TAMPA — Offensive coordinator Greg Olson said he has certain plays designed to take advantage of WR Arrelious Benn's unique abilities.
The Bucs showed a few such wrinkles Sunday, with Benn getting used in an end around, on a sweep and a quick screen, which resulted in a 28-yard gain. Olson said he wants to get more special opportunities for Benn, and the fast and physical rookie welcomes the chance.
"I'm pretty sure that's why they bought me here, so I can run those things," Benn said. "That's the same thing I did at Illinois and my whole career in high school as well. In playing the spread offense, I can get in the backfield, or get a reverse or go for a deep ball."
With teams taking notice of rookie WR Mike Williams after his hot start, and trying to find ways to contain him, it'll be important for other receivers to make plays as Benn did Sunday. Benn said as he began to grasp the offense better, he saw more creative ways to contribute.
"I don't look at myself as a pure receiver," he said. "I look at myself as a guy who can do a lot of things like reverses. Mike is a pure receiver. Me, I can do a little bit more than an obvious receiver can do."
STEPPING IN: Before his impromptu appearance Sunday against the Falcons, G Derek Hardman's film catalogue consisted mostly of preseason action.
But when starting C Jeff Faine went down and G Jeremy Zuttah moved one spot to his left, Hardman was next up at right guard.
"Getting my first snaps for the offensive line was a big step up, but I enjoyed it, and I'm looking forward to getting another chance this weekend," Hardman said.
But this is far from an ideal situation for the Bucs. Hardman, an undrafted rookie from Eastern Kentucky, had been a tackle until he walked through the doors at One Buc Place, taking his first snaps at guard in the final preseason game.
Now, he'll likely be at right guard for the final four games. He said he has gained confidence from watching the examples set by Ted Larsen and James Lee, two linemen who stepped in after injuries and haven't relinquished their starting jobs.
"There's no choice," Hardman said. "You go in and do your job the best you can. It's been impressive to see what Ted's done and what James has done. I'm hoping to do half as good as they do and I'll be fine."
Coach Raheem Morris said there are other options to fill the void, including moving Lee to right guard and inserting Jeremy Trueblood at right tackle. But the likely option now appears to be sticking with Hardman.
"He came in on the second-to-last series and on the final drive and it was the two-minute (offense) where he was having to pass protect," Olson said. "So if there's one thing I know about him, he can pass protect. So we're comfortable with that part of his game, and we'll find out whether he can be physical in the running game this week."
ROSTER, ETC.: The Bucs used their final open roster spot to add CB D.J. Johnson, a promotion from the practice squad. Taking Johnson's spot on the practice squad will be FB Rendrick Taylor, a prospect from Clemson who spent the offseason with the Bucs. Taylor had been playing with Omaha in the UFL.
MEDICAL MATTERS: LB Quincy Black (ankle) and TE Kellen Winslow (knee) did not participate in practice, but LB Dekoda Watson (hamstring) did.