Buccaneers tight end Luke Stocker began the yesterday’s practice in good health but that’s not how it ended for him. As a result, Stocker sat out today’s padded practice in sweltering heat.
Yesterday, Stocker practiced in full, but at some point during the practice, he came up lame and had to walk off the field. Stocker did walk off under his own power, which is encouraging. But he didn’t practice today, lending to the theory that Stocker suffered a significant injury.
Don’t read too much into that and change significant into severe. The bottom line is Stocker sat out practice as a result of an injury he suffered on Monday.
The focus shouldn’t be on today, it should be on the future. Stocker is a guy that the Bucs want as a staple tight end. They drafted him high enough to warrant that sort of expectation. Even with Dallas Clark in town, Stocker is the guy of the future for the Bucs. He still has time to grow into his role with Tampa, and his first years with the team shouldn’t be taken as a true representation of his role or talents.
In fact, one of the reasons that Bucs brought in Clark was to show Stocker the ropes in a way. Stocker is significantly taller than Clark, but Clark still managed to be a top weapon in Peyton manning’s offense for so many years. The hope is that Clark can teach Stocker to be a taller version of himself — something Josh Freeman will very much enjoy.
Greg Schiano is running a new system and he’s implied the whole way through that Stocker will be a part of that. This injury is just a set back but it’s a noteworthy given Stocker’s significance to this offense.