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Scotty Miller has thrived in his backup role before

The Bucs receiver may be forced to play for Antonio Brown, who is on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Scotty Miller is a home-run hitter, with 4.4 speed and well quipped to run past any defender.
Scotty Miller is a home-run hitter, with 4.4 speed and well quipped to run past any defender. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Sep. 24
Updated Sep. 24

TAMPA — Scotty Miller is one of the quietest receivers in the NFL ― he hasn’t complained once about getting zero targets the first two weeks — but there’s nothing subtle about his game.

Miller is a home-run hitter, with 4.4 speed and well quipped to run past any defender. Normally when he makes a big play, it’s one that changes the scoreboard.

Antonio Brown is “very questionable” for Sunday’s game at Los Angeles against the Rams, according to Bruce Arians, as he remains on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

When Brown was unable to play in the NFC Championship Game, there was a lot of hand-wringing. That was before Miller produced arguably the second-biggest play in franchise history.

On the final play of the first half, Miller caught a 39-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady, running by Packers cornerback Kevin King.

The play gave the Bucs an 11-point lead in a 31-26 victory that put them into the Super Bowl.

“Yeah, that was probably the biggest one, but that’s what we do every day,” Miller said. “That’s what I’m expected to do when I’m in the game.”

Brown was off to a good start with the Bucs, catching six passes for 138 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the 31-29 win over the Cowboys in Week 1.

However, if the Bucs can sustain an injury to a position group, it’s at receiver.

Tyler Johnson had his first catch Sunday, a five-yard reception against the Falcons. It may take both of them to make up for the loss of Brown, who needs two negative COVID-19 tests at least 24 hours apart.

“It’s hard to replace (Brown), just his energy and stuff,” said quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen. “He’s just made plays ever since he’s been here. So, someone has to step up and make those plays. I do think if you’re going to lose someone, that’s one of our deep positions.

“At least we have some experienced guys there, (Tyler Johnson) and Scotty (Miller), and maybe give the rookie (Jaelon Darden) a snap or two and see what happens there. ...Some of the other positions, it would’ve been a little bit scarier, if you will.”

Miller finished with 33 catches for 501 yards and three touchdowns last season. He said he developed chemistry with Brady starting from their early days working out at Berkeley Prep.

“I’m just really excited to go out there and get some opportunities, hopefully,” Miller said. “I always try to stay ready no matter what, because you never know when your opportunity is going to come. It could’ve came Week 1 or Week 2, but I didn’t happen to get the ball thrown my way. This week I’ll be ready, and if it does, hopefully I will be able to make the play.”

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