New Bucs wide receiver Russell Gage has been hampered by a minor, unknown injury this offseason. It’s prevented Gage from practicing in the OTAs and the team’s mandatory mini-camp.

Tampa Bay signed the former Falcons receiver to a three-year deal worth $30 million this offseason. He’s expected to replace Antonio Brown as the team’s No. 3 receiver behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who is coming off a torn ACL.

The first time Gage was seen catching passes on the field was in warm-ups with Tom Brady this week prior to the start of the mini-camp practices. The missed practice reps have put Gage behind in his preparation for the 2022. Brady said Thursday that it’s critical for Gage put in the work and be ready for training camp and the start of the regular season.

“[He needs] a lot of work,” Brady said. “He has to have a big year. We signed him to a contract and he has to come in and do a great job. From the time I spent with him, I really enjoyed it. He’s got a great opportunity. That is very important role.

Bucs WR Russell Gage

Bucs WR Russell Gage – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“For an offense that throws the ball as much as we do, we have very favorable passing conditions. You need a lot of good receivers. We have depth at receiver. Obviously, Mike is a great player. Chris is coming off a pretty significant injury. So, Russell has to do a great job, and Scotty [Miller] and B.P. [Breshad Perriman] and Cyril [Grayson], Jaelon [Darden] and Tyler [Johnson] – all those guys that have had experienced and played. They have to do a great job, too. It’s a very competitive room, and Russ, when he’s out there, there’s a lot of work that needs to go into over the next six weeks to be ready.”

Bucs Might Have To Count On Gage Even More If Godwin Isn’t Ready For Week 1

The sense of urgency from Brady stems from the fact that the Bucs were without Godwin, Perriman, Grayson – and, of course, Brown – in the 30-27 playoff loss to the Rams back in January. Throw in the fact that there is no guarantee that Godwin will be ready for the start of the season and it’s clear that Brady is counting on Gage to be ready to star in the 2022 season opener at Dallas.

“We’re challenged right out of the box this year,” Brady said. “We’ve got really good teams. We’ve got to have a great training camp. We know when training camp is – it’s the 23rd of July. We know we’ve got six weeks of training camp, but I feel like it starts – obviously, the season has already started. You’re competing every day out there. You are either getting better or you’re getting worse. You’re not going out there just to break a sweat. You’re going out there to get things done.

“I think this should be, in my opinion, our best opportunity to play our best football because we’ve been together the longest. Why shouldn’t it be? We know each other. We know the scheme. We’ve been through a lot of challenging circumstances in games, and now we have to go out there and execute it as well as we possibly can.”

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 27th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive coordinator/defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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Naplesfan
Naplesfan
23 days ago

A phrase that needs to be wiped from the English language is “There are no guarantees that _____ ” and fill in the blank. Of course there are no guarantees, other than that we’re all going to expire eventually. Or maybe taxes too, as the old saying went. There’s certainly never any guarantees in how any player or group of players or team will perform. It’s tiresome that this gets repeated over and over again. That’s why we have multiple players at every position, and they all have to be a prepared as they possibly can be for training camp… Read more »

Spitfire
Spitfire
Reply to  Naplesfan
23 days ago

People say that because if you don’t, some idiot will chime in “Yeah but nothing is guaranteed” 😂

Spitfire
Spitfire
23 days ago

I’m telling you, Year 3 as well as it being Brady’s possible last season, I don’t care who our opponents are, this Season will be our best and most complete season yet. I can’t say it enough and I can’t wait. I Love hearing Brady say it though.

scubog
scubog
Reply to  Spitfire
22 days ago

I get a sense of the same thing Spitfire. There’s just something about the mentality of this roster that makes me anxious to get 2022 started.

fredster
fredster
23 days ago

Of course he has lot of work to do. Any WR that comes to new team has to learn the playbook and develop chemistry with the team and especially the QB. It would be stupid if he said he’s good to go. Lol. I know there isn’t much to talk about this time of year but geez.

Ringer
Ringer
22 days ago

Sounds like TB thinks Gage is not as dialed in as he needs to be. Like he sees him as thinking showing up to the OTA is enough. Loved how he didn’t beat around the bush and called him out. Real winner and leader right there where it’s SB win or bust and everyone needs to get on board.

Horse
Horse
22 days ago

Parts of what I have seen so far helps me get excited for the up coming season; I think it’s because Brady is in charge still with the younger players as he still is the GOAT. I was surprised of some of the minor injuries that’s still lingering. What I was surprised also about was some of our starters got out of shape quickly. Are injuries going to to cause to cause us issues before we even report for the new Season? Understand Godwin’s and David’s; don’t get some of the others already. Right now, I have no clue as… Read more »