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  1. Bucs

Bucs position battles; Defining the receiver competition

Bucs wide receiver Josh Huff makes a juggling catch as cornerback Robert McClain closes in Tuesday at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
Bucs wide receiver Josh Huff makes a juggling catch as cornerback Robert McClain closes in Tuesday at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
Published Aug. 21, 2017

TAMPA — The Bucs' top four receivers are etched in granite with Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries and rookie Chris Godwin.

But the drive for No. 5 has turned into quite a competition. In Thursday's 12-8 preseason win at Jacksonville, it was Bernard Reedy who stood out with a 29-yard kickoff return and two receptions for 16 yards. In Sunday's practice, it was Josh Huff's turn, as the former Eagles kick returner/receiver had a good day catching the football.

Freddie Martino stepped into a big role late last season and finished with eight catches for 142 yards, including a touchdown in a win over the Chicago Bears.

So what will determine that fifth spot? Special teams or the ability to play receiver?

"We've got to just have the best players," coach Dirk Koetter said. "The fifth receiver, they've got to be able to play special teams but they also got to be able to go in and play all three spots.

"(Huff) had a really nice day. Josh Huff and Freddie both, and Reedy. Again, those three guys have been the most consistent."

Huff, who was released by the Eagles after an arrest, joined the Bucs in the middle of the season. He spent a month on the practice squad before being promoted and playing in the final three games, totaling three catches for 41 yards and six kickoff returns for 72 yards.

With a DUI citation in New Jersey dismissed, Huff said he has been focused all off-season on learning the Bucs offense.

"You see everybody out here putting in the extra work just to try and better this team, and if we can't make this team, obviously we'll hope to make another team and make that team better," Huff said. "I'm way more comfortable than I was back in November when I came. A lot of things going on when I came but that's all behind me now and I had all of the off-season and the spring to get better."

Contact Rick Stroud at stroudbucs@aol.com. Follow @NFLStroud

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