Sunday, May 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike Williams catch highlights last public practice for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA — Bucs WR Mike Williams expects to catch any football he gets his hands on — even if he doesn't get his hands on it first.

Such was the case during a two-minute drill that turned into a thrill in Tuesday's practice. Needing a touchdown to win and a field goal to tie with less than a minute left on fourth and 25, QB Josh Freeman lofted a pass over the middle that rookie S Mark Barron caught near his midsection, keeping Williams on his back.

But Williams reached around Barron with both hands and ripped the ball away before crashing to the turf. The gain kept the drive alive, helping set up Kai Forbath's tying field goal in the mock game.

"When we're playing our defense, man, I hate when they win because we go into the locker room and they talk a lot of stuff," Williams said.

"It was fourth down, we needed the catch. I just tried to do what I do best and make a play."

Those types of plays were common for Williams in 2010, when he led all rookies with 11 touchdowns. But last year, unable to train with the team because of the NFL lockout, Williams struggled. He reported out of shape, had three touchdowns and was among the league leaders in dropped passes.

"His work ethic has definitely picked up," receivers coach P.J. Fleck said. "And he's reaping his rewards."

High praise: Backup QB Dan Orlovsky said he has known WR Vincent Jackson for eight years, ever since they played in the Senior Bowl together.

And Orlovsky has been impressed with the work ethic, leadership and ability of Jackson in their first stint as NFL teammates.

"I've had the chance to play with some Hall of Fame receivers," Orlovsky said. "Andre Johnson in Houston, Reggie (Wayne in Indianapolis) and Calvin (Johnson) in Detroit. The similarities between them are scary. There's an unbelievable amount of humility. I say they have talent and perform like they're elite players, but they work like they're undrafted rookies.

"You would never know by the way that they practice that they're the top of the top. They're so committed to their craft. They're so committed to getting better. It's impressive. Take away their physical skills and what they can do and see how they work and it's unbelievable."

Orlovsky said is somewhat surprised by what he has learned about Jackson since the offseason. The reality, Orlovsky said, has been quite different than the reputation that preceded Jackson.

"I kind of heard that he came with some bad reputation or something," Orlovsky said. "After a couple of weeks, I had to ask him, 'Where's that from?' He just kind of gave me a look. I don't see it. He's quickly bought into what we're doing."

REDEMPTION TIME: WR/KR Preston Parker is eager to bounce back from a disappointing exhibition opener Friday in Miami.

He committed a personal foul penalty during a first-quarter touchdown drive and later fumbled a punt.

"You just put it in the tank, gives me fuel to the fire," Parker said.

Though Parker made a big impact last season, with several key third-down catches among his 40 receptions, he's in a crowded competition at receiver as well as kick returner. The personal foul drew the ire of coach Greg Schiano, who pulled him aside for a "quick talk" on the sideline.

"You've got to think about the team," Parker said. "I was trying to hold it, hold it and I broke. That's what you can't do. He was talking about that, you can't crack and get a personal foul because it hurts the team.

"It's going to get rough between battles, you've just got to be the smart person and walk away from it."

Parker, a former Florida State standout, entered the league as an undrafted free agent and isn't taking anything for granted.

"You've just got to keep focused, knowing that this is not promised to you," Parker said. "Everyday you've got to come out and work."

MEDICAL MATTERS: There's some question over TE Luke Stocker's status. Stocker left Monday's practice early, and watched from the sidelines Tuesday, with Schiano saying he was not feeling well. Schiano would not give details, only that he was scheduled for more evaluation Tuesday. … WR Arrelious Benn (right knee sprain) ran the past few days, but Schiano said he's "probably a few weeks" from returning. Benn suffered the injury on the first day of camp. "We'll see how he progresses, but it's good to have him back out there running," Schiano said. "That's the first step."

