Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Receiver Ed Gant makes his mark in Tampa Bay Buccaneers' preseason finale vs. Washington Redskins

Ed Gant celebrates his two-point conversion reception in the fourth quarter, which gives the Bucs a 24-23 lead.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Ed Gant celebrates his two-point conversion reception in the fourth quarter, which gives the Bucs a 24-23 lead.

LANDOVER, Md. — General manager Mark Dominik has consistently said it has become suddenly difficult to make up the Bucs' roster.

And there are few places on that roster where that's more true than at wide receiver.

That was reinforced in Thursday's 29-24 loss against the Redskins, in which the Bucs' biggest play came from a receiver considered a long shot to make it past the final cut Saturday.

Ed Gant turned a quick slant from quarterback Rudy Carpenter into a 96-yard touchdown when he stepped out of a tackle, bounced off another defender, then outran everyone else for the score. He later drew a key pass interference penalty, picked up 25 yards on a deep out and caught a pass for a two-point conversion. He finished with two catches for 121 yards, but more important, he might have earned a chance for future opportunities.

But for those chances to come with the Bucs, the team will have to make decisions that lean in his favor. That means the Bucs might have to opt to keep him over another receiver they also like, such as Preston Parker or Micheal Spurlock.

The Bucs didn't have the answers after Thursday's game, but they'll have to come to conclusions by Saturday at 4 p.m., when the roster must be cut to 53.

"We have great depth at receiver," coach Raheem Morris said. "I can't say it enough. It's going to be tough."

Parker and Spurlock also played extensively Thursday, though it was not clear whether that was because of a lack of bodies or they were being submitted for last-minute evaluation.

In either case, the Bucs love that the decisions at receiver have become this difficult. The receivers keep raising the bar, in practice and in games.

"There's no animosity toward anybody with us," said Spurlock, who finished with three catches for 23 yards. "Everybody's on the same plane. If you're in the game, we're watching you and critiquing you. And when I'm in, you're watching me and critiquing me. Nobody's selfish."

And nobody has disappointed, either.

"We all can play," said Parker, who finished with two catches for 42 yards. "It's just about opportunity with us."

Thursday was Gant's long-awaited opportunity. The former North Alabama standout joined the practice squad in November and gave coaches a preview.

"We knew he had great speed a year ago," offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. "We're happy for him because he really showed it (Thursday) night."

Soon, we'll learn whether Gant will be around to show more in the future.

Receiver Ed Gant makes his mark in Tampa Bay Buccaneers' preseason finale vs. Washington Redskins 09/02/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 2, 2011 12:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Meet Lawrance Toafili, Pinellas Park's not-so-secret weapon

    Footballpreps

    Lawrance Toafili was a bit of a secret when the season started. The Pinellas Park High sophomore began last year on the junior varsity and was expected to stay there the entire season. But injuries to varsity players forced his promotion for the final five games.

    “At first I was kind of nervous,” Toafili said of playing varsity. “But as I started to fit in more … I started to feel more confident.”
  2. Video: Maddon, in return to Trop, says Rays need new stadium

    The Heater

    Former Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, now with the Chicago Cubs, speaks about the need to replace Tropicana Field during the first game of a two-game series in St. Petersburg on Sept. 20, 2017.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) watches the action in the second inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  3. Cooper on slashing crackdown: 'The game is no fun'

    Blogs

    There's no question the NHL has made it an emphasis to crack down on slashing this season.

  4. Seizures drove Jerry Kill out of coaching. He's back, and so are they

    College

    PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Jerry Kill knew he was headed down a familiar path. Kill, the Rutgers offensive coordinator, acknowledged as much on a lunchtime walk around the Scarlet Knights' football stadium two weeks ago.

    Rutgers offensive coordinator Jerry Kill watches drills as he continues to stay in football while experiencing seizures. [Associated Press]