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Tampa Bay Bucs learn little new about receivers in preseason win over Kansas City Chiefs

Bucs wide receiver Micheal Spurlock takes a reception from Josh Johnson 53 yards for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Chiefs. The former quarterback known more for special-teams play had three catches for 75 yards.


Bucs wide receiver Micheal Spurlock takes a reception from Josh Johnson 53 yards for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Chiefs. The former quarterback known more for special-teams play had three catches for 75 yards.


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Regular-season games

Sept. 12: Cleveland, 1, Ch. 10

Sept. 19: at Carolina, 1, Ch. 13

Sept. 26: Pittsburgh, 1, Ch. 10

Oct. 10: at Cincinnati, 1, Ch. 13

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Dec. 12: at Washington, 1, Ch. 13

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Dec. 26: Seattle, 1, Ch. 13

Jan. 2: at New Orleans, 1, Ch. 13

TAMPA — One of the Bucs' most scrutinized units this preseason has been the receiving corps, perhaps the team's most inexperienced group.

What more did the Bucs learn about this group in their second preseason game, Saturday's 20-15 win over the Chiefs? Very little.

It was thoroughly reinforced that fourth-round draft pick Mike Williams is a potential star. And Sammie Stroughter is doing his best to prove he was not a one-hit wonder during his rookie season last year.

But when a converted college quarterback comes out of nowhere to steal the show, one could argue that's not good.

That's what Micheal Spurlock did in his latest bid to make the final roster.

He had the play of the game, a 53-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Josh Johnson on an out right toward the right sideline. Spurlock hauled in the pinpoint pass, then shook Kansas City starting left cornerback Brandon Flowers, who missed the tackle and allowed Spurlock to sprint down the sideline untouched.

Spurlock finished with 75 yards on three receptions, including a 22-yard catch between two defenders in the fourth quarter on quarterback Rudy Carpenter's finest pass on the night.

Spurlock was a quarterback at Mississippi State and is mostly known for scoring the first kickoff-return touchdown in franchise history in 2008. He has never been given real consideration at receiver until now.

"It's a good thing when you have tough decisions," coach Raheem Morris said. "That means something exciting."

Williams continues to impress. He had arguably the highlight of the game against the Dolphins in last week's preseason opener, and Saturday he built on that performance with three receptions for 44 yards.

What was different about his performance, however, was that rather than pick up his gains by hauling in deep balls, like in the opener, he gained the bulk of his yardage after the catch. A prime example was when the Bucs called a receiver screen on their first possession. Williams taking advantage of timely blocks from Stroughter and left tackle Donald Penn, he split through a pair of would-be tacklers for a 16-yard gain on a pass from quarterback Josh Freeman.

Williams later caught a short pass over the middle for a 13-yard gain and took a short pass from Johnson down the sideline for 15 yards in another display of what he is capable of in the open field.

"Like I said after the first (game), I was a little bit nervous, and now I'm getting more confidence," Williams said.

Stroughter also proved reliable, with two catches for 27 yards, including a 16-yard pickup.

But if Spurlock is dominating the conversation, that means the Bucs aren't getting much from Arrelious Benn, a second-round draft pick who hadn't caught a pass this preseason until midway through the fourth quarter. Benn played mostly on special teams before that, perhaps an indication the coaches lack confidence in him.

Elsewhere, Michael Clayton, who remains on the bubble, caught one pass for 5 yards, Reggie Brown caught one for 12 yards, and Terrence Nunn caught one pass for a 5-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

None of those performances was notable, meaning the dropoff after Williams and Stroughter remains sizable.

Tampa Bay Bucs learn little new about receivers in preseason win over Kansas City Chiefs 08/21/10 [Last modified: Saturday, August 28, 2010 6:10pm]
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