More Josh Freeman: Praise for Preston Parker, receivers
Josh Freeman effusively praised his team’s running backs during a conversation over the weekend, but he also had a few things to add about the receivers.
The complexion of that group has changed markedly with the addition of Pro Bowler Vincent Jackson during free agency, and that has left the remaining wideouts scrambling to compete for balls, Freeman said.
This is a very good thing for the Bucs. And the cream, according to Freeman, seems to be rising to the top. Here’s his take on what’s transpiring in practices this offseason.
“Mike Williams, Vincent Jackson, those guys are tremendous talents,” Freeman said. “But I’ll tell you another guy who has been just unbelievable. I’m so happy about this guy’s progression and how he’s coming along. That guy is Preston Parker. That guy has been unbelievable.”
If you've been following the Bucs, this shouldn't be shocking. Parker, though not big and not particularly fast, managed to catch 40 passes in 2011 despite playing mostly on third downs or second-and-long situations. Twenty-five of those catches resulted in first downs, and his average was a healthy 13.9 yards per catch – not bad for a slot receiver.
Parker has been getting lots of action during OTAs, and if he can continue to excel, he will likely carve out a nice role for himself in the regular season despite the logjam at receiver.
Speaking of which, Freeman says the receiver position will be a strength of the Bucs in 2012.
“Those guys are doing an awesome job,” Freeman said. He later added a sentiment shared by his backup quarterback. “Dan Orlovsky said, ‘I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a top-5 or 6 (group) in a receiving corps that’s been this solid.' Everybody can go out and do it. I’m really looking forward to getting out there. And then you add (new tight end) Dallas (Clark) to the situation, and he’s just good.”