Receivers Coach Charlie Williams says Karl Williams (no relation) has won more games for the Bucs over the past four seasons than any other receiver
Over the past month, we've spoken with each position coach on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' staff, getting a quick evaluation of each player in anticipation of the team's 2000 training camp. Now, on the even of that camp, we finish up with the wide receivers and coach Charlie Williams.
Have we saved the best for last? Buccaneer fans certainly hope so.
If the receiving corps is indeed the strength, or at least a strength, of the team, as it appears to be on paper, than the Bucs will be a much more difficult team to handle on the field. Even as they advanced to within a few minutes of Super Bowl XXXIV in 1999, the Bucs never quite scared their opponents on the fringes of the offense. Williams expects that to change in 2000, and he'll start to affect that change on Sunday, when the Buccaneers report to camp.
"We're strong in this position," said Williams. "We need to be extremely good at this position when we come out of camp. I'm going to stress toughness, I'm going to stress disciplines, I'm going to stress details. If we can catch the ball and run with it, we're going to have a great season. We should be one of the strengths of our offense, because of the talent that we have at our position and because of the competition."
Indeed, while a team of the Buccaneers' caliber would seem to have many jobs already decided, figuring out the shape the receiving corps will take remains difficult. And it is difficult because there appear to be too many attractive options. On Friday, Buccaneers.com spoke with Williams about each of those options. These are his thoughts, in his own words.
Reidel Anthony: "Coming out of the June camp, I thought Reidel showed promise. He's still learning the new system, just like all of us are, but he looks like he feels comfortable in the system. I'll be very interested to see how he comes back in two-a-days starting on Monday."
Chris Daniels: "Chris Daniels comes in here from Purdue, where he caught a lot of footballs. Like all of our rookies, he's learning. Chris has been here all summer long working out, working very hard. It will be fun to watch and see how he progresses.
"He's a big, possession-type receiver who caught the ball no matter where it was thrown in college. He's still showing signs of that now, and that's a good thing. And he also can add long-snapping to the list of things he can do, so that's a plus. Anytime you can do something extra to help the team, it's a plus. When he did it in the June camp, it was pretty impressive to see a wide receiver being the long-snapper."
Jacquez Green: "I thought Q had a real, real good June camp. Q showed his talents in June camp. We already know he can run the deep route and catch the deep ball, but Q did a lot of nice things with his intermediate routes. Everybody thinks he's going deep all the time. He's real good at coming out of his breaks. He's learning to catch with his hands a lot more, and that's a good thing. I'm interested to see how he comes back on Monday, also.
"He got hurt his first year, he learned the offense his second year, became a starter five or six games into the season and took off from there. Now, I want to see him take his game to the next level."
Tavarus Hogans: "Tavarus is from Vanderbilt. He has not had a whole lot of practice time with us yet, because he's been injured. He's had a hamstring (injury). He's very smart, so he knows what's going on offense-wise just by standing back when he was hurt. Now, it's just a matter of him getting his reps. It's going to be harder for him to get those reps with the vets in on Monday, but it was good that he got these three days that we had with the rookies. He's a possession-type receiver, he's going to play out at the X position."
Keyshawn Johnson: "Obviously, we brought Keyshawn in here to strengthen our offense and the receiver position. Keyshawn knows what it takes. He's a Pro Bowl wide receiver, he's a big receiver, and he brings a lot to the table. He can play inside or outside, and he can hurt you in a lot of ways. He's strong, physical and tough. If he just has the type of season that he's had the last few years, we'll be in great shape.
"He fits in this offense just fine because, bottom line, we're going to fit him into the offense. When we're throwing the ball, he's going to be involved.
Daniel Jones: "Daniel Jones comes over from NFL Europe. For his first day (on Thursday), he didn't do bad. He just got his book (the night before), then came out...and did a pretty nice job. I'm going to work with him a little bit tomorrow afternoon, talk some football and try to get him caught up. I'll never get him all the way caught up, because there's a lot of stuff, but he did well. He catches the ball with his hands, and that's what I like."
Darnell McDonald: "Darnell's coming into his second year, and I expect big things out of him. I like the way he plays a football game. He's tough, he's physical and he does all the right things. The big thing is just him learning the new offense. He's going to be one of those guys, when it's all said or done, that we're trying to get into the game because he catches the ball, runs good routes and he can play physical. He'll compete for the football, and I like that. He's a lot more comfortable this year, no question."
Yo Murphy: "We're fired up to have Yo back. Yo's special on special teams, as we all know, and he's a good receiver, also. He's quick, he's fast and he's smart. Yo just has to work the kinks out, because he was in the wide-open offense in Minnesota, and now he's back to learning another offense. He had our offense pretty well down pat last year, then he went to Minnesota and now he's here to learn another one. I'm looking forward to Yo competing, no doubt. He'll be on the same side as Q and Truth. I like the way that Yo practices and the way he works."
Drew O'Connor: "O'C, I like his size, I like the way he works, his hands are improving. O'C didn't come out of a big college that threw the ball a lot, he came out of Maine. He's learning the offense. He doesn't have it down pat yet, but he knows what to do and he's doing it well. O'C's going to compete for a job this year. We can get him on the practice squad if we have to, but I don't know...he's pushing (for a spot on the active roster). He's a great kid."
Karl Williams: "Karl 'The Truth' Williams: Mr. Dependable, Mr. Consistent. At the end of training camp, he will know all three receiving positions, and some. He's very smart. I like the way he practices. He never says a word; all he does is come to practice, bring his lunch pail and get the job done. Those are the kind of guys that make you a better coach on Sunday, because they're doing the right thing and they're trying to help you win. I've been here for five years, as long as Karl has been here, and in our receiving group, Karl has won more games for us than anyone else in that group."
Michael Williams: "Michael Williams comes out of the University of Arkansas. He's a rookie. It's going to be interesting to see how our rookies do. They're going to have a tough time and they know it, but every now and then you find something in one of those rookies that makes you look up. He's an X...the big guys are at Z, where they're banging inside and the little guys are at X where they don't have to deal with all that. The rookies, I can't say a lot about because I haven't seen them in pads yet."
The promise of an NFL training camp, where players believe they can win a job if they perform well enough, is very much true at receiver for the Bucs.
"There's nobody getting a job by default," said Williams. "We're going to line up with four wide receivers, three wide receivers and two wide receivers (in different formations). Whoever those two are, they will have won the job. They won't just get the job. I don't know who it is right now, and I really don't care. All I care about is getting the best guys in there to get the job done."