning the coaches staff,” Huff said. “I’m definitely having a blast. Like I’ve said before I’m glad to be here.
“There’s just confidence flowing all around. If you haven’t noticed, guys are flying in and out at practiced, and making plays, playing complementary football. Again, we’re making plays when we need to make plays and we’re feeding off one another.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org