Russell Gage Brings Stability

March 20th, 2022


So Joe was texting with a fellow Bucs fan while watching the NCAA tournament the other night — boy, did Joe soak in a lot of college hoops on his leather couch — and Joe mentioned that newly signed Russell Gage brings good Chris Godwin insurance because he can play the slot.

This fan corrected Joe strongly. No, no, no, he said. Gage gives the Bucs a steady third receiver option, adding that whenever the Bucs had injuries at receiver, the offense had a hiccup. Interesting angle.

On face value that seems like nonsense. The Bucs were the second-highest scoring offense in the NFL and only in second place by a fraction. How exactly did the Bucs struggle?

But when Antonio Brown was hurt and unavailable, the offense did seem stuck in second gear. The loss to the Redskins was a perfect example. When Brown was on the field along with Mike Evans and Godwin, the offense was so, so good. Without Brown, not so much.

And like the Bucs fan said, it’s unlikely we will see Gage do topless jumping jacks in the end zone and run out of a stadium and quit on his team.

Last year , the Bucs’ backup receivers, with the exception of Cyril Grayson (who had more touchdown catches last year than Julio Jones) and Breshard Perriman, were a disappointment. Tyler Johnson regressed, that’s all there is to it. At one point a year ago, Joe firmly believed the Bucs thought there was a chance Johnson could be Godwin’s successor. His diminished play demonstrated, at best, that was premature thinking.

Scotty Miller? The hero of the 2020 NFC Championship game had more of an impact on the punt team than he did as a receiver. He mostly contributed when a game was a total blowout or the Bucs ran out of bodies at receiver.

Gage will give the Bucs a steady weapon who can be banked on. He has missed a grand total of four games in four seasons. That is good consistency.

15 Responses to “Russell Gage Brings Stability”

  1. Casual Observer Says:

    Perriman and Grayson add fine depth as well.

  2. BucsBeBack (Artist formally known as: BringBucsBack) Says:

    Shame on you Joe, you said Redskins!

    I like Gage & think he’ll produce but, his salary seems to be high for a #3 receiver when so many guys are still free agents. I thought this draft was loaded with WRs. I’m sure this is another all-in move; can-kicking, if you will.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    There is no doubt about the Gage stability…..a reliable 3rd receiver will likely never be double-teamed…..look for him to be open…..and I do expect him to play from the slot allowing Godwin to go outside some of the time.

    We paid a high price for a #$ and I’m quite sure the decision was driven by Brady……if we don’t get Lenny…..the Gage signing will be the reason.

  4. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    NFL is a passing league now. Stale biscuit is a passing coach. Bucs cannot get caught short at WR again in playoffs. Chris Olave from Ohio State is the best route runner in the draft and may very well be available at 27. If Olave is there , Bucs should pick him.

  5. PewterStiffArm Says:

    I love this signing. This kid can ball and he has a few videos of himself and his work outs. He is constantly polishing his routes, his moves, his stop and go. I laughed when I heard his press conference, when he recieved Tom Brady’s phone call. At first he thought he was getting punked, then realized that the next uniform he was going the wear had pewter in it. The Bucs last year had problems with teams that had strong pass rushers. When Brady can’t step up in the pocket and find his recievers let’s face it we become very one dementional. It sounds elementary but the games that stand out to me were New Orleans and the last game against the Rams. For many reasons we need to really figure out why during some of our games last year our offense couldn’t get out of its own way. When you watch the games on television you can see Tom’s facial frustration. A good backup running back is definitely needed through the draft or free agency. Giovanni Bernard wasn’t utilized to his ability last year, hopefully we can resign him. The Godwin injury really put additional pressure on Brady to deliver wins. He put the whole dam team on his back during the Rams game. He doesn’t want to do that if he doesn’t have to. I think the outcome of that game, especially the last 45 seconds accelerated his short retirement. Trust me, with the introduction of Russell to our receiving locker room and with another running back we can be more consistent. We need to also remind Todd Bowles that teams like the Rams have receivers that need to be at all time in front of the defense, not behind. The air was completely let out of Ramond James.

  6. Bromosas Says:

    Good point Joe-Gage a solid three. But last year I don’t think you can say backups are disappointment. 2 were 2 weren’t. Gotta love old man perriman coming back to put the dagger on bills. And TJ/Grayson just playing catch with Brady to beat jets (with the AB jumping jacks) – bigger question is who will be the backs and TEs?

  7. James G Arntz Says:

    Still have concerns with the Bucs’ “scripted plays” to start games. Just look back at all the SLOW starts. Hope Lefty will do some homework and realize adjustments must be made. Seems like once the Bucs fall way behind, Brady MAKES the adjustments himself.

  8. David Says:

    I love this signing because it gives them a legitimate big three and he’s not 33 years old. It helps address the future as well.
    Perriman and Grayson are receivers 4&5 now which is pretty damn good depth. A lot of potential with Grayson.
    I have not counted out Tyler Johnson yet, he was too good in college and has shown way too much potential to be a legit number two receiver in this league. But he is going to have to bring it from day one and camp, not showing up a little out of shape.
    Miller has always seem to be a one trick pony, run the go route, to me. I know everyone loves him but he’s short, he’s not elusive, he’s just fast. He doesn’t have the stop and go quickness to really be a dangerous slot receiver.

  9. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Miller has always struggled against press coverage.
    Yes, we were a far better team WITH Antonio Brown because 3 top receivers are nearly impossible to cover.
    Especially with Brady, who will always find the open Man, and find him quickly.
    If we do not re sign Lenny, we need a real honest to goodness Running Back, who can block, as well as catch passes.

  10. Irishmist Says:

    I see Gage taking over the AB role in the offense, with Johnson holding down the fort in the slot until Godwin is ready to return. Miller, Grayson and Perriman will fight it out for 4th receiver spot.

  11. William Walls Says:


  12. Jeebs the Honey Bear Says:

    Gage used to play mostly from the slot, but this year without Julio or Ridley, he played about half of his snaps outside and had a career year as the defacto #1. Advanced metrics such as yards per route have him in elite company, and tell us he plays better outside than in the slot. I expect Godwin to take back over the slot, and for the trio to excel when healthy. Having Perriman back will help fill in here and there when one of the top 3 inevitably miss some time, and hopefully Grayson can build on his breakout games from last season before he went down. Looking like it’s going to be another great year in Tampa Bay!! LFG!!

  13. Eckwod Says:

    Godwin is such a beast don’t be surprise to see him filling some hybrid tight end rec type roles at times …… especially with the way the TE room looks right now ……….

  14. Brandon Says:

    Gage is absolutely NOT a slot WR in Arians’ system. Maybe the old Patriot offense or Atlanta, but not here. The slot in Arians’ system is a blocker. Gage is under 190 lbs so no matter how hard he tries, he is not going to be effective taking on LBs and occasional DEs… not the way Godwin, Fitzgerald, Boldin, Hines Ward, Reggie Wayne… or any of Arians slot guys did it.

  15. teacherman777 Says:

    Let Tom call the plays like Peyton Manning!

    If Tom calls the plays, we will go 16-0!

    Sign Fournette and Gronk, let Tom call the plays, and we will never lose.