Frank Murphy, whose primary duty is returning kickoffs, hopes to help out as a receiver, as well, in Joey Galloway's absence
Given that the term is used just short of the pejorative when coupled with bullpens or running backs, NFL wideouts could be forgiven if they didn't want to see 'receiver-by-committee' in newsprint.
Still, that is in effect how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers plan to make up for the loss of speedster Joey Galloway for four to six weeks. No receiver on the Bucs' roster exactly fits Galloway's mold, and no one player is likely to make up for his expected production. Instead, the team hopes to get a raise in output from all five of the remaining pass-catchers: Tim Brown, Charles Lee, Michael Clayton, Bill Schroeder and Frank Murphy.
"I think Joey was going to get a few more balls than everyone else, but I think now the situation will be everyone will have a chance to take some," said Brown, the sage veteran. "Obviously the rookie is going to have his opportunity to make some plays and he should; he's going to be a good football player in this league. So, we'll see how it all works out. But when your number is called you just have to be ready to go."
'The rookie' is Clayton, who led the Bucs with seven catches in the season opener, the most for any rookie in the league during the first weekend. Clayton is likely to see a good jump in his snaps, up from the roughly 50% he played in the opener, but he is not a specific replacement for Galloway at split end.
"We all work together, there's not just one guy who's going to be a playmaker on this receiving corps," said Clayton. "You can't do it by yourself; it has to be a team effort. It sometimes takes a guy being a decoy, if that guy isn't doing his job 100 percent; the pattern is not going to work. It will be a must that we all step up."
Lee, who was inactive for Week One and has only recently overcome a severe hamstring pull, could jump all the way up to the starting lineup. He excelled in that role down the stretch last year and would give the Bucs a good run-after-the-catch weapon. But he doesn't know how quickly he will become a prime target.
"I'm not sure; I think you really have to ask the coaching staff about that or Brad, whoever he feels comfortable with," said Lee. "Everybody's getting a chance to play and hopefully, everybody's number will be called and guys can step up and make plays."
Here are some other thoughts from Buccaneer players overheard in the locker room this week:
LB Derrick Brooks on the Seahawks' offense: "No matter who's playing, this offense is going to run its plays. They have some weapons and these kids are making plays at every position. So we have our work cut out for us."
Brooks on what winning the opener means: "It means a lot. We want to defend our home territory and it has been a point of emphasis in the offseason."
WR Tim Brown on Seattle's defense: "Seattle's just a young defensive group. They don't really have any superstars. Chad [Brown] is not going to be playing this week. Anthony Simmons is playing well. You have some young corners, some young secondaries, but everyone's playing hard. If I'm a coach today I would love seeing that. They're playing good football, running to the ball and making plays and that's the name of the game."
Brown on what the offense is capable of with everything clicking: "I think certainly that what we did with Gruden [in Oakland] was incredible. We went from one of the worst offenses in the league to consistently being one of the best offenses in the league. We weren't ever spectacular. We were just consistent. We had a lot of 10 and 12 play drives eating up a lot of time on the clock and really helping out the defense. If we could ever get that going on out here with the defense that we have, it would be an incredible situation for us. At the same time we can't put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We know we have a great defense. We have to play to those strengths, but offensively we just have to do our part and put some points on the board early and give our defense a chance to go out and play."
WR Michael Clayton on how much Tim Brown has helped him: "A whole lot. I think that's one of the main reasons why I have progressed the way I have. Since day one, since he's been here, he's been grooming me in every aspect of my game. Running routes, the mentality that you're supposed to have when you go out there, you know, not getting too anxious. When I came in, preseason games, I was nervous. It took him to settle me down a little bit. He's been wonderful for me and he's really put forth the effort of being a leader on the receiving corps. He's really taken the initiative to calm me down as a rookie, but at the same time brought camaraderie to the receiving corps."
Clayton on whether he felt the difference between preseason and regular season games: "When I first started off, the preseason game was like my Super Bowl. I was just so excited because that is the lifetime dream to play in an NFL game, but reality struck and preseason is preseason. I definitely got a glimpse of that in my first regular season game because the tempo just multiplied. It was unbelievable how fast it was moving. I was able to still keep up, but it was a good learning experience for me. I am going to take what I learned from the last regular season game to the next one."
Clayton on maintaining his focus: "My mentality is that week in and week out, I plan on getting better and better. That is just my self-expectation. I always expect myself to make plays. I always expect myself to learn a little bit more, week in and week out. It's nothing that I have to change since Joey has gone down. If that was the case, I wasn't giving it my all when he was here. I know that the offense is going to rely more on other guys, and I could be one of those guys. It's taking the initiative to know exactly what I have to do at all times."
