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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs notes: Freeman looking to find more options

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Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 10:43 PM
TAMPA -

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman is confident he will have more options as the season progresses.

Freeman's favorite targets have been WR Mike Williams and TE Kellen Winslow. Of Freeman's 25 touchdown passes last year, Williams caught 11 and Winslow five.

Arrelious Benn and Micheal Spurlock each had two touchdown receptions last year, while LT Donald Penn had one — as many as WR Dezmon Briscoe and former Bucs WR Maurice Stovall.

In last week's season-opening loss to Detroit, Winslow had six receptions for 66 yards and Williams four for 50 yards and one touchdown.

"Kellen and Mike are just big, physical guys with great ball skills," Freeman said. "When you put them in those situations where it gets kind of hairy and there is a guy draped all over them, you give them a high ball and those guys more often than not are going to come down with the ball.

"Arrelious is developing still. He's dong a great job. He was huge for us last year and we expect nothing less from him this year. In terms of just physical talent, just straight-up ball skills, Kellen and Mike are our two best guys."

Benn, who had four receptions for 27 yards against Detroit, said the other receivers need to step up. He expects everyone to make more contributions as the season progresses.

"We're still out there trying to prove something," Benn said. "We have a young team, we have a young quarterback and a lot of young guys around him, so we're working to get to that point where we all mesh together the way we need to.

"We're going to get there. It's still earlier in the season. It takes practice, and we're slowly but surely getting there and we're going to be where we need to be."

Playing with pain

Brian Price doesn't consider himself much of a talker. The nose tackle likes to speak through his actions, and his most recent actions say something rather remarkable.

Price, who spent the entire offseason rehabbing from a surgical procedure to reattach his hamstrings to his pelvis, revealed Thursday he is "nowhere near'' 100 percent healthy.

"I'm probably more like 60 or 65 percent,'' said Price, who has nonetheless leap-frogged Roy Miller into the top spot on the Bucs' depth chart at nose tackle. "I'm still playing in a lot of pain, so right now it's just a grind."

Price ground out a good enough game to move up the depth chart last week despite going down early in the second half with what was initially described as an upper leg cramp.

"I wouldn't call it a cramp,'' Price said without elaborating further. "I stay pretty hydrated. But it wasn't scary at all. I wanted to go back in and play, but (the trainers) wouldn't let me.''

Bucs coach Raheem Morris has raved about Price's play all week, but said he will limit him to about 35-40 snaps this week. Miller, meanwhile, is eager to prove himself again.

"Brian deserves it,'' Miller said of the start. "I could have had a better game last week, and so right now I'm like a prisoner, scratching off each day on the calendar. I have a lot to get off my chest in this game.''

Inside the Trop

The Bucs held practice at Tropicana Field on Thursday, something they did several times last season. This week's outing will help the team prepare to play in the Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Morris said.

"We went over to steal some of that coach (Joe) Maddon glow," Morris said. "I went and sat in his seat and rubbed around a little bit, rubbed in that dust. Now we're back over here and ready to go."

Injury report

Bucs CB Myron Lewis (ankle) did not practice. DE Da'Quan Bowers (shoulder) was limited, but his injury is minor, Morris said. Winslow was given the day off and WR Sammie Stroughter (foot) is out.

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