The Rookies

December 7th, 2022

Talks Tom Brady trust.

It’s kind of interesting to Joe how with the rookie class, the two or three guys having the most impact on offense are perhaps not the rookies expected to ball out.

Running back Rachaad White was entering a crowded running back room. With Playoff Lenny leading the way and a veteran like Giovani Bernard, it seemed White would only get snaps on passing downs.

Now, more than a couple of Bucs fans are hollering for him to be the No. 1 back.

Then there are the rookie tight ends, Cade Otton and Ko Kieft. NFL #DraftMedia thoroughly misdiagnosed Kieft as nothing more than maybe a fullback or a blocking tight end. Well, Kieft has slowly become a weapon in the passing game, catching a touchdown pass during the “Mistake by the Lake” and a 12-yard grab on Sunday.

Otton has earned Tom Brady’s trust. Brady connected with Otton for game-winning touchdowns against the Rams and Monday night Brady targeted Otton with a touchdown that pulled the Bucs within six points late. Otton also leads rookie tight ends with 32.

So Joe asked Otton if it is wild that he now has the trust of the greatest quarterback who ever lived.

“It is so cool,” Otton said.

But Otton is not fooled. He knows Brady isn’t going to force a pass. Otton also knows if he gets open, Brady will find him.

“I think he is going to find the open guy, no matter who that is,” Otton said.

White echoed what Otton said, that if guys get open, it doesn’t matter how many games you’ve played, Brady will target you if he trusts you.

Otton did remark that Brady and several Bucs coaches have told the rookies something recently that sort of makes sense. The rookies now have 12 games under their belts.

“I think [Brady] and all the coaches have said, we’re not rookies anymore.”

32 Responses to “The Rookies”

  1. Mikejp Says:

    Luckily, the Bucs has 3 quality offensive rookies, But I want to know more about the defensive rookies?

  2. dmatt Says:

    Our defensive rookies suck!! Especially the cornerback Zyon McCullough. I’d like to activate rookie free agent Don Gardner from the practice squad to see what he can do. McCullough plays like a lost puppy. Against Cleveland he should’ve made a play when we punted the ball n he clearly had a chance to down the ball at the 1-2 yard line, he was lost. He’s making multiple lil league mistakes in all fazes of the game. He got embarrassed against the Saints. He’s out of his element. Haven’t seen much of Logan Hall.

  3. adam from ny Says:

    logan hall hit the rookie wall many games ago

  4. BucfaninMi Says:

    Logan Hall?

  5. WillieG Says:

    “White echoed what Otton said, that if guys get open, it doesn’t matter how many games you’ve played, Brady will target you if he trusts you.”

    Has Brady lost trust in Evans? From what I’ve heard, Brady didn’t throw to a wide open Evans numerous times.

  6. Hodad Says:

    This is a good rookie class. Let’s face it, if half your draft picks pan out it was a good draft. There’s still hope for Hall also, it takes time for DTs to get going. Goedeke isn’t a finished product either. All, in all not bad.

  7. Bucsfan13 Says:

    I need an article from Joe about just how awful Zyon was against the Saints. It was downright embarrassing. It was like the defensive version of watching Goedeke. Kid isn’t ready. He looked totally lost.

  8. BucsfanFred Says:

    Licht has done pretty well

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Don’t forget our rookie Camarda…..he is certainly contributing and saved a bunch of cap space from Pinion…

    I am disappointed with some of the picks over the last couple of years.

    Darden, Keyshawn Vaughn, JTS, Hall, Zyon,

    I think Zyon will be fine….just needs experience……..

    I also think Goedeke will develop into a very good Olineman…..looks like Hainsey was a good pick.

    We have great picks with Rachaad White & Cade Otton.

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    WillieG … ‘Has Brady lost trust in Evans? From what I’ve heard, Brady didn’t throw to a wide open Evans numerous times.’

    Hard to tell if Brady has lost some trust in Evans OR if he’s lost some trust in himself. OR maybe even some trust in his OLine to protect him long enough to hit Evans on some of those deep routes.

    Evans this year is 55 for 89 … 61.8% catch rate. That’s somewhat below his 2020 & 2021 catch rates of 64.2% & 64.9% but not tremendously so. His 61.8% is still reasonably above his career average of 57.8% though. And at the current rate, he’ll be targeted 130 times this year, above the 114 & 109 he got targeted in 2020 & 2021. And since he averaging 69 YPG, he SHOULD hit the 1,000 yard mark in Game 17 if he stays on this track.

    What is way off for some reason is his TDs, down to only 3 TDs this year compared to 14 in 2021, 13 in 2020 with Tom Brady as his QB. But then again, everyone’s TDs are down. Godwin only has 2 this year for instance, compared to 5 TDs last year & 7 TDs in 2020. Still, that must be disheartening, for Evans AND for Brady.

  11. KnoxvilleBuc Says:

    As much as I like Brate he does not need to see the field as much unless it is in red zone situations. Otton improves every week and is so much quicker in and out of his breaks. He continues to get separation from defenders. I expect a lot of great things from him in the future.

