Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs receivers Russell Shepard, Donteea Dye make good impression

Bucs receiver Donteea Dye runs didn’t have any catches in Thursday’s preseason opener at Philadelphia but had a catch wiped out by an offensive pass interference penalty.

Associated Press

Bucs receiver Donteea Dye runs didn’t have any catches in Thursday’s preseason opener at Philadelphia but had a catch wiped out by an offensive pass interference penalty.

TAMPA — In a game in which eight different Bucs receivers caught passes, coach Dirk Koetter said two in particular — Russell Shepard and Donteea Dye — have helped their cases in what continues to be a wide-open battle for backup jobs.

"Those two guys made plays," Koetter said Friday, a day after the team's 17-9 loss at the Eagles. "I thought two guys stepped up and showed that they're in the mix."

Shepard was a fairly obvious choice — he caught the team's only touchdown and finished with three catches for a team-best 62 yards. But Dye had zero catches, with one negated by an offensive pass interference call against him that Koetter didn't necessarily agree with.

"DD made three really nice plays on special teams, and he had that explosive pass that got called back for an OPI," Koetter said. "Officials, I think, do a fantastic job, but it was just hard to find much fault with DD on that play. He made a nice catch, ran a nice route, spun out, had a good run. Bottom line, it got called back for a penalty on him, but those two guys, I thought, showed up."

It was a rough game for Kenny Bell, who fumbled the opening kickoff, leading to an Eagles touchdown, had zero catches on two passes thrown his way, and had an offensive pass interference penalty called against him. But Koetter said he still liked what he saw from the 2015 fifth-round pick out of Nebraska.

"I'm sure everyone is going to be crushing Kenny Bell (but) as far as offense goes, Kenny Bell beat his man multiple times and just didn't get the ball thrown to him," Koetter said. "On the very last drive he ran a little double move and was open, and we overthrew him. There's probably five plays in the game where Kenny did his job and got open. … Now unfortunately we fumbled the opening kickoff, and he had another penalty that hurt us."

The passing game as a whole had room for improvement — Koetter counted seven drops and said, "you're just not going to win games like that."

Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson and Adam Humphries have locked up jobs, but there are two if not three spots left for other receivers, and Koetter stressed that the next two weeks — with joint practices against the Jaguars on Wednesday and Thursday and two more the following week in Tampa against the Browns, in addition to both games, represent a huge opportunity for all the receivers.

"We're going to go six times, six days in the next two weeks against other teams," he said, "so there's plenty of evaluation to go."

Contact Greg Auman at and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Public practices

(8:45-10:50 a.m., unless noted)

Today, Monday, Aug. 24 (9:45-11:50, practice with Browns)

Preseason schedule

Aug. 20at Jaguars, 7:30, Ch. 8

Aug. 26Browns, 8, Ch. 10

Sept. 1Redskins, 7:30, Ch. 8

Bucs receivers Russell Shepard, Donteea Dye make good impression 08/12/16 [Last modified: Friday, August 12, 2016 10:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends


    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.