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Koetter praises effort in Bucs' tight end battle

TAMPA — One week into training camp, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said Wednesday that Cameron Brate is working as the starting 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 organized team activity practice in June when Koetter said the tight end "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 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 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."

EXCELLENT: LB Lavonte David picked up his first interception of training camp Wednesday, anticipating a Jameis Winston pass to RB Mike James and picking it off for what would have been an easy touchdown.

"That was an excellent play by Lavonte," Koetter said. "That was a bad decision by Jameis. Jameis had two bad picks from his standpoint, but the defense is excited for them to make their plays."

Winston had another short pass during 11-on-11 work that was tipped at the line by leaping DE Jacquies Smith and intercepted by S Bradley McDougald.

THIS AND THAT: Koetter said rookie OL Caleb Benenoch, now with a cast on his left foot after an ankle injury Sunday, will be "out a while." Caylin Hauptmann, signed Tuesday, was working as third-string right guard. … Rookie LB Cassanova McKinzy has a hamstring strain and has been out since Monday but could be back by the end of the week. … Koetter said RT Demar Dotson, a free agent next spring, has been his best offensive lineman in camp so far.

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

Koetter praises effort in Bucs' tight end battle 08/03/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 3, 2016 9:38pm]
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