Since Bucs coach Dirk Koetter on Monday ended the big mystery of No. 3 wide receiver by declaring Adam Humphries the starter, there’s been nothing but positive reactions from his fellow offensive teammates.
After Jameis Winston said he wasn’t surprised by the announcement, adding “I definitely trust that guy with all my heart,” Mike Evans also heaped praise on the second-year wideout after practice. The underlying message: No one works harder than Humphries.
“He brings a lot,” Evans said. “He’s versatile, he can play inside and out, he’s tough, he goes hard every play. He was the third receiver last year, you guys saw him. He made plays, sure-handed guy, and he knows how to get open.
“We call him “First-Down Hump” because he made a lot of first downs last year. It’s very difficult inside. On the outside looking in, you don’t know how much work he puts in, but he puts a lot of work in to run those difficult routes.”
In 13 starts in 2015 the then-undrafted rookie out of Clemson, who fought his way onto the practice squad and then the 53-man roster against steep odds, caught 27 passes for 260 yards and a touchdown. To Evans’ point, 18 of Humphries’ 27 receptions gave the Bucs a new set of downs.
The 5-foot-10, 195-pound pro was the heavy favorite to win the slot receiver role prior to training camp. Five days in, though, and it’s official.
Moving forward, that leaves two or three wide receiver positions open in Tampa Bay and there’s plenty of competition for the final couple spots. Kenny Bell, the Bucs fifth-round pick in 2015, has turned in an impressive offseason to this point, as has Russell Shepard, who Koetter on Friday said “can’t be (worn) out,” despite his tendency to try to write him off as just a special teams ace.
Then there’s Bernard Reedy and Freddie Martino, third-year receivers with ties to Koetter from their days on the Falcons practice squad, and Evan Spencer and Jonathan Krause, both of whom had arguably the most impressive catches during Monday’s practice.
“Evan Spencer back-to-back great catches – those are great catches – and then another great catch by Jonathan Krause,” Koetter said Monday. “Jonathan Krause, this guy has been with two teams – with New England and Philly – Jason (Licht) and his scouts, they knew about this guy and when he popped up on the waiver-wire we had a spot for a wideout. I like what we’re seeing from this kid.” Koetter added that Krause has been getting work as a kick returner – the likely route for whoever earns the final spot.
In the end, the competition will bring out the best in the wide receiving corps vying for a place behind Vincent Jackson, Evans and Humphries. Take it from one of the contestants himself, Bernard Reedy, who spoke to PewterReport.com on Monday.
“One thing I can say is everybody helps out each other in the (WR) room,” Reedy said, adding that he seeks advice from all fellow receivers, from Jackson and Evans to the undrafted pros trying to make their first 53-man roster. “Even though it’s a competition, every body looks out for each other. That’s the biggest thing.
“That’s just going to push you and bring out the best in you every day.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
WR is a big need next year.
Iam glad that head coach said that this young man is the #3 WR I hope he stays healthy. I can’t wait and see how many WR and TE Tampa keeps Go Bucs.
It’s going to be very interesting to see who the rest of the WR’s will be. I’m also curious to see if L. Murphy makes the team since he can’t seem to stay healthy. Here are some of my other observations from training camp:
– Ayers had the widest range in performance from any other player I saw. One play he would be slow off the snap in 11-on-11 then later in 1-on-1’s I would see him explode past the O-lineman. I don’t know what to make of him as a Buc yet.
– I didn’t catch a lot of Jaq. Smith. He was only in on certain packages and he always seemed to be pass rushing from the side of the D-line that was furthest from the fans so I often didn’t get a good look at what he was doing. The good news there is it gave me a lot of looks as Spence since they often rushed on opposite sides of the line. One thing I will say about Jaq. Smith is seeing his physique live confirms to me that he is a pass rusher, not a full time 3-down lineman. Both he and Spence that similar builds and are just not built for putting their hand in the dirt and stopping the run as a DE snap after snap.
– Verner is playing with more confidence than any other year I’ve seen him in Tampa. He deflected a long bomb to Evans in single coverage. He stayed with him step for step and timed his jump perfectly. However he still needs to turn more of his deflections into INT’s.
– Grimes looks better than last year also. He still gets beat on routes more often than I would like, but he’s a scrappy player that stays with the route which puts him in position to pick off passes off of deflections.
– The safeties don’t look any better to me than any other year. They seem to operate as if they are there only to make tackles and help out CB’s on deep passes instead of being attackers of footballs that fly anywhere near their field. They just play too conservatively in my opinion and I don’t know if it’s the scheme or the players. I saw them line up a Cover 2, Cover 1 and Cover 3 positions before the snap so it’s hard to say they aren’t being put in positions to make a play every now and then.
– LT D. Smith just isn’t very fast dropping back into his stance. I don’t have anything more than a hunch to base this on, but I believe the Bucs were going to draft OT J. Conklin before they got leapfrogged by Jon Robinson and the Titans. Robinson had a lot of insight in terms of what players the Bucs had been scouting heavily and if he wanted him and felt the Bucs would take him it would explain why he traded with the Browns to get just in front of the Bucs. It would also explain why the Bucs traded back after Conklin was picked. R. Barber even said in the offseason that after visiting with Bucs front office that he came away feeling the Bucs were really focusing on building a dominant offense as a recipe for success (or something like that). I say all that just to emphasize that I don’t think the Bucs are satisfied at the OT position and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the team struggle at the position this year and look to draft a LT next year. On a related note, I also believe after what happened in the 1st round that Licht was worried that Robinson knew of the Bucs interest in Aguayo and was worried Robinson was targeting him in the 3rd round which is why Licht traded up for him. Again, just a gut feeling.
Oh, hear are my final two observations from training camp…first, Banks still isn’t any good. He didn’t make any splash plays and he got beat often by guys running past him even though he played with the 2nd team defense. Second, QB Ryan Griffin looks pretty good to me. He goes through his reads quickly and gets the ball out of his hands quickly and accurately. To me he goes through his reads quicker than Glennon and frankly looks like a better overall QB than Glennon.
I have worried about our safeties also. Just looks the same as last year and that was not good. We just haven’t addressed it this year.
Maybe we can pick up someone during preseason.
Definitely the teams weak spot
Enjoyed watching practice with you and Mrs. Pink and reading your insightful observations.
Likewise Scubog! You always keep things light and interesting :-).
Wait, you are real people? Color me surprised 🙂
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