Koetter: Brate working as top tight end, ahead of Seferian-Jenkins
One week into training camp, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said Wednesday that Cameron Brate is working as the team's tight end, ahead of former second-round draft pick Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
"I don't think it's any big secret that Cam's been working with the first group," Koetter said. "We're deep at tight end and Cam's at the top of the depth right now. (Seferian-Jenkins) is working hard, working at it. Austin's trying to get better every day. ... Austin's working at it and that's all he can do right now. He's just got to work. That's all anybody that's fighting for a job can do. The guys that are playing the best are going to play.
"Catching up for some guys is knowing what they're doing. Catching up for other guys is you've got to play better, and he falls into that category."
Brate stepped up well last season after Seferian-Jenkins was sidelined by a shoulder injury, totaling 23 catches for 288 yards and three touchdowns. Seferian-Jenkins is healthy now, but was sent off early during an OTA practice in June when Koetter said he "didn't know what he was doing."
Seferian-Jenkins said after practice that if Brate is playing well, that's good for the team as it prepares for the upcoming season.
"That's fine," Seferian-Jenkins said. "I'm so happy. I'm doing well, getting better every single time. Cam's doing a great job, Luke (Stocker) is doing a great job. Brandon (Myers) is doing a great job and we're all competing. If Cam's doing a good job, that's good. It's good for the team and whatever is best for the team. I'm excited and going to keep working hard."
Asked about the competition for the starting job, Seferian-Jenkins said his focus is on himself and improving as much as possible.
"I don't worry about Cameron Brate. I worry about myself and doing what the coaches tell me to do," he said. "You know what? If Cameron Brate is No. 1, that's great. If it's best for the team, I want what's best for the team. I want to win as many games as I can. That's what's most important. Whatever role I have is whatever role I have."
Asked what he's doing best in camp, Seferian-Jenkins didn't point to anything specific, but again, everything.
"I'm doing everything I like. I'm not perfect," he said. "I fail every once in a while, but failing is your first attempt at learning. I'm not worried about it. It's what, the seventh day of training camp? I'm not worried. ... I'm going to get my opportunities. I know what I am. I'm a great player. I'm not worried about it."
Seferian-Jenkins got a $2.1-million signing bonus in 2014, so when Koetter says he's fighting for a job, he likely means the starting job and not to stay on the Bucs' roster. His base salary for 2016 is $822,721 per Spotrac.com, so he's relatively inexpensive.