Rookie receiver Benn catching eyes

St. Petersburg Times (Florida)

St. Petersburg Times Staff Writer

TAMPA – Rookie WR Arrelious Benn is starting to show up and show off.

The second-round draft pick from Illinois has been a little slower to make an impact than his counterpart, fourth-round pick Mike Williams out of Syracuse. But Benn stood out Friday during one-on-one and seven-on-seven red-zone periods. He split a double team and made a fingertip catch in the end zone on a pass from backup QB Josh Johnson.

“Arrelious Benn is really starting to come into his own,” coach Raheem Morris said. “You’re starting to see some plays from him. He’s making splash plays. What he’s been able to do, constantly, every day he’s getting better. It started on special teams. He started out there, going down as a flier. He’s really playing big, physical and strong. That just added confidence to his game, and now the confidence is coming as far as playing wideout. He’s a player who wants to be better, and I’m proud of what he’s been able to do for us.”

RAY JAY TONIGHT: The Bucs are saving the best for last. The final camp practice that is open to the public is from 7 to 9 tonight at Raymond James Stadium.

Morris is promising quite a show. Fans will see plenty of full-contact periods and skills competitions between players.

“We’re going to have a bunch of fun,” Morris said. ” We’ll have a little bit of Oklahoma (drill), we have some one-on-ones vs. the past with some premium matchups, winner-takes-all type of deals. We’ll have a little jug shoot competition, a possible quarterbacks competition. Bringing back the old school, put the table out there, let the quarterbacks put chalk on the ball and throw it at targets.

“In the meantime, when we’re getting our business done, we’ll have live goal line. We’ll probably make that two-minute (period) live now because I felt I was getting hosed by my officials. We’ll come back and have a little red zone seven-on-seven. And the crowd adds the element that we need. This is like fanfest, but we’re practicing.”

INJURIES: RB/KR returner Clifton Smith and DT Brian Price missed practice in the morning as both players rested sore hamstrings. Smith returned for the afternoon special teams practice.

Price, the team’s second-round pick, made a good impression early in camp. But because a hamstring injury forced him to miss most of the offseason, the team is being cautious.

Smith played in just 11 games last season, battling a pair of concussions. With the emergence of Micheal Spurlock at receiver, and rookie free agent Preston Parker beginning to impress at receiver and special teams, Smith may find himself in a competitive situation.

TRANSACTION: The team signed CB Darrell Pasco and waived/injured Matt O’Hanlon. Pasco originally signed with the Bucs as an undrafted free agent May 3 before being released May 18.

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