Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano likes what he has seen from receiver Mike Williams

Receiver Mike Williams, avoiding linebacker Adam Hayward, will line up on the outside after two years on the inside.
Receiver Mike Williams, avoiding linebacker Adam Hayward, will line up on the outside after two years on the inside.
Published Aug. 2, 2012

TAMPA — With the Bucs nearing the goal line during a two-minute drill late in Wednesday's practice, WR Mike Williams delivered.

Williams broke free from CB Myron Lewis, headed to the left corner of the end zone and made a back-shoulder catch of a Josh Freeman pass, sparking a celebration with teammates.

"Certainly that last play is an NFL play," coach Greg Schiano said.

"That's what we need to be able to do in practice. It gives us a chance to do it in the game."

Though Williams matched his rookie production with 65 receptions last season, he said his play wasn't good enough. The 2010 fourth-round pick's touchdowns fell from 11 to three, and his eight dropped passes were third in the league.

Schiano said he has liked what he has seen so far from Williams, whose role changed with the signing of receiver Vincent Jackson.

"I consider myself a receiver, not just an outside receiver," Williams said.

"I've adjusted pretty well. The way I can move around and be in the slot and be in the tight end position, it feels good. It's like, 'You've got a linebacker on you now. I can get an easy route right here.' "

SAFETY FIRST: Bucs quarterbacks had to brace themselves for playing under Schiano.

During practice and the regular season, Schiano will require them to wear a brace on their front knee, which for right-handed passers is the left leg.

"When you're throwing the ball and then you follow through and that leg is standing there, people roll into you," Schiano said. "It doesn't guarantee anything, but it gives you a little better chance."

In the first game of 2008, Patriots QB Tom Brady tore his left ACL when struck by a pass-rusher.

McCOY praised: Schiano said he has been impressed with DT Gerald McCoy, the No. 3 overall pick in 2010 whose two seasons have been cut short due to biceps tears.

"I think Gerald has practiced really well," Schiano said. "He's got elite get-off (quickness). I haven't been around a lot of guys like that; maybe two or three. We just need to keep working and developing on technique things. I think he'd be further along had he not had the injuries both years. Repetitions are what lets you get good at those techniques. I think he can be a really special player."

PRACTICE REPORT: DE Michael Bennett, who had offseason foot surgery, slowly walked off the field with a trainer before the end of practice. Schiano said he hopes it was just heat related. … OT Mike Ingersoll, who spent time on the practice squad last season, injured his left knee and was carted off. His status was unknown. … CB Eric Wright was back at practice and seemingly unaffected by the undisclosed condition that prompted him to leave early Monday. … DT Gary Gibson (undisclosed) and CB Derrick Roberson (strained hamstring) returned. Roberson was activated from the physically unable to perform list.

Times staff writer Rick Stroud contributed to this report.