Unleashing Tom CrabtreeNovember 22nd, 2013
Look out! Free agent tight end Tom Crabtree is coming from Green Bay and he’s going to help stretch the field and be a punishing blocker and the Bucs have studied his film and found a hidden gem. … That’s what Bucs fans heard often this spring and summer from Greg Schiano and rockstar general manager Mark Dominik.
Will it ever happen?
Crabtree went down with a bad ankle sprain late in preseason while lined up as a fullback. It was the “worst possible timing,” Crabtree told Joe yesterday. “That’s right at the point where you’re hoping to peak physically to start of the season, and I was there, as well as achieving a complete understanding of the offense,” he said.
Crabtree was lost for more than a month and only got his health back fully a few weeks ago. He’s been part of the Bucs’ revived running game, but he’s been invisible in the passing game despite playing a load of snaps.
Coach Schiano, is Crabtree healthy enough to be unleashed? Joe asked yesterday.
“That’s a good point. I was just thinking that on the practice field the other day. Because it’s been like a couple of weeks where I haven’t heard in the injury report and anything that the [ankle's] bothering him. And you can see an increased level of play,” Schiano said. “I don’t know if he’s all the way back, but I think you’re right on in that observation. He’s getting real close to being where he was.
“I can think back to how excited we were about Tom at a point in the spring and in training camp. And then when he got injured, it’s a long road back. That’s been a nagging injury. So I’m optimistic there.”
Crabtree says he’s healthy and ready to show his worth in the passing game. Playing 50 or so snaps per game the last few weeks, he said, should be enough evidence of his health.
Joe’s interested to watch Crabtree in the final six games. If he can prove to be valuable, then he’ll become another plus on the offseason report card of Dominik and Schiano. Right now, Crabtree gets an incomplete.