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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rookie WR Trey Palmer Shines in Joint Practice with Jets

A long completion against star Jets CB Sauce Gardner capped a strong performance by rookie Trey Palmer on Wednesday in New Jersey and could lead to even more opportunities on offense for the former Nebraska standout


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets spent most of their Wednesday morning joint practice working on two separate fields at the Jets' Atlantic Health Training Center, one for each offense-defense matchup, before joining forces for a series of two-minute drills at the end. On the final play of the last full-team drill between Tampa Bay's offense and New York's defense, the Buccaneers came up with their biggest offensive play of the day.

With standout Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner in man-to-man coverage, Buccaneers rookie wide receiver Trey Palmer got open deep and caught a very long pass from quarterback Kyle Trask near the end zone. It was a fine way for Palmer to cap what was a strong practice for him overall, and veteran teammates Mike Evans and Chris Godwin took notice.

"This was one of Trey's best days," said Evans. "I mean, he had a really game last game, scored a touchdown and everything, but today was his best day. He was making all kinds of catches, running good routes, using his speed. Really great day for Trey."

Palmer's eye-catching performance against the Jets' defense came on the same morning that wide receiver Russell Gage was carted off the field after an apparently serious knee injury. Gage was expected to be the Bucs' primary third receiver behind Evans and Godwin, so if he is unavailable for any significant amount of time the team will need some younger pass-catchers to step up. Godwin noted that the Jets' defensive alignment on the aforementioned long play put Gardner in a difficult position, but it still likely boosted the young receiver's confidence to succeed against the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

"It was a really big play for us," said Godwin. "It was on one of the better corners in the league. [Palmer] is playing with a lot of confidence right now. He's a fast guy, man. I don't people notice it or not, but he's flying out there. Kyle gave him a great ball. I think it was kind of tough on Sauce because they went Cover Zero. It was one-on-one and Trey's a blazer. It was a great play by the offense, but that's the kind of plays we're going to need from him."

The Buccaneers nabbed Palmer in the sixth round of the 2023 draft after shipping a 2024 fifth-rounder to the Eagles to get an extra pick. The Bucs' draft room was a bit surprised that Palmer was still on the board, given his blazing speed (4.33-second 40-yard dash), his 6-0, 192-pound frame and his very productive 2022 season at Nebraska. He's in the mix for the punt and kickoff return jobs and he could also have value as a gunner in punt coverage. However, if he continues to stack practices like the one he had on Wednesday in New Jersey, the Bucs may find they need him even more on offense.

"This is of his best days that I've seen, probably the best day," Evans reiterated. "He caught a back-shoulder ball. He was just making a lot of plays for us today."

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