FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots
• Another position that suddenly has a glut of talent is tight end where the Bucs have two young star players in Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard, who was last year’s No. 1 pick. Brate and Howard operated well together in Dirk Koetter’s two-tight end offense, each catching a team-high six touchdowns.
Antony Auclair, an undrafted free agent from Canada, made the team last year as a blocking tight end, but offers more in the way of receiving ability and yardage production than Luke Stocker did. The Bucs usually keep four or five tight ends depending on special teams, and that’s an area where Alan Cross has succeeded over the past two seasons. Cross is an H-back/fullback hybrid type player that does everything right from a coach’s standpoint.
But there are some new talented tight ends that were added after the draft as free agents that have the team excited, too. The Bucs signed 6-foot-5, 250-pound Jason Reese from Missouri, 6-foot-5, 239-pound Tanner Hudson from Southern Arkansas and 6-foot-3, 241-pound Donnie Ernsberger from Western Michigan. Ernsberger got a $15,000 signing bonus, while Reese received a $3,500 signing bonus.
“I think a couple of the tight ends – Reese and Hudson,” Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken said. “They’ve looked good. It’s hard to say because I’ve done this for so many years and I’m the King of Overreaction – good or bad. We’re in shorts.”
Brate and Howard are obvious locks to make the team, and barring an unforeseen injury or upset, so is Auclair. Cross is in the driver’s seat to make the team again as the fourth tight end, but even he came out of nowhere to unseat former seventh-round pick Danny Vitale for a roster spot two years. Keep an eye on the three rookie tight ends during training camp and see if any of them can elevate their game to the point where Cross’ roster spot is in jeopardy.
• The weekend is here and it’s a great time to get caught up on the latest Pewter Nation Podcasts. I have conveniently linked the last couple of podcasts here to make it easy for you to listen and get caught up on all of our insight and analysis from the OTAs this offseason. Get ready to be informed and entertained by Mark Cook, Trevor Sikkema and myself with close to three hours of Bucs analysis and insight.
We taped our most recent Pewter Nation Podcast on Thursday, May 31 following the most latest Bucs OTA practice. Click here to listen to Episode 76: Worried About Winston?
The previous Pewter Nation Podcast came out last Thursday following the first two OTAs where Sikkema and I reviewed all the action and discussed the things that stood out the most. You can click here to listen to Episode 75: All About OTAs.
The PewterReport.com staff had a chance to interview all of the Bucs assistant coaches during the media sessions two weeks ago and you can get our insight on those interviews right here. You can click here to listen to Episode 74: A Long Way To The Top
The popularity of the Pewter Nation Podcast continues to grow. In addition to listening to the Pewter Nation Podcasts on PewterReport.com you can also subscribe to the free podcasts at PodBean by clicking here and on SoundCloud by clicking here. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode.
• The Bucs passed on free agent running back C.J. Anderson earlier this year and saw him go to Carolina. Does the team have any interest in free agent Adrian Peterson, who torched Tampa Bay for 134 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries (5.2 avg.) in a 38-33 win over Tampa Bay last year?
The Bucs weren’t interested when he was a free agent last year before signing with New Orleans before being traded to Arizona, and they aren’t interested now, after he rushed for 529 yards and two touchdowns on 156 carries (3.4 avg.). Peterson, who turned 33 in March has been slowed down by knee injuries in his career and the Bucs are satisfied with the one-two punch that Peyton Barber and rookie Ronald Jones II can bring to the team this season.
• Do you want up-to-the-minute news and observations from next week’s Bucs OTAs, which are open to the media? Make sure you become one of the 29,400 Twitter followers of @PewterReport. If you want updates from Bucs press conferences, Bucs OTAs this offseason and new PewterReport.com story notifications be sure to follow us on Twitter and help us grow to 30,000. To follow @PewterReport on Twitter please click here, and to follow us on Facebook please click here.
• Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin was excited to make the game-winning touchdown catch to beat the New Orleans Saints in the 2017 season finale, but doesn’t want to dwell on a play that happened last year.
“It’s being conscious of the pass, but not harping on it,” Godwin said. “That was a great play for me in my career thus far, but that’s not the only play I’m trying to make. I look back on that as an accomplishment, but I’m trying to take it day by day and keep improving so that I can make more catches like that.”
Godwin is having a great spring thus far and is working on increasing his yards after catch ability. Godwin produced the Bucs’ longest play of the year, a 70-yard catch-and-run at Carolina on Christmas Eve.
“One thing I want to improve on is my play speed,” Godwin said. “I want to keep playing fast and getting more comfortable so that as I’m getting in and out of my routes I’m creating more separation and help my team as much as I can.”
Godwin is putting himself in position to become a starter alongside Mike Evans, who already considers the second-year player ready to start.
“Honestly, it means a lot coming from a guy like Mike, who has had as much success as he’s had in a short period of time,” Godwin said. “He’s a top 5 receiver in this league and for him to have that respect for me is awesome. You want that kind of respect from your peers.”
• And finally, if you live in the Tampa Bay area or the state of Florida – which hasn’t been living up to its moniker as “The Sunshine State” lately – you’ve experienced the torrential downpours this week on the heels of Tropical Storm Alberto, which affected the state last weekend. While Florida has officially entered the rainy season, you know that it’s only a mater of time before the winds pick up and a hurricane blows into the state this summer.
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