When rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins missed almost all of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offseason work, there was some concern that he would be critically behind his teammates in learning Jeff Tedford's new offense. Seferian-Jenkins addressed that issue on the day he reported to training camp, saying, in so many words, maybe I'm behind and maybe I'm not.
His tone suggested he suspected it was the latter, that his study of the playbook up to that point and his obviously quick mind would allow him to catch up quickly. That has apparently been the case. The idea that Seferian-Jenkins might not be ready to make a significant impact by the start of the regular season has quietly slid by the wayside.
Tedford, in particular, has been impressed, both with Seferian-Jenkins' grasp of the playbook and his range of physical tools.
"[He's] big guy who can run, has excellent hands and has done a really nice job at the line of scrimmage blocking as well," said Tedford. "Even though he wasn't here for most of our spring work [Tight Ends Coach] Jon Embree] has done a great job with him of getting him to understand what we're doing. He's a really bright guy who has caught on really fast and he creates some matchup problems and he brings a lot to the table for us."
Tedford spoke to the assembled media after practice on Monday, and about more than just his impressive rookie tight end. Below are additional thoughts from the Bucs' offensive coordinator on the development of the offense, the team's deep stable of running backs, and more.
On how much of the offense is installed:
"Pretty much all of it. There's bits and pieces, there's probably 15-to-20 percent that's more game plan oriented that we haven't got to yet because they really have consumed a lot of information over a short amount of time. Now it's time to get back to basics a little bit, but they understand the concepts and now we can move on into game planning as we get into the season."On being able to get new looks on Friday against Jacksonville:
"Yeah, it was very evident today that guys have seen our stuff a lot. We've had a really good camp and have been very, very efficient – defense got the better of it today. You're right, they have seen our stuff over and over again. It will be nice to just go in and it always is to just go in and hit new bodies and execute against different people. It will be exciting."On the running backs:
"We're very deep there. I'm really impressed by their knowledge, they all bring something a little bit different, they all have skill, they all catch the football really well, they're smart, they can run in between the tackles and they have speed outside. I think they're really versatile guys and it's a good group of guys to work with. I'm anxious to watch them in a game."On what he wants to see in the first preseason game:
"Just to be sharp, just to make sure that we're paying attention to detail, we play penalty free, we don't turn the football over and those types of things that you want to see going into your first game."On tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins:
"A big guy who can run, has excellent hands and has done a really nice job at the line of scrimmage blocking as well. Even though he wasn't here for most of our spring work [tight ends coach John Embree] has done a great job with him of getting him to understand what we're doing. He's a really bright guy who has caught on really fast and he creates some matchup problems and he brings a lot to the table for us."On the type of options he has with a big receiving group:
"The matchups are really positive there because of their size, they can run, they have a lot of range to throw balls up to, but they're big coming across the middle. They're so big that they can use their bodies a lot in between the hashes to gain leverage, they're big targets and they have really good hands. A big guy that can't separate his hands or extend his hands to catch really doesn't do you much good, but those guys extend their hands and they have great hands, not only are they big but they can extend their hands and catch it."