TAMPA — TE Ryan Purvis feels much more comfortable than did the undrafted rookie who showed up at last year's camp.
"It's night and day," he said. "I'm way ahead of the game than where I was last year."
Purvis, a 6-foot-4, 260-pound former Boston College standout, spent most of last season on the practice squad. Knowing he had to develop physically, Purvis put in plenty of time in the weight room back home in Lancaster, Pa., during the offseason.
When he got to One Buc Place, Purvis worked with tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts, watching tape and running routes.
Coach Raheem Morris said he knew Purvis was smart and would be able to pick up the offense, but he has noticed his improvement physically and in blocking.
Morris said Purvis is a mix of the Bucs' Jerramy Stevens and Kellen Winslow.
"He's very athletic but very slow. … But he's got great hands, he's reliable, he runs great routes, he's very smart, and he's really improved since he's been here."
Purvis has benefited from Winslow and Stevens missing practice time, and he is eager to take advantage of the extra reps.
"As a young guy, that's what I need, all the reps I can get, a chance to put good stuff on tape," he said.
Purvis is still a long shot to make the roster. The Bucs kept three tight ends last season (Stevens, Winslow and John Gilmore), and all are still with the team. But Purvis can make an impact on special teams, and being better at blocking can only help his case.
"Until Sept. 4, when they make that final 53(-player) roster, I'm just going to keep my head down and keep playing," he said. "And hopefully, when I look up on Sept. 4, I'll be sticking around."
STEPPING UP: S Corey Lynch impressed in several areas during Saturday's preseason opener against the Dolphins, including his blocked punt.
"He had a breakout game," Morris said, "He had the blocked punt, the almost two interceptions, he had a couple of big-time tackles and a couple of nice plays and a great hustle play.
"He looked like he was trying to get into that battle at safety. If he goes out there and plays like that again, then you're starting to talk about … adding another guy to that mix where you're talking about fighting for playing time."
QB QUESTION: Morris has praised third-string QB Rudy Carpenter for being a "gamer" who has great anticipation and understanding of the offense. But he hasn't revealed whether the Bucs plan to carry three quarterbacks in the regular season. Morris said they will keep "the most physical and the best 53 (players) we can establish with what we want to do."
DEBUT TIME: Winslow will see his first preseason game action Saturday against the Chiefs. Morris said he'll probably be on the field for the 12 to 15 snaps during which QB Josh Freeman will be under center.
ROSTER, ETC: The Bucs waived injured safety De'von Hall. Hall was claimed off waivers from the Colts in December and was inactive for the last regular-season game.