TAMPA — Tim Wright switched from receiver to tight end last year and as a rookie finished second on the Bucs in receptions (54), receiving yards (571) and touchdowns (five). But this preseason, quarterbacks can't find him and he is in danger of disappearing from the roster.
"I'll just kind of jump on where he's been. He hasn't played as well as he should be playing," Bucs coach Lovie Smith said. "He's dropped some balls. If you've been watching him at practice, he's dropped balls. He's a big part of what we want to do with the two-receiver, two-tight end set. Tim hasn't blocked as well inside.
"Once you're that H-back and you don't block, now they just say you're another receiver and teams start going nickel against you. But if they do that, you have to at least be a good pass catcher. And Tim is a good player, he just hasn't played as well as he needs to lately."
Wright played only 17 offensive snaps in Saturday's 20-14 preseason loss to the Dolphins. He was targeted twice, catching one pass for 5 yards.
When the Bucs go with three receivers, they have been Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Chris Owusu. Wright has been behind TEs Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Brandon Myers.
Injuries: A week ago they had a stockpile, but now the Bucs might be in the market for a running back.
Mike James suffered a shoulder injury against the Dolphins and probably won't play Saturday at Buffalo, Smith said. "I've got to be careful what I say right now, but we're not in as good of shape as we were before," Smith said.
DE William Gholston (shoulder) won't play against the Bills. "It's going to be a while for him," Smith said.
CB Rashaan Melvin (ankle) and S Major Wright (back) also did not finish against Miami. Smith said CB Alterraun Verner will practice and could play this week. DE Steven Means (groin) and DL Da'Quan Bowers (groin) are making progress.
Contact Rick Stroud at firstname.lastname@example.org and listen from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-AM 620.