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Tampa Bay Bucs receivers working on cutting down dropped passes

Bucs receiver Mike Williams, officially with five drops, says he has seven and believes he has identified the problem.

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Bucs receiver Mike Williams, officially with five drops, says he has seven and believes he has identified the problem.

TAMPA — There have been a few issues that have hampered the Bucs offense this season, from penalties to turnovers.

But another unexpected problem has been drops. Tampa Bay ranks fourth in the league with 15 dropped passes, five by WR Mike Williams (fourth among receivers), according to ESPN Stats & Information.

"I know we've got a couple more than we usually have," coach Raheem Morris said. "We've had some key ones, some clutch ones. I guess you have to say anytime you drop a ball it's kind of shocking. We're professionals. You want to catch all of them. … I wouldn't say it was a hindrance on what we've got to do, but it certainly doesn't help us."

Williams said he has seven drops, which would tie him for the league lead with Falcons WR Roddy White. Williams said he's not "bringing it all the way in" with his eyes and has been working on it with receivers coach Eric Yarber.

The drops haven't been relegated to just the offense. The defense also has missed out on several opportunities for interceptions. Morris said cornerbacks Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib have emphasized fixing the issue with drills in practices.

"Missed opps are very high right now," Morris said. " … If you don't have all those missed opps vs. Detroit, you could have a different result. They haven't all been just cakewalk drops, but they have higher standards for themselves."

ACTION JACKSON: When the team gave Tanard Jackson his contract extension last week, it was both a football and a personal decision. It means the club wanted to shore up its safety position for 2012, and how better to do that than locking up a player who has started 56 games for them. But, for Jackson, the move meant more on a personal level because it sent a message.

Even though Jackson, 26, only just returned from his second drug-related NFL suspension, the team's willingness to do the deal demonstrated that it believes his vow to stay clean.

"It's just more of what I've been saying all along: They just stayed by me and showed me they're behind me through everything I've been through," said the fourth-year player out of Syracuse. "I'll tell you, words can't describe how I felt when they came to me and offered me another year despite going through what I've been through. It's really a blessing to be a part of this organization."

Gm Mark Dominik, speaking mostly from a football standpoint, said it was a deal that felt right.

"It made sense to his agent, (and) it made sense to us to get another year on his deal," Dominik said. "I would say that he's a guy that we would like to have around here."

MEDICAL MATTERS: DT Frank Okam left practice with a calf injury. DT Brian Price had migraines and did not participate. Morris said Jackson, who left the Bears game on Oct. 23 with a hamstring injury, has been moving around well in practice. Jeremy Zuttah (knee) did not practice, but Morris said the guard has been better than expected and feels good about his recovery.

Times staff writer Stephen Holder contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com

Tampa Bay Bucs receivers working on cutting down dropped passes 11/02/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 10:28pm]
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