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Second-year Bucs receiver Tyler Johnson has been having a solid training camp so far. He’s made every catch thrown his way while getting open down the field. This included a highlight reel one-handed touchdown catch over the weekend.

But camp didn’t necessarily start out great for him, as he was criticized by head coach Bruce Arians for coming into camp out of shape.

“He came back a little heavy,” Arians said. “And he’s getting back in shape, which is his own fault. We know he can catch the ball. He’s just got to be able to stay healthy and get in real good shape.”

On Tuesday, Arians was asked about the conditioning of his players in training camp. Although he didn’t name Johnson specifically, Arians’ words sounded like they were directed at a few guys like him.

Bucs CBs Antonio Hamilton and WR Tyler Johnson

Bucs CBs Antonio Hamilton and WR Tyler Johnson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“Guys that don’t come in shape, it’s their own fault any more,” Arians said. “I mean they have everything handed to them to be in shape, so if their ‘give a shit meter’ don’t run hot enough it tells you something as a coach.”

Johnson also spoke on Tuesday and agreed with Arians’ comments. It’s on him for not starting the season in the right shape.

“Coach BA is definitely right,” Johnson said. “I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’ve been doing a lot of things just to get back into shape. It was my own fault for not coming in how I wanted to be, but I learned from it. I’ve been doing a lot of things to get back to myself. I’m feeling good, I’m feeling better, my goal is to get one percent better every day. We’re moving in that direction.”

For as good as of a camp that Johnson has been having, the competition at receiver is fierce and there’s little room for error. While Johnson saw some playing time as a rookie last year, catching 12 passes for 169 yards (14.1 avg.) and two touchdowns. The Minnesota product had two catches for 31 yards in the postseason.

With Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown and Scotty Miller locked into the top four spots on the depth chart, that leaves a lot of talented receivers for the fifth and potentially sixth spots. Johnson, Jaelon Darden, Jaydon Mickens, Travis Jonsen, Josh Pearson, T.J. Simmons and more competing for those last spots.

Darden, the team’s fourth-round who is expected to have an important role on the Bucs this year. He’s been a standout early on in training camp as he continues to make play after play. Given Darden’s ability, Johnson’s roster spot is not locked in by any means.

“I like where Jaelon is,” Arians said. “I think Jaelon is making good progress as a young guy. Travis Jonsen is getting open. He’s getting open. He had some drops early in camp. He’s starting to catch those now. He hasn’t played receiver very long, but he’s a big, active guy. Mick (Jaydon Mickens) has good flexibility. (Cyril) Grayson was having a great camp until he tweaked his hamstring. All those guys are very, very capable. They’ve all played for us. You’re going to need six or seven as the year goes on. Hopefully we’ll have those guys on the practice squad potentially and continue to develop them.”

Bucs WR Tyler Johnson

Bucs WR Tyler Johnson – Photo by USA TODAY Sports

Despite the competition, the receivers have all come together to support one another as practice intensifies.

“We’re super excited for one another,” Johnson said. “Every time somebody makes a play, the receivers are one of the first over there to congratulate each other because we know that we got ballers all over the place. Anybody can make a play at any moment, so I’m just happy to be in the same group with these guys.”

Arians will be happy when Johnson is in better shape.

When that happens he’ll be in better shape for making the Bucs’ 53-man roster, too.

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About the Author: Matt Matera

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1 month ago

Jaydon Mickens, Travis Jonsen, Josh Pearson, T.J. Simmons are probably all destined for the practice squad since they would probably garner little attention on the waiver wire. As a fourth round pick who had a decent first year I don’t see Johnson going anywhere. If Brady isn’t hesitant to throw to you, which he wasn’t, that means he has confidence in your abilities which is a major plus.

1 month ago

Its pretty incredible how deep this team is at WR. I mean Scotty and Johnson could be a good 2/3 for most teams. That being said, I dont see Tyler going anywhere. Depth at a position where most of this teams injuries comes from is crucial. These guys will all be familiar with Brady and ready to step in when needed

1 month ago

I think it’s a wake up call more than anything else. With the depth this team now has a player must make use of every rep he gets. I think Johnson is going to be on this years team. But, he will have to continue to hustle and even volunteer for STs if that is what it takes. It’s a lesson learned for him. Besides, if Johnson is cut he will be picked up immediately. One mans trash is another team’s treasure. The competition is fierce. This is a good thing!

1 month ago

Yes. He is a lock to make this roster. BA is just trying to motivate the talented young man.

1 month ago

Johnson has had a decent camp, performed decently in reserve last year, and the guys after him aren’t very impressive. I mean Arians can talk up Cyril “Great Hands” Grayson all he wants, long as Johnson continues to produce he’ll make the team. I do think it was an important wake up call from Arians though.

1 month ago

I like Travis Jonsen. I hope we can keep him around.

1 month ago

I remember the days when Richie McKay couldn’t draft a decent receiver. Few worse than the Gator duo. Now we have an abundance of pass catchers, who are likely destined for the Practice Squad, who would have had a chance to start back then.

After watching two days of practice, all had their stand-out moments. None looked over-matched or out of place. Wouldn’t surprise me to see 6-7 on the 53 man roster and 2-3 more on the Practice Squad. Maybe a WR weak team gives Jason a call.

1 month ago

Tyler Johnson, barring a disastrous camp, is on this team. Tampa Bay certainly would trust him more than the others if somebody got hurt. Bruce Arians is just calling it as he sees it. He has never held back even when it came to Tom Brady. And I like that

Captain Sly
1 month ago

I’m only taking a nibble at this Click Bait to simply point out how ridiculous this question is. The only way Tyler Johnson won’t make this roster is: A) recent video has surfaced showing TJ punching out his girlfriend and dragging her out of an elevator. B) TJ & Jason Licht get into a physical altercation having to be separated by teammates or C) the heat has finally gotten to BA making him “delusional” where he decided to keep three kickers!

1 month ago

Best player wins the last spot; “it’s as simple as that”.

1 month ago

While no receiver outside our top 4 should be considered a “lock” I don’t see any way Johnson doesn’t make the cut. If TB feels confident enough in him to throw him that 3rd down pass in NO, that tells us just about all we need to know.

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