The Slot Receiver

August 12th, 2014
Bucs WR Louis Murphy goes up for a catch in against the Jags last Friday.

Bucs WR Louis Murphy goes up for a catch against the Jags on Friday

Yes, the Bucs are loaded with wide receivers. Joe can’t believe he has typed that previous sentence. Stunner, isn’t it?

With Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans leading the way, the Bucs have the best set of wide receivers since they won the Super Bowl with Keyshawn Johnson, Keenan McCardell and Joe Jurevicius (only Keyshawn was a “Father Dungy player”). The backups seem to be good, too.

When training camp started, Joe thought St. Petersburg native and NFL veteran Louis Murphy was pretty much a lock for the slot receiver job. Then Tommy Streeter came out of nowhere to really push Murphy. Until the last five or six practices, Streeter had outplayed Murphy in practice. Right now, it appears a strong race between the two.

Competition is always good, especially with a slot position not yet decided, Bucs coach Lovie Smith said yesterday.

“We’ve seen good things from Louis [Murphy],” Lovie said. “From the OTAs on, he’s made plays, but we’ve seen good things from a lot of the guys. It’s just a process that you just have to keep going through. They have their moments when you really like some things that they’re able to do. Louis had a couple of big catches and did some good things last week, but that’s pretty much how he’s done. For the players like Louis though – as we look, if you’re one of our starters and you have an idea probably. If you are not, if you’re not, it has to be about more than just that, it has to be about special teams too. Skill positions, wide receiver, tight end, running backs, cornerbacks and linebackers, those backup positions you have to have special teams value also, that goes into the equation too.”

Joe has a hunch that if all things are equal, Lovie would pick Murphy for the No. 3 job just based on his experience. Streeter, however, is intriguing, as is Robert Herron, who after a strong practice and a nice preseason game, returned to his struggles of holding onto the ball yesterday.

This is a position Joe will keep an eye on. If Murphy is the guy, great. Just don’t put him on the field in the red zone.

25 Responses to “The Slot Receiver”

  1. Tom Edrington Says:

    Yes, it’s wonderful to have a bunch of receivers, but the dilemma is:

    Do they have time to actually get open, or better yet, is the quarterback still upright after 2.5 seconds?

  2. Louis Friend Says:

    Tom, in a nutshell you’ve just asked the one question that makes every smart Buc’s fan stomach groan. Right now the answer is no. And that makes them all much less viable.

  3. Joe Says:

    Do they have time to actually get open, or better yet, is the quarterback still upright after 2.5 seconds?

    Sure. Launch the ball in the air and play jumpball. You know, “Duncaneers?”

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Don’t forget the possibility that Sims will be lined up in the slot along with Tim Wright on occaision.

    @ Tom…..I share your concern….but if we have a weak Oline…..isn’t it better to have strengths at other positions.
    Something is telling me that we will solve our Oline problem. Maybe not with a great line….but at least not a bad one.

  5. BucDan Says:

    I’ll defer from Tom’s question above…

    To the receivers, I like Murphy a lot. He’s a veteran that knows what it takes to make plays and stay on the field. I am still looking forward to seeing Herron’s game speed as his main play – the crossing route – was thrown behind him in game 1, negating any real chance at YAC. And it looked like it was going to be a big gain.

    My receiver lineup after preseason game 1 is as follows:
    1. V. Jackson
    2. M. Evans
    3. L. Murphy
    4. R. Herron
    5. T. Streeter
    6. C. Owusu

    That leaves S. Patton on the fringe, but he actually had the best return of game 1, IIRC.

  6. DallasBuc Says:

    Joe- I thought I heard you guys say multiple times on the radio tgat the wide receivers are dropping a lot of passes. So are we loaded with wide receivers that can’t catch or am I missing something?

  7. Tom Edrington Says:

    I think McCown tried that last week and he floated one to the other team for six points.

  8. DB55 Says:

    Yo Joe!

    Like @tom said McCown tried floating one up to the dunccaneer and it got picked off n returned for a TD. I thought wright was in play for the slot, didn’t he line up in the slot on Friday? More so than any other wr, am I wrong?

    Knowing is half the battle…lol

  9. louden Says:

    Loaded on WR? We got V-Jacks and he is in one of his very last seasons and thats pretty much it.
    Mike Evans is a raw big body receiver who´s never played against NFL caliber secondarys.
    We SEEM loaded at the 3rd-5th Receiver spot, though, not with players with sure hands.
    Overall: Okay with this group for the season, BUT, we missed out on getting another capable WR in draft. We should have got that O-liner in the 3rd (like almost all Bucs-fans were assuming, i assume) and got another GOOD WR PROSPECT in the 4th-5th.
    Instead we opted to go for total O-liner projects in the later rounds, plus an speedy lack of hands WR in the last one…. bad value and bad draft plan.

