Wide Receiver Race Heads Down The Stretch

Charles Lee

<A HREF=[PlayerNode:791947]>Charles Lee</A>'s ability to stretch the field makes him the man to beat on the bottom half of the wide receiver depth chart. The last week of two-a-days showed that Lee plays even bigger than his 6'3", 227 measurements would indicate by repeatedly going up over defensive backs to make spectacular catches.

The Bucs have a history of deep threats that ended up being anything but a threat. Nightmares of Hurricane Copeland/Thomas dropping footballs like rain are still a part of Buccaneer lore. This year the dreams should be much sweeter due to the attention that Keyshawn Johnson is sure to draw from opposing defenses. Lee has the tools to exploit this situation, all that remains to be seen is whether or not he will have a chance to break the deep ball jinx and rewrite his own chapter in Buccaneer lore.

No Buccaneers wide receiver conversation is complete without speaking the truth. Karl Williams is always a sentimental favorite amongst fans, but over the years his ability has earned his roster spot; not popular sentiment. In the last week of practice at Disney's Wide World of Sports Williams proved he could catch the deep ball by burning Corey Ivy down the sideline for a touchdown. Williams' best attribute is his special teams contribution as kick returner. The Truth has proven he can take punts back for touchdowns and until another Buc can do the same the roster spot will belong to Williams. This does not bode well for Reggie Barlow who has had difficulty hanging on to the football his entire eight-year career.

Barlow has been around for so long because he shows flares of greatness when he is not putting the ball on the deck. Barlow fumbled against Miami last week but made up for it by muffing punts at practice the following week. When Williams is awaiting a punt the crowd collectively holds their breath to see if there will be a touchdown, when Barlow is awaiting a punt the crowd holds their breaths in anticipation of a turnover. The fact remains that people remember what you do last so a touchdown return in a preseason game will be the only thing that will land Barlow on the roster.

As camp comes to a close the Bucs five best receivers are Johnson, Keenan McCardell, Joe Jurevicius, Williams, and Lee. A break out game for rookie Fabian Davis could shake things up and bury former Gator Jacquez Green for good. The stretch run begins tonight against the hated Rams. Gentlemen… start your engines.

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