The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to the Miami Dolphins Saturday night 26-24 in Tampa at Raymond James Stadium. The team didn’t play any of their starting receivers, giving the backups a chance to shine. And boy did they!
Mike Evans, Chris Godwin (when he returns), Julio Jones, and Russell Gage are guaranteed roster spots. That leaves three spots open for competition and with week one of the preseason in the books the competition is heating up.
Top Three Fighting For A Spot
The 2020 fifth-round pick is looking to make a name for himself and started well in the first preseason game of the year. Racking up six catches on seven targets, Johnson had 73 yards and 12.2 yards a catch. Even if you remove his 22-yard reception it equates to 10.2 yards per catch. A very respectable showing.
Displaying great route running with crisp cuts and strong hands Johnson shined. At this point in time he is coming into his own. If he continues with this trajectory he’ll lock in a roster spot very soon.
Though on the field for some offensive snaps Darden only had one target. His lone catch was a highlight reel 23 yarder for a touchdown. Last years fourth round pick has had some great plays in camp, especially in 11 on 11 drills. Subsequently, his lone target shouldn’t discourage fans as he continues to show he has the skills to complement those with locked in roster spots.
Miller’s game time was less impactful than Darden’s. Ultimately, he saw one target that was not able to be caught leaving him with no stats in week one of the preseason. The coaches know what they have in Miller. He’s been with the team since 2019 and has shown flashes of speed that stretch the field. The question becomes, if he continues to not have the opportunity to show himself over the other receivers does he have enough tape over the years to stay?
Making an appearance for the Buccaneers were two more rookies at the wide receiver position. Kaylon Geiger and Jerreth Stems both showed up to play. Geiger posted four catches on the same amount for targets with 52 yards. Meanwhile, Stems stat line. Four catches on four targets, 51 yards and a great touchdown catch. These two players are currently attempting to make the coaching staff’s decision very hard. But will there be enough room for both of them?
Obviously this is a good spot to be in for the Buccaneers. It’s always a good problem when your coaches have a tuff decision in who to keep. This will only heat up as preseason continues and ultimately a tuff choice will be made. There will be room on the practice squad for one and possibly one of the established players could be moved.
Either way this is the most depth I have ever seen at a single position at any point in time since I started watching football.
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