    Its ultimately the GM´s + HC job IMO and most “online draft nerds” can get it done better.
    Are these coaches and managers simply not seeing the forest because all of the trees, or is it sucking by design?
    What the heck is the Scouting department then paid for?
    BS. Laughable – if the bucs wouldn´t be my favorite team to follow.

    Go Bucs! you know better than that!

  10. CreamsicleBananaHammock Says:


    How can you say we’re “loaded” at WR? We have one guy that’s ever done a damn thing in the league and a bunch of guys who’ve never done anything

  11. Matt B Says:

    Creamscile is spot on. How are we loaded at WR? We have a stud in V-Jax. Then we’re talking about starting a rookie opposite him. Then for slot we’re talking about playing either another rookie (Herron), an underachieving mediocre player (Murphy), or guys that couldn’t even make the active rosters of their previous teams (Owusu, Streeter).

  12. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Good comment Louden. I want to see what these guys can do in a real live game situation. Some didn’t show me squat with their drops last Friday night.

  13. Matt B Says:

    What happens if Vincent Jackson goes down? Then we’re talking about how we have the worst group of receivers in the league. Sadly, we have depth at only RB.

  14. Brian D. Says:

    So is Owusu not practicing in the slot at all? Because he would seem to be the favorite considering he’s the #2 receiver right now until Evans inevitably takes his job. Streeter doesn’t have the build for the slot, neither does Owusu really…so if Streeter is still in the mix at that spot then Owusu should be too.

  15. robert9 Says:

    Herrons name seems to pop up a lot. we could use a slippery guy in the slot.

    as for Evans, I am not sold. read a lot about sloppy routes

  16. Louis Friend Says:

    Agreed with Loudon, we’re going to have a lot of guys with great potential – but only one of them has really made his mark in this league. If they get open, hold onto the ball and run their routes properly once the games count – then we can say we’ve got depth. Til then – just promise and potential.

  17. HFXBUC Says:

    The slot WR is ‘a’ guy. Wright, Sims, Evans and Jackson will man the slot by committee and match ups – they’ve all mentioned in interview that they will play the slot from time to time. The 3rd WR’s will need to be an outside guy that can stretch the field. Streeter, Page and Owasu will be 3, 4 and 5 guys.

    We’ve seen what Louis Murhpy can do… next.

  18. jo_mama Says:

    Fire Lovie Smith

    We got Rid of Michael Williams because Lovie could not take him to church on Saturday nights.

    Who cares if he gets arrested and parties and pisses off his neighbors.

    I watch and root for the Bucs to see Wins.

    This team is going to turn into a joke.

    Warren Sapp was all attitude – I see no attitude on this team.

  19. BucDan Says:

    HFXBUC –

    “The slot WR is ‘a’ guy. Wright, Sims, Evans and Jackson will man the slot by committee and match ups – they’ve all mentioned in interview that they will play the slot from time to time. The 3rd WR’s will need to be an outside guy that can stretch the field. Streeter, Page and Owasu will be 3, 4 and 5 guys.

    We’ve seen what Louis Murhpy can do… next.”

    This is true. I have come to see the light after Chip Kelly spoke on depth charts. It is all about the match up and we need to put whoever we need out there for certain plays to work as planned.

  20. BoJim Says:

    Hmmmm. Everyone was down on Lovie in a another article. Now they’re down on our recevers. I think 26 days till season starts, Lovie will have the team ready.

    A Bucs fan.

  21. Lou. Says:

    Does anyone else suspect that Evans may not be gifted the starting spot?

  22. pick6 Says:

    lovie seemingly has that monte kiffin mentality with young players, put the pressure on the veterans to execute while the rookies and 2nd year guys hone their craft as backups when possible. it appears mike evans won’t be rushed, nor will guys like streeter, herron, and sims. they will be put in a position to succeed rather than thrown into the deep end and expected to bail their team out. what a novel idea

  23. BamBamBuc Says:

    Thinking back to some of the better “slot” WRs we’ve had here in the past, Joe Jurevicius and Ike Hilliard, were not exactly the “speedsters” everyone seems to want. They were possession receivers that had a knack for getting open over the middle, never dropped a pass, and had some ability to run after the catch if hit in stride. Now, which of our WRs behind Evans and VJ is that? Which has the desire to go over the middle? Get to the first down marker? Never drop a pass? Most of our guys seem to have issues holding onto the ball. They may have speed, but do they run good routes, do they get open over the middle? I really couldn’t care less if they run a 4.28 40 yard dash, so long as they can do their job.

  24. Bucsfanman Says:

    What’s up with the “debbie-downer” mentality?! Can anyone argue that we don’t have a much better crop this year than in recent years past? The cream will rise to the top and one of these guys will be a solid#3. Yeah, I’m optimistic!
    Where you at Buc fans?!

  25. Capt Tim., Back from Davie Jones's locker Says:

    Nice to worry about talented guys.
    Murphy has experience.
    But Streeter only adds to the huge height advantage we have created.
    Why not run four 6’5″ guys down the field