Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie receiver Arrelious Benn making his presence felt

“I knew it was coming,” Bucs rookie receiver Arrelious Benn says of playing a bigger role. “I wasn’t going to get frustrated with it.”


“I knew it was coming,” Bucs rookie receiver Arrelious Benn says of playing a bigger role. “I wasn’t going to get frustrated with it.”

TAMPA — They all saw this coming, the way meteorologists track hurricanes. Arrelious Benn was going to take a game by storm and leave destruction in his path.

For much of the season, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Benn was the second option to Mike Williams in what has been one of the best rookie receiver tandems in throw business.

The result: Benn had two or fewer receptions in 10 of his first 12 games for the Bucs, including getting shut out when the regular season began against Cleveland and at Carolina.

But Benn never tired of spending extra time after practice learning the difficult "Z" receiver position, which plays off the line of scrimmage on the tight end's side of the formation. And he showed flashes with a 53-yard reception at Arizona and touchdowns against Atlanta and Carolina.

But last week in Washington, D.C., playing near his hometown in front of family and friends against a Redskins franchise he grew up rooting for, Benn put on a show. He caught a season-high four passes for 122 yards, including plays of 64 and 43 yards.

"Each week I saw it coming and started building up confidence in Josh (Freeman) and building confidence they had in me as far as calling my numbers and plays for me," Benn said. "It's great. I knew it was coming. I wasn't going to get frustrated with it. I knew I was doing everything I needed to do to do my job for us to win. It came, and I'm just going to capitalize on it each week, and I'm here now."

Benn is fifth on the club with 21 receptions for 345 yards and two touchdowns, although twice he has been ruled down at the opponent's 1-yard line. His 16.4 average leads the team.

"This is exactly what we talked about since the day we got here, the two of us on the field, making big plays," Williams said. "I've known for a long time it was coming. He kept telling me it was coming. And (last week), he just had an unbelievable game."

Not a minute too soon, either.

With Williams drawing more double coverage, his numbers have declined as Benn's have gone up. Opponents are keeping a safety over the top of Williams, and cornerbacks are giving him only the occasional slant route.

Offensive coordinator Greg Olson has started to move Williams around, putting him in the slot or in motion. But Benn usually enjoys one-on-one coverage. And he's beating it.

"We kind of see the same things you do; (Benn) looks fresher," Olson said. "For whatever reason, I don't know. I don't think it's the fact he didn't have a significant role early; I just think he trains very well, takes care of his body, he's strong. But he definitely looks like he has another gear than other guys on the field right now."

And Benn has been effective as a ballcarrier. At Washington, he gained 17 yards on an end around and has averaged 5.8 yards on six carries.

"His size and his strength, that's what makes him a little intriguing in terms of designing possible run plays for him," Olson said. "We've discussed that with this guy. He has a running back type body and a physical style of running. He's got a frame (sturdy enough) that you don't worry about him running against a linebacker.

"A lot of people may not notice, but he's helped us in our run game in terms of who he's blocking. He blocks defensive ends; he blocks linebackers. He's really helped out in the running game."

According to receiver Sammie Stroughter, there's no jealously in the receivers' room at One Buc Place. "It's more like, 'Oh, you did that? Watch this,' " he said.

Benn agrees. "We definitely feed off each other. And the great thing about it is we're so young in that room and on our team … we all get along," he said. "We all love each other; we want to see each other do well."

Williams is 23, Benn 22. What they're producing as rookies has been good enough to get the Bucs to 8-5 this season. But it's hard for the Bucs not to still daydream about the future.

"We've got two legit guys, and they're explosive players," Olson said. "A lot of things have to happen. They have to stay healthy, and there are a lot of things that go into it. But yeah, when you just look at them right now, they're exciting to think about."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie receiver Arrelious Benn making his presence felt 12/18/10 [Last modified: Saturday, December 18, 2010 10:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. U.S. repeats as Solheim Cup champion


    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

    Lexi Thompson, left, comes back from four holes down to halve the day’s first singles match with Europe’s Anna Nordqvist to set the tone for the United States.
  2. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener


    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  4. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush


    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  5. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.