TAMPA — Bucs rookie wide receiver Scotty Miller returned to practice Monday after missing two weeks, including both of the team’s first two preseason games, with a hamstring injury.
Miller, the 4.3-second 40 time speedster who the Bucs drafted in the sixth round, had a strong spring and opening to training camp before his injury showed his progress. Now, he’s competing for one of the team’s final receiver spots with less than two weeks before rosters are cut to the final 53 players.
“It’s been really tough,” Miller said. “I’ve been here for three months. We’ve been working really hard and to tweak a hamstring the week before the first game is really frustrating. It was really tough on me, but I just tried to keep my spirits up. I just tried to keep my spirits up, just got to try to bounce back, learn mentally when I’m out and hopefully pick up where I left off.”
Bucs coach Bruce Arians said that Miller will have to make up for the time he’s missed.
“He hasn’t played,” Arians said. “He missed two games and a lot of practice time, all that time against the Dolphins. He’s got a lot of making up to do.”
Miller said that he’s still not 100 percent recovered, but hopes to play in Friday’s third preseason game against the Browns on Friday at Raymond James Stadium. On Monday, Miller was limited, but participated in receiving drills and worked on special teams.
“I’m getting there, I’m really close,” Miller said. “I’ve been trying to get as many mental reps as I can trying to watch the older guys and everything, so I feel pretty comfortable with the offense and I’m just really excited to get back to 100 percent healthy and get back and hopefully get into this game on Friday.”
Though he was initially typecast as a slot receiver to help replace Adam Humphries, the Bucs still see Miller more as a player who can stretch the field vertically along with free-agent signing Breshad Perriman. But Arians has said those players who earn the final roster spots will do so by showing their worth on special teams, and Miller will try to do that as a punt returner and gunner in special teams coverage.
"I think it's very important," Miller said. "I think it's going to come down to the return game. So I'm really looking forward to hopefully playing in these last two games and really showing what I can do on special teams and really every phase of the game."
— Arians said he’s never set in stone how much starters will play Friday — first-teamers typically see their most playing time in the third preseason game — but said no starters will play in the final preseason game in Dallas. Arians also said that weather shouldn’t play a factor in determining playing time against the Browns.
— Matt Gay has received both field-goal attempts from 40 yards or farther this preseason, but Cairo Santos will receive the first long attempt Friday. Arians added that there is still a competition for the placekicking job.
— Wide receiver addition Emanuel Hall will play Friday, but won’t necessarily receive any additional snaps because he’s new. “He’ll get a look, but he’s getting a lot of looks in practice,” Arians said.
— The Bucs offensive line depth received some help in practice with the return of guard Ruben Holcomb on a limited basis.
Quote of the Day
"What's it worth? It don't mean anything either way. So if it helps sell tickets, give us some more hype."
Arians when asked whether the Bucs are receiving enough preseason hype, especially considering the amount Friday’s opponent, the Browns, are garnering this preseason.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at email@example.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.