Bucs WR Antonio Bryant frustrated, but sees chance to improve
UPDATE, 1:13 p.m.: Bryant wasn't seen during the first 30 minutes of practice that is open to reporters. It's not clear why he is absent, but coach Raheem Morris will speak to reporters after the conclusion of the workout.
12:31 p.m.: Buccaneers WR Antonio Bryant hasn't been himself this season after preseason knee surgery.
Today, Bryant said his inability to practice, the change at quarterback and the overhaul of the offense has greatly affected his production.
"You have to look at the situation," he said. "I’m out here putting up numbers in my situation, but week after week I come back to this (swollen) knee. I mean, look at this knee."
Bryant's knee is visibly swollen as it has been on a weekly basis. He has had to drain fluid from the knee before games in order to play. But Bryant plans to drain the knee today and practice this afternoon, hoping to address some of his and the offense's problems with timing and consistency.
"I mean, come on, man, a different quarterback, (different) system. . . there’s too much going on," he said. "There’s no consistency yet. We’re trying to find some consistency. And that’s not going to be my last time dropping a ball (he dropped two on Sunday). It’s going to be hard, but I’m just out there trying to find some consistency, but there’s nothing consistent. I mean, you see we had our first 100-yard receiver and it took five games."
TE Kellen Winslow starred Sunday in what was the best receiving game by a Bucs player this season.
Bryant vented a bit more before conceding that he will have to play a major role in improving the situation.
"How many balls have I got down the field?" he said. "I make all my big plays down the field. That’s how I eat. You have to take the shots, man."
Why is that? And can the Bucs fix it?
"It’s a lot of things," he added. "If you have too much pressure, you can’t go down the field. That’s for starters. That’s how the game goes. We have to work some things out. We get Jeff Faine back this week. That’s big for our O-line. It can get the guys going."
For Bryant, perhaps practicing today will jump start things and allow him to develop some chemistry with QB Josh Johnson. After four games (he missed one with the knee injury), Bryant has 12 catches for 141 yards, after posting 83 catches for 1,248 yards in 2008.
"Normally I’d usually just drain my knee before the game, but I’m going to drain my knee today and go out and practice to (fix) some things," he said. "I know it’s important to practice and have the repetitions. It’s almost as if (quarterbacks) don’t know where I’m going to be at on the field.
"The only time I get to be me is on Sunday. That’s the only time I get to move, run or do anything. But I’m going to go ahead and drain my knee and go out and practice because it’s important to me. I’m a practice person. I work hard in order to get the results on Sunday, and I feel like I’m not doing my team any justice by not practicing."