Saturday, August 6, 2022

Young Bucs WR opens with All-Pro Julio Jones in attendance

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Tamp Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Tyler Johnson enters the third year of his career; all along with Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback to ever play.

As if having Brady and four-time Pro Bowler Mike Evans as offensive weapons in Tampa wasn’t enough, the Buccaneers recently added All-Pro receiver Julio Jones to their arsenal.

Johnson is like a kid in a candy store.

Johnson, who was 13 when Jones first came into the league as the Atlanta Falcons’ first pick in the 2008 NFL draft, has called the experience “amazing.”

“Just being with someone like that that I grew up with and watched really destroy the game,” he told reporters. “It’s great to have him in the room to learn from him, watch him play and run routes.”

It’s easy for Johnson to see how Jones has played at such a high level for most of his career.

“It’s fast, it’s explosive, it’s powerful – everything you could put in a receiver that you could want,” Johnson said. “You have the size, you have the size. It’s amazing to see what he’s doing and how he’s doing it to open up. When the ball is in the air you can see how he wants to attack the ball. Those are the things I’ve been able to learn from him since he’s been here.”

Johnson, who has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason, played in all 19 games (regular and postseason) and rushed for 436 yards on 68 goals.

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Julio Jones added another dimension to the Buccaneers’ already strong receiving corps. And the defensive backs are all the better for it.

“Our wide receiver room is crazy,” Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr. told reporters. “I won’t lie… They have goats everywhere, especially in this reception room; it is ridiculous.”

Winfield said playing against a group of receivers that includes Mike Evans and Julio Jones makes him a better defender. “All these guys are great to go up against at camp,” he said. “Competing against them every day makes us compete and work hard.”

Of course, defending the goats of all goats in Tom Brady makes Winfield better too.

“He’s the goat man, so all the work she gives him at the end of the day helps my game. But still the same Tom, still the same legend. Still throwing around like that at 45 is crazy.”

It’s a crowded Tampa Bay space with Mike Evans, Julio Jones, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage (another former Falcon) at the top of the Bucs depth chart.

Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles has a lot of players to evaluate, but he likes what he’s seen at Johnson’s camp so far. “I just know he’s in very good shape and he did everything right,” Bowles told reporters on the first day of paddling practice.

In the more than a dozen receivers on the Bucs’ pre-cutdown depth chart, Tyler Johnson knows he’s in command of one person: himself.

“My mindset was just to control what I can control; knowing we have a large group in the reception room,” Johnson said. “I just have to take the chance that comes my way. When the ball comes my way, I just look forward to making a game.

You cannot look ahead or down. You just have to stay in the moment.”

It’s a crowded Tampa Bay space with Mike Evans, Julio Jones, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage (another former Falcon) at the top of the Bucs depth chart.

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