TAMPA — Two weeks after he was relegated to backup status at tight end, Austin Seferian-Jenkins has shown enough improvement that he will split reps with Cameron Brate with the first-team offense, coach Dirk Koetter said Sunday.
Seferian-Jenkins had three catches for 36 yards in Saturday's 27-21 preseason win over the Jaguars, including an 18-yarder in traffic that drew an additional 15 yards for an unnecessary roughness penalty, setting up a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Asked if he was pleased with how the third-year pro has responded to his demotion, Koetter said he likes what he has seen.
"Very much, very much," Koetter said. "In fact, we're going to even out those reps with the first group with Cam and Austin.
"Austin's worked his way right back in there, and when he got moved down the depth chart, all you can ask a player when he gets moved down is that he competes and does better and tries to get back up there, and he's done that. Now he's not perfect by any means and Cam's had a fantastic camp — he did not have a great night catching the ball (Saturday) night — but we're going to need both those guys."
Brate took a hit to the back of the helmet in the end zone Saturday, prompting another personal foul penalty, but he said after the game that he was "fine."
COMING BACK: Koetter said he expects DT Gerald McCoy (ankle) and RB Doug Martin (back) to return to practice today after being held out of Saturday's game with minor injuries.
Koetter also said that three players hurt Saturday — Brate, WR Evan Spencer (knee) and S Keith Tandy (concussion symptoms) — did not appear to have long-term injuries.
THIS AND THAT: The team settled for touchbacks on three of four Jaguars kickoffs, but Koetter was pleased with WR Donteea Dye taking the opening kick out to the 32. … Josh Keyes got work Saturday at strongside linebacker ahead of rookie Devante Bond, but Koetter said a minor shoulder injury for Bond played a role in that. … Rookie TE Danny Vitale had two tackles in kick coverage on special teams Saturday, as did rookie RB Russell Hansbrough. … Today's practice is closed to the public, but Tuesday and Wednesday's joint practices with the Browns will be open at One Buc Place.
Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.