Flynn's Focus

April 14 - Jon Gruden is looking for a few good receivers to line up next to Keyshawn Johnson this season. The competition is wide open, and Milton Wynn is just one of the receivers trying to battle his way into the rotation. Wynn favors the instruction of new receivers coach Richard Mann over former coach Charlie Williams, saying, "I've already learned a lot more in this one week than all of last season combined." Find out what else Wynn had to say in this installment of Flynn's Focus.

There weren't too many people who knew who Milton Wynn was before January 6, 2002. Tampa Bay hosted Philadelphia in the regular season finale for both teams on that Sunday night in a game that probably had less meaning than a NFL preseason game. The Bucs lost the game, but Wynn won the attention of Bucs fans and his teammates.

St. Louis waived the fourth round selection out of Washington State during last year's preseason, but Tampa Bay picked him up on September 3, 2001. Ironically, the Buccaneers, who were set to pick with the 117th overall selection in last year's draft, were eyeing Wynn in the fourth round, but St. Louis grabbed him with the 116th overall pick. Wynn was inactive for 15 of Tampa Bay's 16 games during his rookie season, but he made the most of his NFL debut against the Eagles by hauling in four passes for 69 yards.

At last weekend's mini-camp, Wynn observed how animate Gruden is about receiving solid play from his wide receivers. Wynn, along with every other wide receiver, received an earful during last weekend's workouts.

"Somebody in this receiving corps has to step up, and then somebody else has to, and then another guy has to," said Gruden. "We1re going to work hard and develop some players there, and we1re going to go get some more if we have to."

Gruden didn't take long to add more receivers to his roster when he signed Joe Jurevicius the Monday after mini-camp concluded. In addition to Jurevicius, Wynn is competing with the likes of wide receivers Frank Murphy, Keith Poole, E.G. Green and Darryl Daniel. Tampa Bay could possibly add another wide receiver through this weekend's NFL Draft and even through free agency, when Keenan McCardell (Jacksonville) and Derrick Alexander (Kansas City) are released by their respective teams on June 1. Wynn welcomes the competition, and thinks the addition of other wide receivers will only make him better.

"I like the intensity of Coach Gruden," said Wynn. "It seems like guys are a little more hungry now, especially on the offensive side of the ball. We're competing a lot more and we're a lot more aggressive. So far, we've learned a lot, but we have a lot more to learn. But so far, it's going well."

Gruden's offense is the third offense Wynn will learn in less than one year, but after just one mini-camp, he feels he knows it the best.

"This is my third offense in a time span of one year," said Wynn. "But actually, I've only had this offense a week now, but I probably know it the best. It just makes sense. It isn't just a whole bunch of words thrown out there. The "X" receivers compliment the "Z" receivers' routes, and we've got backs coming out of the backfield. The tight end route might compliment the "Z" route.

"I'm a little more hungry, too, having sat around all last year. So, maybe I might be in my playbook a little bit more or maybe I might be studying a little more film. I'm just trying real hard because I see the opportunity that I have here."

Wynn has also taken a liking to new Bucs wide receivers coach Richard Mann, who noticeably coached his receivers in a much more hands-on and detail-oriented fashion during the team's first mini-camp as opposed to the way Mann's predecessor, Charlie Williams, coached.

"Charlie was a good man," said Wynn. "I liked him as a person. But Richard is a lot more technical. He's a technician-type guy, a fundamental-type guy. He really knows the receiver position. He's taught us a lot so far. I've already learned a lot more in this one week than all of last season combined. He's a real fundamentally sound receiver coach."

Wynn's 6-foot-2, 212-pound frame certainly bodes well for the second-year pro, but he's going to have to catch the eye of his new offensive coaching staff throughout the offseason just as he did during last year's Eagles-Bucs game if he intends on securing a spot in Tampa Bay's wide receiver rotation next season.

Click here to view Tampa Bay's current 2002 roster.

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