Biddle's speed could add to return game

Bucs WR Taye Biddle

Taye Biddle, the Buccaneers' newest wide receiver, showed up on Monday eager to digest the Buccaneers' playbook. The second-year wide receiver could also add to the return game, which is currently going to be handled by a committee of veterans.

Taye Biddle has barely cracked Jon Gruden's complicated playbook. But there are already questions about whether Biddle may be able to help the Tampa Bay's complicated kick and punt return situation.

The Buccaneers signed Biddle on Sunday, one day after the Carolina Panthers cut the second-year pro.

Biddle found out about 2 p.m. Sunday that he would be coming to Tampa. After a quick trip through the locker room to meet his new teammates Monday morning, he was on his way to pick up his playbook.

"It was weird at first. But after getting in here and meeting everybody, it feels pretty good," Biddle said. "I'm already used to it. I like what I see."

The Buccaneers must have liked what they saw out of Biddle this preseason. He made a splash in the Panthers' preseason contest against the New York Giants on Aug. 10, catching two passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns in the game. But it wasn't enough to earn Biddle a spot on a roster jammed with receivers.

Gruden said the addition of Biddle gives the Bucs three speedy deep threats, along with Joey Galloway and David Boston.

"The guy can run, really run," Gruden said. "He has some return ability and a guy that has rare speed. We're excited to work with him. You can never have enough of that."

Biddle played in just two games for Carolina last season, registering three catches for 37 yards. He does not have a regular-season kickoff or punt return to his credit, and according to stats compiled by NFL.com, he did not have a kickoff or punt return in the preseason.

But his speed and receiving ability automatically makes him a candidate to help in both areas. After the release of Mark Jones on Saturday, Gruden told the media that Ike Hilliard, Joey Galloway and Phillip Buchanon would form a "return" committee.

Biddle admitted that he's more comfortable with punts at this point.

"Punts are more my specialty, but I did both," Biddle said.

Of as much interest to Biddle is the opportunity to work with Galloway, who at age 35 is still one of the league's fastest players. Biddle is eager to compare Galloway to Steve Smith, the Panthers' deep threat and a mentor to Biddle since the Mississippi product arrived in Carolina.

"I learned a lot of the fine, little techniques that he (Smith) does, the stuff that he sees through his eyes," Biddle said. "He would sit down with me and break things down during meetings. He taught me how to watch film. There are little things that he does to actually master (the deep route). I'm sure there are some techniques that Joey does, too, so I'm going to try and pick that up and make my game better."


Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association and has won national awards for his Buccaneers coverage from the PFWA, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is also a contributor to the Scot Brantley Show from 4-7 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1490-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.

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