Berry Versus Brate

November 18th, 2016



The word of the day is reliability, and Cameron Brate can probably spell it in seven languages.

The 25-year-old tight end of the Buccaneers has suddenly emerged as a hot property for fantasy-league owners, even while Austin Seferian-Jenkins continues his unabated slide toward NFL obscurity.

As Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells astutely pointed out, a player’s best ability is availability. After missing half of Tampa Bay’s games in his first two seasons, Seferian-Jenkins wore out his welcome after his September arrest on a DUI charge.

Now, ASJ is a headache for Jets fans and a recurring topic on New York sports talk radio after catching only two passes while dealing with an ankle injury.

The Bucs seem far better off with Brate, who went undrafted out of Harvard in 2014, despite earning first-team All-Ivy League honors in his final two seasons.

Harvard men generally head into government, big business or high finance, but Brate was determined to give the NFL a shot and Buc fans surely applaud that decision.

After playing well in spot duty last season, Brate has developed a keen rapport with Jameis Winston while taking some coverage away from Mike Evans.

“Cam’s a great matchup for us and I think he’s taking the entire league by surprise,” says Bucs center Joe Hawley. “He came out of a small school and Jameis is starting to really trust him.”

Stamp Of Approval

Brate has reached the end zone in three consecutive games and his five touchdown catches is tied for first in the league at the position.

He is the first Harvard tight end to ever catch a pass at the NFL level and Brate is winning over teammates and coaches with an impressive grind.

“That core thing, hard work, pays off – I keep going back to that because Cam Brate is the epitome of that,” Winston says. “He comes in every single day working hard. After practice, he’s always staying out there to get some balls. When you work that hard, only something good can happen.”

Brate won’t win a sprint against tight ends like Antonio Gates, but he has enough speed to create separation from linebackers. At 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds, he has a physical advantage against safeties.

And when the ball is thrown his way, Brate makes the catch.

In the past four games, he has grabbed 18 of the 21 passes sent his way. On the season, he has 35 receptions while being targeted 49 times.

You don’t need to be a Harvard graduate to realize Brate’s 71 percent success rate is rather stunning.

“I definitely didn’t expect to be drafted,” he says, “but some clubs said they might sign me after the draft. That didn’t work out, either.”

14-Month Run

When the Bucs cut Brate on Sept. 15 last year, then-offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was crushed when the Saints signed Brate the next day.

All-World safety Eric Berry will be assigned to Cameron Brate, says the Custodian of Canton, Ira Kaufman.

All-World safety Eric Berry will be assigned to Cameron Brate, says the Custodian of Canton, Ira Kaufman.

The Bucs grabbed Brate back a week later and now Koetter is a head coach thankful to have a tight end he can count on as a big, rangy red-zone threat.

“Mike Evans has done a great job on the outside and in Cameron Brate we now have a guy that can go catch tight balls over the middle,” Hawley says. “That is so important for this offense.”

Brate is no longer a surprise and when the Bucs travel to Kansas City this weekend, look for elite safety Eric Berry to match up with No. 84. Things don’t get any easier the following week when Seattle comes to town with imposing safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas.

Bring it on. With his confidence soaring, Brate plans on doing his thing.

“Coming from a small school, you don’t really know how you’ll stack up at the next level,” he says. “Now coach Koetter knows what I can do. As for me, I know that I belong.”

8 Responses to “Berry Versus Brate”

  1. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Brate also has been getting a lot of production during garbage time, he even caught a TD from Mike Glennon during garbage time.

  2. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Brate had 1 TD in garbage time against the Falcons but not sure of much other than that

  3. Chris Says:

    Oh please, Lakeland still love the gym shorts wind ASJ. It is possible to have a good tight end without it being Gronk. I know, all you Maddon PlayStation guys think Gronk and Tony Gonzales grow on trees, but they are rare exceptions

  4. Bucsfanman Says:

    It’s a challenging match-up with Berry but if we get a run game going, we might be able to break off some nice plays in play-action.
    Brate’s been a pleasant surprise.

  5. WeAreLost Says:

    Bro you spelled Madden wrong and its also on the xbox just sayin.

  6. BucTrooper Says:

    I never understood the fascination with Luke Stocker. I don’t care if he can block. By leaving him in the game the Bucs handcuffed the offense because they knew he wasn’t a threat. I hated that Dominik traded up for Stocker.

  7. orlbucfan Says:

    Brate, Hump and ME13 are developing into 3 quality receivers for the Famous One. With Muscle Hamster shaking off the rust, we have an outside chance to catch KC napping tomorrow at Arrowhead. Go Bucs!!

  8. unbelievable Says:


    I’ve never been a fan either, but the truth is our run game is leaps and bounds better when he plays.

    Time to beef up the o-line.