While the Bucs coaching staff will be spending an plenty of hours evaluating which wide outs will suite their game plan the best, the tight end position appears to be shaping itself out. With the continued growth of Cameron Brate, the future for Brate is looking bright.
An undrafted free agent in 2014, Brate has continued to learn the highly utilized tight end strategy of the Koetter offensive playbook. Although Brate may not yet hold a first string position (before minicamp), and took his reps with the second string unit and QB Mike Glennon during OTA’s and minicamp, he showed his dependability during the end of the 2015 season.
With untimely injuries to V-Jax, Evans, Murphy, and ASJ, Brate became not only a security blanket for Winston, but also a reliable red-zone target. And, although his ‘statistics’ don’t jump off the page, hauling in 23 catches for 288 and 3 TD’s for the season, more importantly, it demonstrated a dependable connection for Winston’s passes via Koetter’s play calling.
Not surprisingly, Brate has continued to emerge into the offensive plans as a serious contender to solidify the top sort at tight end. During the last couple of minicamp last week, he caught some quality passes especially during red-zone drills, showing great awareness and route versatility. On the last day of minicamp, Brate was praised by his HC and OC.
Between now and opening day the Bucs’ roster will inevitably change like the proverbial ‘tide’. ASJ can still prove all his dissenters wrong. And by staying physically and mentally equipped during the season, he can possibly display his expected potential. But with some uncertainty even with that, including ‘annual’ Mike Evans hamstring issues, an aging Vincent Jackson, and younger receivers increasingly picking up their assignment, it’s comforting to have player like Cameron Brate in the huddle.
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