NASHVILLE, Tenn (WFLA) It was an unexpected moment but Bucs rookie wide receiver Justin Watson found himself in a position to not only impress his coaches. He had the opportunity to score his first NFL touchdown and help his team pad its lead over the Tennessee Titans heading into the locker room for halftime.
First, an eight yard completion inside the Titans 30 yard line. Then the moment Watson has waited weeks to have happen. A pass to the sideline in the end zone. The catch. Feet in bounds. Watson had himself a touchdown.
“Coach said just go out there and try and make a play,” Watson said. “It was a great ball from Jameis. I think we’ve been building a chemistry throughout the preseason. It’s awesome to get that first touchdown.”
Watson is taking part in an exciting position battle that could become critical during the regular season. With the top four position spots, on the Bucs roster, accounted for, there are as many as seven players with eyes on one, two, perhaps even three openings. It is wide receiver depth at its finest. And the Bucs are enjoying the competition.
“You’re champing at the bit to get in there because these guys are making plays,” quarterback Ryan Griffin said. “We really are loaded at receiver.”
Griffin has taken the most repetitions with the younger receivers in camp. He had the honor of tossing a pass for another Bucs rookie moment, Sergio Bailey’s first ever NFL touchdown. No one enjoys watching the big catches more than the veteran receivers themselves. The “big four” of Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries are guiding the younger players and are motivated to stay sharp as well.
“You see so many guys making plays, so many young guys showing their ability not just for this team but for other teams as well,” Godwin said.
“Us being older guys, you just want to go out there and lead the way, be the example,” Jackson said. “The young guys do a great job of pushing us as well.”
For Watson, however, a four catch, 54 yard night against the Titans, is just one step in a process. As the Bucs move closer to the all-important third preseason game, his playing time could decrease a bit, leaving the fourth and final game as his big chance to shine.
“We’ve got three hard practices here. Just trying to improve in each one of those,” Watson said. “And any reps I get in the third week I’ll try to make something happen and go from there.”