Bucs TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins continues to impress of late – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Austin Seferian-Jenkins catching passes instead of flak. That’s a trend the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and its fan base can definitely get with.
The team’s athletic 6-foot-5, 262-pound downfield target continued his positive play Saturday night in Jacksonville and picked up a little praise for his head coach Sunday afternoon.
Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“We’re going to even out those reps with the first group with Cam [Brate] and Austin,” Dirk Koetter said during his press conference at One Buc Place. “I mean, Austin’s worked his way right back in there and when he got moved down the depth chart all you can ask a player when he gets moved down is that he competes and does better and tries to get back up there and he’s done that.”
Seferian-Jenkins finished with a team-high three receptions for 36 yards, successfully hauling in all three targets that came his way. All three catches – 12, 6 and 18 yards – came while working with backup quarterback Mike Glennon.
Similar to the first-team offense as a whole, Brate struggled during his time on the field. He failed to convert any of his three targets, including dropping two catchable balls from quarterback Jameis Winston. The first of those two drops resulted in a tipped interception and the second a missed touchdown opportunity.
Seferian-Jenkins spoke with the Tampa Bay media during a 45-minute open locker room session Monday and said he’s learned to appreciate Koetter’s methods and grow from it.
“It’s a cool thing to have Coach Koetter here to not just teach us about football but teach us about life and expectations and being able to follow through when you’re told to do something. And then listening and understanding a message, not always [having] a rebuttal or talking back,” said Seferian-Jenkins, who conceded that he came to camp a little ‘rusty’ this year.
“I’ve been working hard and like Coach Koetter says, if you are put down on the depth chart all you can ask from players, not just myself but the whole entire room, is to get better. That’s to perfect your craft, get detail oriented and do what the coaches ask you to do. Nothing’s changed on my end. I’m working hard, I’m doing what I’m supposed to do and it just happens that it’s showing up.”
The competition is far from over and Koetter said plenty of evaluation is ongoing among the tight ends in camp. As far as who can best impact passing attack, though, it’s still Seferian-Jenkins and Brate and everyone else.
“[Austin’s] not perfect by any means and Cam’s had a fantastic camp – he did not have a great night catching the ball last night – but we’re going to need both those guys,” Koetter said. “We ran a lot of three tight end sets last night and Luke Stocker and Brandon Myers and Danny Vitale are also doing some good things out there, but Austin and Cam are the two guys that can bring some verticality to your pass game.
“The catch in the second half that Austin made, there’s just not a whole lot of guys that can make that play. He’s earned a chance to get back and work more with the first group so we should give it to him.”
It can be argued that reliability is how Brate’s rocketed himself up the Bucs’ depth chart since last season – both by catching the ball and simply being available and healthy enough to play. Both players give Winston big targets to hit but Seferian-Jenkins still possesses an edge in all-around athleticism.
Since drafting him in the second round in 2014, the team has believed Seferian-Jenkins’ size and skill set could translate into becoming one of the top pass-catching tight ends in the NFL. Now it’s time for him to realize those expectations.
Despite any outside narratives describing the competition as combative, Seferian-Jenkins said that’s not the way it is. It’s all about each tight end getting better to help the offense succeed.
“I know the media puts it as it’s him versus him, but it’s really not,” he said. “It’s really about the tight end room getting better. Obviously you guys have to do that, you have to make a story, but I think it’s more about the group of tight ends. It’s not about the individuals. It’s not about me, it’s not about him, it’s about us.
“I’m really excited to just keep working. Cam’s been doing a phenomenal job; the whole tight end room’s been doing a phenomenal job. Nothing changes in our room. Everyone’s trying to get better. There’s competition but there really isn’t. There’s a mutual respect that we’re all trying to get to a higher place as a team.”
Good for him. I sure hope it continues. Go Bucs!
Seems the demotion was just the kick in the behind ASJ needed! Brate had a bad game but given his production last year, I feel we have 2 viable options as receiving TEs. Stocker is our blocking TE but may be a luxury player since we have extra OL we can use in running formations.
I’m expecting a great offensive year
Now that remark from ASJ sounded a lot more grown and with a bit of sound perspective about the TE’s.
I would definitely say ASJ needed a kick in the butt if he came into training camp admitting he was a bit rusty after he was already disciplined once during OTA’s.
Get a clue guy. Koetter doesn’t look like he’s going to put up with a lot of foolishness.
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