Bucs TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins caught 3 TD passes Thursday - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Much like his entire two-plus years in the NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins has experienced his fair share of ups and downs this offseason.
The fact that the oft-injured 23-year-old has been on practice fields participating with his teammates throughout the summer and into training camp is a big plus. Getting dismissed from a practice during OTAs by head coach Dirk Koetter and learning that he no longer sits atop the depth chart at tight end were decidedly less encouraging moments.
Bucs TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
But since that afternoon two weeks ago when it was announced that Cameron Brate leads the competition to open the season as Tampa Bay’s starter, it’s been all positives for Seferian-Jenkins. He handled Koetter’s demotion with a maturity he hasn’t always displayed in public and he’s doing the rest of his talking with his play on the field.
That continued Thursday afternoon in Jacksonville. The Bucs’ big-bodied 2014 second-round pick out of Washington was nearly unstoppable during 7-on-7 red zone drills, catching a trio of touchdown passes from quarterback Jameis Winston.
Koetter praised Seferian-Jenkins’ effort while speaking with the media following practice.
“He got a lot of balls thrown his way,” the first-year head coach said. “Any of the skill guys, the receivers and tight ends, sometimes [it’s] luck of the draw; they just don’t get very many balls that day. Austin got a lot of balls thrown his way. We actually held Cam [Brate] out of some reps today just [because] we wanted to give some other guys a chance to get some catches, and Austin had a good day. Probably had his best day of camp.”
There was speculation after Koetter’s early August promotion of Brate that part of it was to give Seferian-Jenkins a jolt and hopefully motivate him to step his game up. Koetter didn’t like that assessment and provided some of his sharpest comments to date about being a straight shooter and dismissing a perception that he plays “mind games” with players.
At 6 foot 5, 262 pounds, Seferian-Jenkins has shown that he has the potential to be a dynamic playmaker in this Buccaneers offense. The key word in that sentence, however, is potential. He’s played only 16 of 32 games since coming to Tampa Bay. His position on the depth chart makes no difference if he’s not on the field, so being active come Sept. 11 needs to be goal No. 1 throughout the rest of training camp and the preseason.
I enjoy your writing style EH.
Glad to hear ASJ is moving in the right direction. Could be a big year for the TE’s.
ASJ will be great this year. Seems like Koetter is taking a page out of Ysermans playbook. Don’t mollycoddle the petulant ones and see if they come around. Got a feeling that he will come around just like Drouin did for the Lightning. GO BUCS
“Mollycoddle”? Isn’t that what George Constanza’s mother caught him doing?
funny stuff Scu
Yep, and it caused him to go temporarily blind.
Yeah last year we heard the same thing about ASJ in camp. Looks great in shorts but is he just a practice superstar? Is he tough enough to play pro ball when the **its for real?
@goldsonAges, I recall that we did hear a lot of good reports about ASJ in camp last year, and he delivered very similar results on Sundays too…the issue (as some like to point out) was that he spent a good chunk of the year on IR, not that he performed poorly in games.
I for one am looking for a big year from ASJ – in TE terms that might be 600 yards, 8 TDs.
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