Miller Must Be A Playmaker Again To Make Bucs Roster

What occurred to Bucs broad receiver Scotty Miller?

Simply two years in the past, he was really main the Bucs with 400 yards receiving previous to Antonio Brown’s arrival. He made a daring landing catch proper earlier than halftime within the NFC Championship Recreation win at Inexperienced Bay.

Bucs WR Scotty Miller – Picture by: USA At present

Miller’s 2021 season was almost over simply because it was getting began. A extreme turf toe damage in a Week 3 loss at Los Angeles prompted the Bucs to place the speedy receiver on injured reserve for many of his third season. When he returned to motion later within the season, he simply wasn’t the identical participant.

“I believe final 12 months was type of bizarre,” Bucs broad receivers coach Kevin Garver mentioned Tuesday. “He went out with the damage. And with the timing of it, different guys type of stepped up in that place and in that position. So, it type of made it slightly tougher for him to get again straight away.”

With Miller sidelined a lot of the season, Tyler Johnson ended up with a career-high 36 receptions for 360 yards. Breshad Perriman had 11 catches for 167 yards, together with a game-winning, 58-yard landing in opposition to the Payments in time beyond regulation. Seldom-used Cyril Grayson emerged late within the season to catch 10 passes for 212 yards, together with a 33-yard landing to beat the Jets within the closing seconds.

Damage Leads To Miller’s Manufacturing Drop Off

Miller missed seven weeks earlier than returning in opposition to Indianapolis in Week 12. Tom Brady tried to attach with Miller on a deep cross in that sport, however his route wasn’t exact and led to an interception.

That might be considered one of simply 9 targets Miller would get in the whole 2021 season. He would finish the season with solely 5 catches for 38 yards (7.6 avg.). This got here on the heels of a breakout 2020 marketing campaign the place Miller caught 33 passes for 501 yards (15.2 avg.) and three touchdowns within the common season.

When Miller got here again from his turf toe damage, he had bother separating from defenders. At 5-foot-9, 174 kilos, Miller depends on pace to create separation from defensive backs, and it wasn’t taking place. That lack of separation, and the truth that he was taking part in behind Mike Evans as a cut up finish, restricted Miller’s alternatives down the stretch, in keeping with former head coach Bruce Arians.

“It’s simply alternatives,” Arians mentioned final fall. “Mike doesn’t come off fairly often, so if Mike doesn’t come off, Scotty doesn’t go in.”

Bucs WR Scotty Miller

Bucs WR Scotty Miller – Picture by: USA At present

Miller did make an impression on some end-arounds late within the season. He had two for 43 yards dashing in Week 18 in opposition to Carolina, together with a 33-yard landing in Tampa Bay’s 41-17 win.

Bucs Haven’t Forgotten What Miller Can Do

“I believe Scotty obtained a nasty damage on the mistaken a part of the 12 months,” Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich mentioned Tuesday. “That damage is more durable than you guys suppose. It simply was a very long time with him not being there and different guys stepping up.

“Scotty’s simply obtained to be Scotty. He’s made performs since he’s been right here. The Tremendous Bowl 12 months, I simply envision the performs that he made. Not simply the Inexperienced Bay [touchdown], however I envision the Minnesota performs. The performs the place he jumpstarted us so much – you watch him on tape and also you attempt to give him extra alternatives, actually. Extra alternatives to be in sure conditions to do what he’s executed since he’s actually been right here.”

The Bucs haven’t forgotten Miller’s massive performs late within the 2020 season, particularly when Brown was harm. Now that he’s wholesome and in a contract 12 months, Miller might want to showcase his playmaking means and re-establish his rapport with Brady to make the workforce in 2022. The highest of the Bucs’ roster is ready with Evans, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage, however spots 4-6 on the depth chart are broad open.

“Clearly, the Tremendous Bowl run that 12 months, he contributed so much to us and to the offense and made a variety of massive performs for us,” Garver mentioned. “He positively has the power and I believe it’s only a matter of what he does on the sector shifting ahead.”

Miller Would possibly Want To Be Particular On Particular Groups

Miller may need to carve out a outstanding position on particular groups with the intention to beat out his competitors. Can he wrestle the punt or kick return job away from Jaelon Darden? Can he be a gunner on punts?

Bucs WR Scotty Miller

Bucs WR Scotty Miller – Picture by: Cliff Welch/PR

Serving as an emergency gunner on just a few performs final 12 months, Miller recovered two fumbles. The primary got here at Indianapolis and he had one other in opposition to Philadelphia within the playoffs.

“These have been massive, massive performs. I’ve to provide Scotty credit score,” Arians mentioned. “That fumble restoration, he was down there and beat a double-press and used his pace.”

Now that he’s again to full pace, Miller wants to make use of that pace to seize a roster spot.

“He’s going to have a chance similar to everybody else,” Garver mentioned.