Clayton on how prepared the Bucs were for Washington: "Game preparation went very well. We were prepared to face anything that they threw at us. A lot of times we didn't execute proper protection. That allows mistakes. There were so many little things that we could have done that we practiced so hard on during the week. If we had executed on that, we would have had a victory. I'm not making any excuses; things happen. They have a hell of a ball club. Joe Gibbs had those guys ready to play. They executed theirs. What we do is take it and run with it. We know exactly what we have to do. We are going to see some of the same schemes later on in the year and we just have to prepare ourselves for those situations."
Clayton On how he felt after his first game: "It was a relief knowing that Coach Gruden and Brad have that confidence in me to throw the ball at me that many times. It really settles me down. As far as pressure, I have no pressure because I'm a guy that's still learning and I have great guys in front of me who I am going to be able to learn from, guys in this locker room. I'm in a situation where I am just going to take that and go with it."
T Derrick Deese on improving against the Seahawks: "Offensively we want to score, first of all. We didn't move the ball very well in the red zone and we weren't consistent with the run and we've got to correct those problems."
Deese on second-and-longs and third-and-longs: "Especially in a loud stadium you don't want to be in third-and-long at all. You always want to be third-and-short. You don't want to mess up a down, give them a down; you start taking downs away from yourselves that way. And that's what we did, basically. Washington is a good team. That game is behind us and we are focusing on ourselves."
QB Brad Johnson on the Seattle defense shutting teams down: "They really do. They have some great rushers on the ends. [Anthony] Simmons is a fast linebacker very similar to a Shelton Quarles kind of guy. They put the stop on you. The corners are all experienced players. They have played for years in the league and they're fast. They make plays. They leave them on the island. You don't do that unless you have good corners and that's what they have."
Johnson on whether he expects to see a lot of blitzing: "Don't know. Don't know. Last year we didn't see any blitz, last week we saw some. It is probably a more blitzing type of team in Washington. I was with Ray Rhodes. I played against him when he was in Philly and I played with him when I was in Washington. I am sure he will have a few surprise blitzes for us. We prepared for all of that last week and hopefully we'll be better this week."
On Head Coach Jon Gruden saying he welcomed the blitz: "I think that's what you're hoping for. It is a way to get your big plays. Sometimes it's not always the bomb down the field and sometimes it is. Last week, I thought we had a perfect play. They had a full blitz on the 30-yard line; we had a play to Charlie Garner. I thought we had a home run hit. You couldn't ask for a better play. They just played it well. We're trying to change things up. We change up our audible packages each week depending on certain kinds of blitzes."
Johnson on whether he was surprised he and Clayton were on the same page so much during the first game: "Not really. I felt very comfortable with him all through training camp, and the first game I had no problems with him being out there. I think the more he plays, the more he'll see different looks and how we adjust from a run. That's where you get the experience, playing with Keyshawn for three years or playing with Keenan for three years, those type of things, and that's where it will be fun playing with him. Week six, he's going to laugh at some of the plays we ran in week one and some of the things that showed up. The thing he does great is he listens. He catches the ball extremely well, especially in traffic. He heads north after he catches the ball."
Johnson on playing against the Seahawks: "That's a team I haven't faced since about eight years ago when I was in Minnesota as a backup. Personnel wise, it's different. Really they don't know much about our personnel and we don't know much about them either. Ray Rhodes was with Jon at one time. They know each other pretty well. We pretty much have the look that we feel comfortable with going against them. The personnel, that takes a little time to get used to, especially for the offensive line."
**CB Brian Kelly on similarities between Seattle and Green Bay: "There are a lot of similarities: A great quarterback, a great running back and three great receivers, and a coach who has basically reversed the West Coast offense."
WR Charles Lee on winning at home: "It's definitely big. You have to take advantage of home field. We want to set that precedent early this year. We didn't have a good season at home last year, so we want to start fast, get a winner under our belt and keep our crowd into it."
WR Frank Murphy on whether he brings the same enthusiasm to playing receiver that he does to kickoff returns: "I look at it like I sat out last year and God sent me back to play again. I just use it like, 'Okay I'm happy to be here and I'm going to give it all that I've got left to be back with the team.' So, every play I'm in I'm going to give it all I've got."
DE Simeon Rice on how important it is to get a win this week: "It's necessary. You don't want to go 0-2 right off the gate. You don't want to start messing with your situation when the end comes around. We want to put ourselves in good standing to show that we are a team to beat this year and a team to be respected. We have a lot to accomplish this week, a lot in front of us, and I think we should do it in a very humbling matter."
Rice on the possibility of being 0-2: "0-2 or 1-1 would be the real deal. Reality is going to occur regardless what I say. The game is going to be played. What will happen will happen and what will be will be. And I'm going to add to the drama." **