The wait may finally be over. There has been a lot of excitement surrounding everything that has happened throughout the preseason. The Bucs played a great game against the Chiefs in their first preseason contest, and exposed their weaknesses against the Patriots the following weekend. You may have noticed, however, that there are still some pieces missing. Three of last year’s stars have not been mentioned playing in these games. Brain Price, Kellen Winslow, and Arrelious Benn have all not participated in any of the preseason games thus far. Winslow and Benn were key components to what was developing into a strong offensive unit last season. Winslow has endured six surgeries on his knees. Although he is healthy, the coaches feel more comfortable in being careful with their franchise quarterback’s favorite target. Benn, on the other hand, was the second round pick that the Bucs refused to miss out on. They were aggressive in trading away their 5th round pick to move up and secure Benn as a Buccaneer.
Benn had a slow development at first, and was over shadowed by the rise of rookie wide out, Mike Williams. Throughout the first eleven games played, Benn was only able to record 195 yards. His final four games he participated it, he was able to record 200 yards. Unfortunately for Benn, his rise faced a dead end when he suffered a torn ACL during the game against the Seahawks in week 16 last season. Since then, he has been mentioned to have had a miraculous recovery, and has demonstrated confidence in his rehabilitation.
In Benn’s absence, another wide receiver had taken advantage of an opportunity to showcase his talents. After being selected as the 6th round pick to the Bengals, Dezmon Briscoe was released in the final roster cuts and immediately signed to the Buccaneers. Ever since Benn was placed on IR (Injured Reserve), Briscoe has made an impact in the offense. In the final two games of the season, he recorded 6 catches for 93 yards. In just the last game facing the Saints, Briscoe caught 4 passes for 65 yards and 1 TD. One of those catches was for 54 yards. For his touchdown catch, he stretched out just beyond the reach of Saints defensive back, Jabari Greer, and managed to drag both feet inside the endzone to secure the touchdown. There have been some concerns with his motivation and drive during the offseason, but those concerns were put to rest when he recorded 4 catches for 60 yards in the first preseason game against the Chiefs.
Benn is expected to make his debut this Saturday against the Dolphins. Although the coaching staff has mentioned that his spot is on hold for him, it’s hard to ignore all the potential Briscoe has showcased. If Benn does start against the Dolphins, he most likely will play a small number of snaps due to the coaching staff’s decision in not rushing him back into the line up. Briscoe could see the majority of playing time throughout the rest of the preseason, and maybe even through the beginning of the regular season. I would love to see Benn return to display his full potential and Briscoe be placed as the slot receiver. With Williams, Benn, Briscoe, and Blount on the field at once, that could create some good match up challenges to their opposition. The offense could be even better than it was last season.