  12. Cobraboy Says:

    DR@ Maybe “open” to 2022 Brady us different that past Brady’s…

  13. Gofortheface30 Says:

    “And is so much quicker in and out of his breaks.” – yes, and it’s not even close. Frankly I was blown away that Brate got all the looks the moment he came back. Cade Otton is very clearly better, much better really. He is a guy capable of giving you 80-100 yard receiving games. Brate is not. “All due respect” to Brate, I’m thankful for all of the productive yrs but it’s a bottom line business, and Otton is turning out to be an excellent weapon. Can focus on more pressing areas in the draft. Like Defensive End – we need to find the next Noah Spence, Daquan Bowers, JTS!

  14. geno711 Says:

    Not sure why the hate on McCollum as a 5th round draft pick.

    However, I remember many fans having the same sort of hate on Jamal Dean and Mike Edwards in their 1st seasons with the Bucs and they were 3rd round picks.
    The shouts were we could have had Darnell Henderson instead of them.

    Pretty hard adjustment for most college DB’s from playing just one simple college scheme to the mixed zone/man schemes that you are required to play in the NFL.

  15. NEfan Says:

    Evan’s may have been open long once or twice, lets not get carried away. I’d be willing to bet they both are dinged up or the separation is as much as it looks from a sky view. I don’t worry too much about those two will connect when they need to. Brady has made a lot of rookies and no name receivers and backs careers. Hernandez (what a shame), Gronk, Edleman, Welker, Branch, Verden, Lewis, White etc. I.see Otton and White his new toys. Please do NOT start Brate, Otton is the real deal.

  16. Joe Says:

    Logan Hall?


  17. Bird Says:

    Dont forget. Brian kelly and rhonde barber were rough at the very beginning
    Hopefully mcollum figures it out too

  18. Joe Says:

    Not sure why the hate on McCollum as a 5th round draft pick.

    However, I remember many fans having the same sort of hate on Jamal Dean and Mike Edwards in their 1st seasons with the Bucs and they were 3rd round picks.

    Exactly. McCollum is a rookie third-day draft pick. Not every guy is going to be All-Pro right away.

  19. Bucsfan13 Says:

    @Geno. Pointing out that Zyon has been bad is not “hate.” People throw that around too much. The guy has been a complete liability this season in coverage.

  20. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Ko Kieft played for our old coach PJ Fleck, and no way do you play for PJ Fleck as any kind of receiver w/o being able to catch the ball.
    I too am one Fan who thinks that Racheed White needs to be our starting running back.

  21. Tucker Says:

    Ko kieft’s blocking has been really good and white and otton look solid with high upside looks like pretty good picks. Not as down on jts as most are this being really his first year last year he was all over the place as a rookie and COVID took out his last college year so hoping next year he takes off and you really never hear much out of any rookie defensive tackles so wasn’t expecting much from hall but I would like to see him working the edge more often.

  22. Jeffs Dad Says:

    Imagine this draft class if top 2 picks werent riding the pine luke might never have it

  23. kyle Says:

    logan hall?? whos he.. Him and JTS are playing madden at home on sundays drinking mountain dew and eating doritos..

  24. OrlandoBucFan Says:

    Since we are talking about rookies, I hope we draft an OT, D-lineman, and inside linebacker with our top three picks this year. It is probably too much to expect we’ll draft someone as good as Wirfs, but we have to get someone better than Smith. Vita needs another space eating lineman beside him to truly be effective, and Lavonte David (though still playing at a high level) has maybe one good year left in the tank.

  25. Buddha Says:

    Logan Hall will be fine. He has lost playing time to Hicks. No big deal. Sapp was nothing special his rookie year.

  26. D-Rok Says:

    Very impressed with White, and with Otton. Kieft is doing well also. Let’s hope the “rookie wall” doesn’t kick in soon.

    Speaking of TE’s, I would rather the Bucs have released Rudolph than Darden.

  27. Tiny Dungy Says:

    Bucs are going to release Rudolph. Release him on the NFL on Christmas Day after he guides Brady’s sleigh to a 5 touchdown day. Rudolph is Lefty’s double top secret weapon.

  28. D-Rok Says:

    One thing that caught my eye in Saints game: On final drive, Lenny was in there the whole drive. Then White came in for last play, caught the TD pass for game-winner. This means somehow White was the option with game on the line.

    That pass to White was eerily similar to the Pats game-winner over the Falcons in that SB. At the least, it was completed at a similar place on field. It’s like Brady had that memory of that play from all those years ago, advised the Bucs to practice it last week, and sure enough, practice makes perfect and it worked.

    It’s THESE kinds of anticipation/preparation then have it come to fruition, these give me hope for rest of season. Whether it was Brady or BL or TB, doesn’t matter, but my guess is it was Brady, remembering a single play that worked from years prior. Experience paid off.

    Good stuff, and glad to see the team trusted White in that highly pivotal and important moment not only for that game, but it was almost a must-win game for the season.

  29. Bucamania Says:

    Otton, Camarda, and White are all big contributors now. Ko Keift some too. Great to see.

  30. Stanglassman Says:

    Brady was heard yelling ‘get 29 in’ on that last play. It was designed for White and practiced all week. They knew that if did it they had to keep a timeout in case it came up just short.

  31. Crickett Baker Says:

    I agree with TBBF (and maybe Joe). I see good things for McCollum and JTS in another year. Even Luke has a chance in my mind although not as much. I think JTS and Zyon are gonna surprise a whole lot of you.

  32. Capt.Tim Says:

    Logan Hall is the big disappointment from this class.
    Thought he was a terrible pick.
    But Linemen often take a year or two to develop.
    Not throwing in the towel just yet- but he is invisible this year.