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected] Rick Stroud can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
O-line coach ‘ecstatic’ about Bucs drafting Vita Vea

O-line coach ‘ecstatic’ about Bucs drafting Vita Vea

Add another to the long list of Bucs players and coaches excited about first-round pick Vita Vea: offensive line coach George Warhop.Warhop said the 347-pound defensive tackle from Washington kept showing up as he looked at tape on Pac-12 offensive l...
Published: 05/19/18
Pillow talk: O-line coach says Bucs need tougher approach to run the ball

Pillow talk: O-line coach says Bucs need tougher approach to run the ball

TAMPA — At least he stopped short of calling them soft. That's not a word you ever want to use when describing an NFL player, much less the entire offensive line. That would be a tough pillow to swallow.But it's clear George Warhop didn't like ...
Published: 05/19/18
Pop Warner to honor Bucs’ Gerald McCoy as ‘Inspiration to Youth’

Pop Warner to honor Bucs’ Gerald McCoy as ‘Inspiration to Youth’

Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy will be honored at Pop Warner's annual "All-American Scholars Banquet" in Orlando with the national sports organization's "Inspiration to Youth" award.McCoy, who has been to six straight Pro Bowls, is the first-ever...
Published: 05/18/18
Land O’Lakes grad Shaheed Salmon gets contract with Bucs

Land O’Lakes grad Shaheed Salmon gets contract with Bucs

Most appropriately named player on the Bucs roster? Undrafted rookie Shaheed Salmon, a linebacker from Land O'Lakes who has quickly shown the ability to fight against the current and get to where he wants to go.Salmon, 22, wasn't drafted and didn't h...
Published: 05/18/18
Mike Evans, Jameis Winston among top 25 players under 25, Pro Football Focus says

Mike Evans, Jameis Winston among top 25 players under 25, Pro Football Focus says

Mike Evans and Jameis Winston are two of the 25 best young players in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.In the website's Top 25 Under 25 list, Evans ranks 11th and Winston ranks 20th. Evans is the highest-ranked receiver, and Winston is the hi...
Published: 05/18/18
More praise for Bucs WR Chris Godwin: ‘I see him as a starter’

More praise for Bucs WR Chris Godwin: ‘I see him as a starter’

Perhaps no Bucs player is drawing more consistent praise from coaches than second-year receiver Chris Godwin, who emerged in the second half last year and got his first career touchdown on the Bucs' final pass of the year to beat the Saints in the se...
Published: 05/17/18
George Warhop on Donovan Smith: ‘You have something here that’s special’

George Warhop on Donovan Smith: ‘You have something here that’s special’

A year ago, Bucs offensive line coach George Warhop was unwavering in his support for left tackle Donovan Smith, and on Thursday, he again made it clear he considers the fourth-year player among the best at his position."I don't think I'd take anybod...
Published: 05/17/18
Bucs OC Todd Monken to Jameis Winston: ‘Let’s not try so hard’

Bucs OC Todd Monken to Jameis Winston: ‘Let’s not try so hard’

Jameis Winston doesn't lack for leadership qualities, but sometimes he can go over the top. Whether it's eating Ws before games, picking fights with opposing defensive backs or playing hurt, the Bucs quarterback can put added pressure on himself.Bucs...
Published: 05/17/18
Jameis Winston: Most underrated quarterback of 2017?

Jameis Winston: Most underrated quarterback of 2017?

To the casual observer, Jameis Winston had a disappointing 2017 season. He missed three games because of a shoulder injury, and in the games he did play in, the Buccaneers had a 3-10 record.Did Winston regress? No. In fact, he might have been th...
Published: 05/17/18
Vernon Hargreaves has the starting right cornerback job in the Bucs base defense. For now.

Vernon Hargreaves has the starting right cornerback job in the Bucs base defense. For now.

It's Vernon Hargreaves' job to lose. He will begin the off-season as the Bucs starting right cornerback and move to the slot when the team goes to five defensive backs in their nickel package."We told everybody that we want everybody to come in with ...
Published: 05/17/18