Cameron Brate: “It’s Awesome And It’s Different”

May 26th, 2017

Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira Kaufman, the most beloved and esteemed columnist in town, has hung his hat at world headquarters since July 2016. His columns pop here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays.


Let’s take a moment to talk about Tampa Bay’s OTHER tight end.

You know, the one who finished second to Mike Evans for the team lead in catches, receiving yards and touchdown grabs.

At the tender age of 25, Cameron Brate is in danger of becoming the forgotten man on a potentially devastating passing offense. That’s what happened when rookie Alabama tight end O.J.Howard, ranked in the top five on the Bucs’ draft board, miraculously fell into Dirk Koetter’s clutches at No. 19.

The additions of Howard, DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin have Jameis Winston salivating for the start of the season, but don’t sleep on Mr. Brate, who surprised everyone at One Buc Place — and perhaps even himself — with a breakout 2016 season.

“You can definitely feel the excitement around here,” Brate said this week following an OTA session. “Chris has looked great and, obviously, DeSean just moves at a different speed than anyone else on the field. O.J. is showing everyone what he can do. I think we’re going to be pretty hard to defend.”

You don’t have to be an Ivy League scholar to know Brate just majored in understatement. Factor in Adam Humphries and you can make a convincing case that Winston will be throwing to the best set of targets in the league this fall.

New Faces & Defensive Confusion

Speaking of the Ivy League, Brate couldn’t wait to welcome Ryan Fitzpatrick to the fold.

“This is my first time playing with another Harvard guy,” Brate said. “The first time I met Ryan was this week, but he’s a legend up in Cambridge. It was cool to finally shake his hand. He’s a really good guy.”

Koetter has big plans for Howard, who didn’t put up huge numbers with the Tide. That’s alright, neither did Julio Jones.

But Howard hasn’t caught a single pass as a pro while Brate seemingly kept securing every football Winston threw his way. There will be many times when Brate and Howard are on the field together as Professor Koetter forges mismatches.

“It’ll make it a lot harder on defenses,” Brate said of the double-tight end alignments. “With just one tight end in the game, it’s usually going to be a pass. But when you have two tight ends, especially with me and O.J., it’ll be pretty hard for the defense because we’ll be able to run the ball out of it. And we both think we’re pretty good running down the field catching passes as well.”

With all these weapons at his command, Winston can spread out the defense. He should be able to get the ball out of his hands more quickly and make opponents pay a severe price for having the audacity to place eight men in the box.

At the same time, Winston needs to spread the ball around and keep his teammates happy. Brate doesn’t think that will be a problem.

“As long as we win, everyone will be fine,” he said. “I know that’s a cliché, but that’s really all it comes down to. The nucleus of our team has been here for a few years. We’ve come up from the bottom and now we’re an ascending team, so that makes it even more fun to win. Everyone in our tight end and wide receiver room is more than willing to give up some targets for wins any day.”

Higher Standards … For Everyone

Brate can feel the energy brewing in the Bay area. He hears it in the shops and cafes … from the stick carriers to the mail carriers.

“It’s awesome and it’s different,” Brate said. “When I go out, everyone is asking me about DeSean, asking me about O.J. It’s something I’m not used to. We picked up some nice wins last year, but we didn’t finish the way we wanted to. We’re obviously building something here.”

Brate isn’t taking the selection of Howard personally. And while Howard brings a rather unique skills package to One Buc Place, Brate remains confident he will continue to grow.

“Yes, I put some good stuff on tape last season, but nothing changes for me in terms of my preparation,” he said. “At this point of the year, you’re out here still trying to find things to work on. Coach Monken really stresses that every day — don’t get complacent and try to improve on some aspect of your game each day.”

A 9-7 finish and a dynamic offseason have raised expectations at Buc headquarters for players and management alike.

Brate’s response? Bring it on.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “We’re holding ourselves to a high standard around here. Our fans should be, too.”

12 Responses to “Cameron Brate: “It’s Awesome And It’s Different””

  1. carrythatmofostick Says:

    man i have not been this excited ever , about a buccaneer offensive unit!!!! i do think this is going special and fun to watch.

  2. The Buc Realist Says:

    I am loving the coaching staff!!!! You can fell all the excitement and and big buy in around Tampa Bay!!!! Even the sheep and parrots are coming on board this year!!!!! Though we tried to tell them last year!!!!!!

    Back by request, Its a Friday Realist Repost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The Buc Realist Says:
    April 26th, 2016 at 3:13 pm
    Well, we know for sure that incompetent coach my scheme does not win games!!! Thanks for the high draft picks and humiliation of the product he put on the field!!! He will not be missed!!!!

    So excited for Coach Smitty!!!!!!! You guys are going to love to hear how excited the players will be coming into training camp after they spend some quality time with Coach Smitty!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Realist- At who’s request?!!!

    This will be a tough team to defend if we can stay healthy. I love Cam’s attitude: “Bring it on!”

  4. teacherman777 Says:

    Jim Harbaugh used to run 3 TE jumbo sets all the time.

    Luke Stocker is a beastly blocker.

    I hope we run some triple TE sets and just bully people.

  5. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Quite 777 Anthony Auclair 6’6 250lbs great hands, mean blocker. Feeling the way you think.

  6. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Quite possible

  7. 813bucboi Says:

    The Buc Realist Says:

    May 26th, 2017 at 8:00 am

    I am loving the coaching staff!!!! You can fell all the excitement and and big buy in around Tampa Bay!!!!

    The Buc Realist Says:

    April 19th, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Hola from Spain B!tches!!!! Had to interrupt the vacation to weigh in!! It makes Sad to see the owners not Buying all in to win!!!! Are they doing every thing they can to help this team win?? Are they helping this team by eliminating every distraction they can???? The answer is NO!!!!!!!! They signed this team up to expand the brand and be on NFL’s longest commercial!!!!

    I am giving a pass to the Coaches and players as the OWNERS did not set the right mindset for this season!!!!! Hope the season is successful despite what the glazer are doing!!!!!! Maybe next year they will be all in!!!!

    lol…..after the season, you were without a doubt sure we were a better team and poised to improve on our season….then you hear about HK, get scared and offer a “free pass” to the players and coaches as if you were the Glazers….now you can fill the excitement again….LOL…BS..your full of sh!t…..

    are you still giving the team a “pass” this year because of hard knocks, starting week1?…..or will you wait until the first loss of the year and say,”told you so”….GTFOH….aint no passes this year…playoffs or bust….GO BUCS!!!!

  8. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Wow, Realist definitely getting himself into contention with Kobe and maxipad for most annoying poster on the site.

  9. Dirks Great Gran Pappy Says:


  10. Bob Higginbotham Says:

    Thanks for another quality column by an ace reporter Ira. I liked “from the stick carriers to the mail carriers”! Your expertise shines brightly!

  11. Capt.Tim Says:

    Brate is a fantastic TE. Howard and Auclair both should be. Add in Stocker- and we have the Best TEs in the NFL
    With a great QB- who is at his best, Throwing to TEs

    This is gonba be exciting!!

  12. Capt.Tim Says:

    Ira- you rock! Love your work!
    So happy to have you here at JoeBuc