Tight Ends Have Been Unsung Heroes

Becht and Smith have played a key role in Bucs success this season

By Jeff Berlinicke

TAMPA - Whether Bucs fans want to credit Chris Simms' consistency for their success this year, there have been some other unsung heroes along the way.

You know all about Cadillac Williams and the recently steady offensive line, but perhaps the two most unsung heroes on the team are tight ends Anthony Becht and rookie Alex Smith.

Smith, a mid-round draft pick out of Fresno State, caught two touchdown passes in the season-opening win over Minnesota. Becht has been steady all year, playing in the shadows of streaky wide receiver Joey Galloway. While Galloway has been the playmaker, turning short catches into touchdowns, Becht and Smith have been the clutch go-to guys, something like Joe Jurevicius was during his days with the Bucs.

Both come with a small problem. Neither Smith nor Becht block very well. Becht missed a key block in the home loss to Chicago three weeks ago that caused a Simms fumble on the first drive of the game. Smith comes from a school that passes on almost every down and needs to learn more blocking skills, but that can come with experience.

On the season, Becht has only 14 catches while Smith has 28, but both have come up with big plays on third down situations. They've also given Simms the opportunity to look underneath wile Galloway and Michael Clayton go deep. Neither Smith nor Becht is going to break the big play, but they have the ability to give Simms another option.

Becht has always been known for his blocking. Despite the gaffe against the Bears, Becht has held the starting positional season, just like he did in his five years with the New York Jets.

Smith, on the other hand, made a quick name for himself in that breakout performance against the Vikings, and has had flashes of success ever since.

The Bucs haven't had a lot of success at tight end since the days of Jimmie Giles, but the current crop has been getting it done both in front of and behind the scenes.

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