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Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Wright may be struggling in new role

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— Luke Stocker was the first Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end to have a pass thrown his way against Miami on Saturday night. Brandon Myers was the second and rookie Austin Seferian-Jenkins was third.

So where was second-year pro Tim Wright?

His first chance to catch a pass came in the third quarter, and there was a reason for that. Though Wright’s place on the roster still seems secure, his chances of making an impact as a pass catcher may be in jeopardy.

The Bucs have a specific role set aside for Wright, a former Rutgers receiver who is still learning the tight end position, but on Saturday he was coming off a tough week of work that cost him a chance to play that role.

“He hasn’t played as well as Tim should be playing,’’ Bucs coach Lovie Smith said of Wright, who had a near breakout season as a rookie last year, catching 54 passes for 571 yards and five touchdowns.

“He’s dropped some balls (in practice). And he hasn’t blocked as well inside. But Tim is still a big part of what we want to do with the two-receiver, two- tight-end set.’’

Wright’s part in that set is to play the role of the H-back, which means he has to block well enough to keep defenses from treating him like a receiver and catch well enough to draw a defensive back away from another target.

What Wright has struggled with in recent days is the ability to carry out his assignments in both areas. That’s allowed Stocker and even fullback Jorvorskie Lane to get some reps that might otherwise go to Wright.

The good news is that Wright still has plenty of time to put his recent struggles behind him. The Bucs are too enamored with his skill set to give up on him after a couple of tough days in training camp.

“Tim’s a good player,’’ Smith said. “He just hasn’t played as well as he needs to lately.’’

rcummings@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7979

Twitter: @RcummingsTBO

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