Much of receiver Adam Humphries' emergence last season came as the Bucs were enduring multiple injuries at his position, and Humphries made the most of his extended playing time, catching 55 passes for 622 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bucs were busy in the offseason, adding Pro Bowl receiver DeSean Jackson and drafting tight end O.J. Howard and receiver Chris Godwin to add talented options to the Bucs' passing game, but Humphries has remained a key part of Jameis Winston's arsenal. Humphries has 17 catches for 207 yards, gaining more than he did last year through four games.
"The big thing for me is just being patient," said Humphries, who made the Bucs' roster in 2015 as an undrafted rookie out of Clemson, initially only going to rookie minicamp as a tryout player. "I know my role in this offense. I know we've got two of the best receivers to do it outside of me and two incredible tight ends. The ball can only go to one person at a time, so going into halftime with no catches, I'm not worried. I know Jameis is going to find everybody at some point. The ball will come to you at some point, and with the offense we run, everyone's got a chance on every play."
Humphries has stepped up his play when it's late in games as well -- he has nine catches for 125 yards in the fourth quarter of games this year, more than his production in the first three quarters combined (eight for 82). Humphries had a 38-yard catch to set up a touchdown as the Bucs rallied to beat the Giants, and a 20-yard catch in the final minute as Tampa Bay tried to catch the Patriots but fell short. In all, he ranks eighth in the NFL in fourth-quarter catches and yards, leading the Bucs in both categories.
"He shows up every game," Winston said Thursday. "If you watch a game, you're going to see Adam Humphries having a long run, breaking a tackle, making a fantastic catch. That's just what he is. He's a baller."
Entering Sunday's games, when all but two NFL teams had played four games, the Bucs had four players with 200-plus receiving yards -- Mike Evans, Jackson, Humphries and tight end Cam Brate -- and the Patriots were the only other team in the NFL that could boast that. Humphries said the balance within the passing game makes it harder for defenses to take away any specific part of the Bucs' offense.
"With the weapons we have, our goal is to make it complicated for a defense," Humphries said. "The more we work together, the more we work with Jameis, it'll look better. If we can keep that momentum going and just feeding guys the ball, it'll be a fun year."