“He’s Leaving It Out There A Half-Second Too Long”

November 22nd, 2023

Rookie receiver Trey Palmer gets a candid critque from Todd Bowles.

Cue the Michael Clayton fan/hate club.

Young Bucs fans may not know who Clayton is. Older Bucs fans may be trying to forget.

Clayton was the Bucs’ first-round draft pick in 2004, and he was an immediate beast. Clayton’s rookie stat line showed 80 catches for 1,193 yards and 7 touchdowns. He was a versatile force, and then Clayton’s game crumbled in a hurry.

Jon Gruden, aka Chucky, got in his head and sort of broke him mentally.

The dropsies arrived and didn’t leave, and Clayton appeared to lose the fire in his receiver game — except when it came to blocking. The man could block, so Joe nicknamed him “blocking icon.”

The Bucs were so obsessed with Clayton’s blocking, they handed him $10 million guaranteed in March of 2009 following four consecutive seasons of looking like a nothing-special No. 3 receiver. It was a mind-blower. The critics came for Clayton when his subpar play continued in 2009, and he delivered his famous “check is in the bank” quote.

Joe was reminded of Clayton when Todd Bowles spoke of rookie receiver Trey Palmer this week on the Buccaneers Radio Network.

Bowles was asked to talk about the Palmer contributions for which he’s most proud.

“Really, his blocking has been incredible,” Bowles said of Palmer. “His blocking is very good. He’s very tenacious when he’s a blocker. He goes up and gets the ball very well. He has to learn to go up and get the ball and put it away. I think he’s leaving it out there a half-second too long where the DB can knock it out. [When] he gets his hands on it, he’s got to put it away in a tough position so they can’t strip it.”

So there you have it. Palmer can block; he hasn’t figured out how to secure football’s at the NFL level.

Joe is not slapping Palmer around. He had a great contested grab against the 49ers and he’s had a strong start for a sixth-round draft pick — 21 catches for 210 yards and 2 touchdowns. But Palmer has had issues finishing catches. It really doesn’t matter if a receiver looks great for 93 percent of the process.

Hopefully, Palmer will develop his hands. If not, he seems destined to be the next “blocking icon,” though Joe is sure general manager Jason Licht never would have handed Clayton an eight-figure check for no good reason.

19 Responses to ““He’s Leaving It Out There A Half-Second Too Long””

  1. Rick Says:

    Clayton was a crisp route runner who lacked idea speed and was often schemed open in Gruden’s system. Palmer is a rookie who at the college level likely rarely had to make contested catches because he is a 4.4 speed guy going against Big 12 Corners. He will clean it up.

  2. Paratrooper Buc Says:

    Hey Palmer,

    You know the difference between a starter WR on a multi-millionaire dollar contract and rotation WR making a few hundred thousand a year? Looking great 6% more in the process.

    Joes and all the Bucs fans

  3. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Sorry not sorry to hijack this thread, but TB12 left an obviously declining roster to come to one that had a strong OLine, WR, defense. All it lacked was somebody who wouldn’t do a 30-30. He retired because he saw a weak OLine and a D that was shedding talent for the Cap. I think he was tired of getting his butt kicked every other week.

  4. zzbucs Says:


    Yo can say whatever you like about TB12 OL last year and last year D, and I can even add to your excuses BL at OC position, all those are facts, but is also a fact that TB12 was older, he didn´t want to hold de ball that long because he didn´t want to get hit….I get it, but if you don´t wanna get hit in the NFL, go buy yourself a good Wilson tenis racket, and FO….

    I love TB12, and I always will, but his last year in Tampa he was an average QB being generous…………….

  5. Watch More All-22 Before Commenting Says:

    This jives with the film.

  6. Bucsfanman Says:


  7. Dwayne Cone Says:

    zzbucs Says:
    November 22nd, 2023 at 2:06 pm

    .I get it, but if you don´t wanna get hit in the NFL, go buy yourself a good Wilson tenis racket, and FO….

    Then maybe you can explain why these little bitckes get out of the pocket, scramble for 5 yards, and slide. That is of course unless they played so poorly throughout the game and are desperate for a first down in the 4th quarter and down a score or two.

    By the way. If FO is a new type of greeting. FO to you.

  8. caradoc Says:

    Gruden didn’t get into his head, he got into his own. He did an interview after the first year, dressed in a full length mink coat and was asked what he was going to do differently to improve the next year. His quote was “I’m gonna stop worrying about just making the catch and focus on making plays after”.

    He did it to himself.

  9. dmatt Says:

    Palmer at times play scared. I heard him earlier in the season during a Q&A segment when he said he does not like getting hit…it’s starting to show because on the block mayfield made for him on the jet sweep against 49ers he could’ve cut inside to pick up a big gain for the first down but decided to put on the jets for the sideline short of the first down. He’s not the “see ball get ball” type of player he claimed to be during preseason. He’s just talk.

  10. Onetrickpony Says:

    A half of a second ? Give me a break

  11. Voice of Truth Says:

    There is a reason he was a sixth round pick and now we know why

    Kid struggles against physical corners and has had more than a few drops

    He is the #3WR and has 20 catches????

    That says a lot about our offense

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Hopefully, he’ll be taught not to hold on his blocks…..at least two of his holding penalties cost Rachaad White huge gains.

    I really like this kid….he’s got good hands and speed and the blocking is a bonus.

    The game is not too big for him……we’re getting our money’s worth.

  13. Beeej Says:

    Mebbe we WILL have Gage back next year!

  14. Youngbucs Says:

    I could make a 5min video of baker missing this guy all season.
    Wide a$$ open every week multiple times.

  15. Rod Munch Says:

    For a 6th rounder, he’s done great, and looks like he might be a legit #3 WR down the road.

    As for blocking, I don’t give two s–ts about blocking when it comes to a WR. It’s a nice to have extra, but I want my WR’s to get open and catch the ball first and foremost.

    But Bowles, just like he says his QB’s first and most important job is to protect the football (as opposed to scoring points), he thinks a WR’s most important job is to block.

  16. gotbbucs Says:

    Somehow Bowles always has the answer….

  17. Vern Newsome Says:

    On the Palmer play the db had his hand inside of Palmer hands while Palmer was trying to catch the ball and put it away. I did not see what coach BOWLES seen on that play for a td. I look at the game twice know.

  18. garro Says:

    Yup he could block Joe.I think you give too much credit to Gruden and not enough credit to Clayton. Injuries, one was a mystery injury that we will never know the truth of. Yeah he got paid and, never lived up to the check. We got a few of those now BTW.

    Go Bucs!

  19. Falconrap Says:

    Clayton started on fire. I still remember the graphic they would throw up on the screen when he made a play. Then he faded, and never lived up to the hype from his first year. And to think, we could have had Megatron instead of Gaines, but the Glazers wanted Monte to get his pick instead of giving up a later pick to move up one spot and get CJ. Of course, we made up for it with Evans and Godwin. Palmer has some very good hands, but everyone drops a pass from time to time, even Godwin. That TD pass he dropped was a difficult snag with dudes in his field of vision. The other pass, the DB had him well played and he’s just not strong enough to hold onto the ball in that situation. Now, if Mayfield would throw it to him when he’s wide open, which happens somewhat frequently, then he may not need to make a contested catch.