Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs-Saints: Why Eagles castoff Josh Huff could play big role Sunday

TAMPA — To appreciate what Bucs receiver Josh Huff could do Sunday, consider what he did last season against New Orleans.

Huff, playing for the Eagles, put his team on the scoreboard with a 41-yard score, making a leaping somersault into the end zone for his first career touchdown catch. He added a 19-yard catch to the 2-yard line that set up the go-ahead touchdown in Philadelphia's 39-17 win.

Huff, a 2014 third-round pick out of Oregon, had a career-high 76 yards on four catches and has made a bigger mark in his NFL career on kickoff returns. After four weeks on Tampa Bay's practice squad, he is scheduled to make his Bucs debut Sunday against the Saints.

"I haven't been out there with my teammates in a month, so I'm excited to get back out and get things going again," said Huff, promoted this week to replace Cecil Shorts, who was lost to a season-ending knee injury last week at San Diego.

"I feel pretty comfortable with the offense and the playbook now, and I'm just looking to fit in and make plays where I can."

That the Bucs could turn to Huff, 25, as a potential answer to a long string of injuries at receiver is only possible because he was arrested five weeks ago in New Jersey on charges of possession of marijuana and an unloaded handgun without a permit. He was promptly released by the Eagles and now has earned a second chance with Tampa.

"Josh Huff, man, he's blazing," quarterback Jameis Winston said. "(He) has a lot of abilities that would definitely add to our repertoire. (Chemistry) is getting better and better. … We've got to get that connection, to continue to work more and more, but we're looking forward to taking that challenge this week."

Huff has two kickoff returns for touchdowns in his three-year career, a 107-yard score in 2014 and a 98-yard score this year against the Vikings.

Tampa Bay ranks last in the league in kickoff returns, with a season long of 24 yards. Huff has seven returns this season, four of them longer than 24, including a 53-yarder.

"He's made explosive returns and explosive plays in this league," coach Dirk Koetter said. "He's got a nice burst, some short-area quickness, explosiveness."

The Bucs have lost veterans Vincent Jackson, Louis Murphy and Shorts to major injuries, and Adam Humphries has been in concussion protocol all week and will miss Sunday's game. Finding complements to Mike Evans will fall to supporting players such as Huff, who will show how much he has picked up.

"We're going to find out, aren't we?" receivers coach Todd Monken said. "He's got some juice."

Huff has a chance to prove himself against a New Orleans team that ranks 30th in pass defense and 28th in average kickoff return allowed.

"My main thing is just to stay focused and fit in with these guys, to do what I can when my number is called," Huff said. "I'm looking forward to keeping this (four-game) win streak going and into the playoffs."

Contact Greg Auman and [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Comments
Five options if the Bucs want to trade down from No. 7

Five options if the Bucs want to trade down from No. 7

For months, NFL fans have wondered what the Bucs might do with the No. 7 pick in Thursday's draft, producing a wide range of answers, each with passionate support from some of their fans.But as draft nears, and as the interest level in a talented gro...
Published: 04/24/18
Could Washington DT Vita Vea be the Bucs’ real target at No. 7 in the draft?

Could Washington DT Vita Vea be the Bucs’ real target at No. 7 in the draft?

Vita VeaPosition: Defensive tackleSchool: WashingtonHeight/weight: 6-4, 347Draft projection: Round 1Why Vita Vea makes sense for the Bucs: Vea's combination of size and quick feet is rare. He ran a 5.1 40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds 40 tim...
Published: 04/24/18
Important questions and answers about Bucs’ draft parrot

Important questions and answers about Bucs’ draft parrot

The final days leading up to the NFL draft can be a busy time, but rarely do you call someone you trust from a team and say: "What can you tell me about the parrot?"Yes, the Bucs will have a parrot — specifically a Catalina macaw named Zsa Zsa ...
Published: 04/24/18
Ex-Bucs QB Jeff Garcia doesn’t care about NFL draft: ‘I have a life’

Ex-Bucs QB Jeff Garcia doesn’t care about NFL draft: ‘I have a life’

So much of the attention Monday surrounding the Bucs' announcing who'd be announcing their late-round draft picks was, of course, that a parrot would be delivering the name of the fourth-round pick to the pirate ship at Raymond James Stadium.But late...
Published: 04/24/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Breaking down the NFL draft with Sam Farmer

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Breaking down the NFL draft with Sam Farmer

On today's Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast, Rick Stroud breaks down the NFL draft with the Los Angeles Times' Sam Farmer.Farmer coordinates a mock draft with beat writers around the league, and it's usually one of the most accurate prognostications...
Published: 04/24/18
NFL Draft: Date, time, TV schedule and draft order for the April 26-28 draft

NFL Draft: Date, time, TV schedule and draft order for the April 26-28 draft

The NFL Draft starts Thursday from Arlington, Texas, with coverage of the first round beginning at 8 p.m. ET. Here's a look at the broadcast schedule for all three days and the draft order for every round:Schedule(all times Eastern)Thursday, April 26...
Published: 04/24/18
Polly want a sacker: Bucs’ 4th-round draft pick to be delivered by parrot

Polly want a sacker: Bucs’ 4th-round draft pick to be delivered by parrot

Late-round NFL draft picks are often made on a wing and a prayer.The Bucs' fourth-round pick Saturday will be no different. The team announced Monday that as part of the NFL draft TV broadcast, the team's fourth-round pick will be delivered to an ann...
Published: 04/23/18
How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

TAMPA — The buzz surrounding this year's NFL draft is a class of talented quarterbacks deep enough to challenge the record six taken in the first round in 1983, a group that included future Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.Th...
Published: 04/22/18
Ex-NFL kicker Jay Feely apologizes for ‘joke’ gun photo

Ex-NFL kicker Jay Feely apologizes for ‘joke’ gun photo

Former NFL kicker Jay Feely, who was born in Odessa and starred at Tampa Jesuit, has apologized for a photo he intended as a joke, showing him holding a gun as he poses with his daughter and her prom date."Wishing my beautiful daughter and her date a...
Published: 04/22/18
Shaquem Griffin: ‘I’m not just a feel-good story’

Shaquem Griffin: ‘I’m not just a feel-good story’

TAMPA — Shaquem Griffin wakes up knowing each day will be better than the last and barely able to wait until tomorrow."It's just a whirlwind,'' Griffin said.On Thursday, he will walk the red carpet with his family, including his twin brother, S...
Published: 04/21/18