The Bucs’ fanbase is no longer a patient one. They are tired of losing, tired of seeing their draft picks and future falter. If he doesn’t have a big year, Bucs fans will soon turn on Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
We know the potential. We know the talent. We know the production value when he’s on the field. Despite all of that, we also know that Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been on this team for two seasons and played in only sixteen games, starting in twelve of them. Injuries are part of the game and aren’t necessarily the fault of the player, but Buccaneers fans don’t want to hear about injuries and ASJ anymore.
They want results on the field from a guy that was supposed to be Tampa Bay’s “Gronk”.
Now, Seferian-Jenkins has become a “high injury risk” according to sportsinjurypredictor.com, garnering a rating of 87%. He broke his foot in college, re-injured it his rookie season, and missed eleven weeks in 2015 with an injured shoulder. Outside of missing an entire season in his first two years with injuries, ASJ also needs to take his game to the next level.
For his career, Seferian-Jenkins has 42 receptions on 77 targets for 559 yards and six touchdowns. Not really stellar numbers, however 30 of his 42 receptions resulted in first downs, eighteen of those in 2015. This shows that, when he plays, he is a trusted target for Jameis Winston, especially on crucial third downs when the chains have to be moved. This is an important thing to build on heading into 2016.
We’ve seen players deal with constant injuries in their first two seasons and move on to become Pro Bowl players (ahem…Gerald McCoy…) for this team. I, for one, have not given up on Seferian-Jenkins but understand how crucial this season is for him, as well as the Buccaneers. Some fans have already labeled ASJ a bust, but I still feel that label is premature. That being said, this is a make or break season for ASJ. If he can’t stay healthy, he can’t produce. If he can’t produce, he can’t help the team win. If he can’t help the team win, they will move on and find someone who can.
This franchise isn’t interested in waiting anymore. The fans definitely aren’t interested in waiting anymore. You only get so many chances on a team in the NFL before they move on and find someone to do what you were supposed to and couldn’t. Bucs fans need to hope that ASJ becomes they player the Buccaneers thought he would when he was drafted. If he does, it will mean big things for this Buccaneers team.