Early in Buccaneers’ training camp, there has been high praise for Cameron Brate. Could he be making his way into the starting lineup?
The Buccaneers have just finished minicamp and we head into the final break before training camp begins. Dirk Koetter has led his first set of practices and is now preparing for his first camp as head coach of the Bucs. Who is going to win the position battles? We will find out soon, although not soon enough, am I right?
Heading out of minicamp, we may have gotten a hint as to how the tight end position is going to turn out.
The problems that have besieged Austin Seferian-Jenkins have been well documented. He hasn’t been able to stay on the field, active for only 16 games over his first two seasons. James Yarcho wrote about ASJ’s need to grow up after getting kicked off of the practice field just the other day. Now, he may be losing his presumptive starting role.
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After solid work in 2015, Cameron Brate has looked strong so far this off-season. After posting a one-handed catch for a touchdown on a Jameis Winston pass in the end zone, coach Koetter had this to say about Brate, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times:
"“Cam has got an uncanny ability to show up in the red zone and we saw that again today,” coach Dirk Koetter said."
Could we be seeing Brate as more than just a red zone weapon? Might he make such a solid mark with Koetter and the staff that he becomes the starting tight end? It’s not impossible.
Take a look at Brate’s performance last year. He became a favorite target of Winston, and with good reason. In 30 targets, he caught 23 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns. Catching almost 77% of his targets makes Brate the picture of reliability. Add that to the fact that he stands at 6’5″, and it’s no wonder that Winston took a liking to throwing the ball in his direction.
It’s early, but Seferian-Jenkins has yet to prove himself a reliable weapon on the field. He may have the most potential, but they need someone consistent that can take some of the heat off of Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. Cameron Brate has the potential to be that guy.