By Tom Krasniqi (Twitter: @TKras)
Competition is heating up at Buccaneers training camp. The starting tight end spot is one of those positions up for grabs and Tom Crabtree is staking his claim to the job.
After 7 days of training camp, Crabtree is seizing the opportunity that’s in front of him. “It’s going pretty well,” said Crabtree after Thursday’s training camp practice. “It’s a learning process. There’s ups and downs. Luckily, there has been more ups than downs coming into camp than there were in OTAs.”
After spending 3 years with the Packers in Green Bay, Crabtree was signed by the Bucs as a free agent in the offseason. Known more as a blocking tight end, Crabtree hauled in just 18 receptions and four touchdowns in 46 career games with the Packers. “We had so many good guys up there. A few guys were bound to be ‘underutilized’ but it’s no hard feelings with the situation in Green Bay,” Crabtree said. “Here, I’m just looking to take advantage of my opportunities. If it’s catching the ball, that’s great. If it’s blocking, I can do that too.”
With Luke Stocker (calf) still on the PUP list, Crabtree is making the most of his opportunities. He has caught the ball well in camp and quarterback Josh Freeman has already discovered some on-field chemistry with the former Packer. “Tom’s a guy that came to us from Green Bay and he’s kind of an all around tight end. He’s really good at blocking, he runs good routes, and he’s got good hands. He’s getting used to this heat and this humidity, but Tom’s a guy, that I think, has a pretty good shot at doing some stuff for us this year,” Freeman said.
The Bucs believed Crabtree has some uptapped potential as a receiver and that’s why pursued him in free agency. Crabtree says the Greg Schiano and the Bucs made him feel wanted. “It was time for a change,” Crabtree said. “They showed some interest and that meant a lot to me. I wanted to return the favor by coming out here and busting my butt and that’s all I’ve been doing”. So far, so good.
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