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Age Wasn’t The Sole Issue With Bryant
Posted Feb 27, 2010 by Roy Cummings
Updated Feb 27, 2010 at 06:35 AM
By ROY CUMMINGS
INDIANAPOLIS – As Bucs fans no doubt suspect, there was a little more behind the team’s decision to give up on WR Antonio Bryant than a fear that Bryant would grow old before QB Josh Freeman grew into role as offensive fire pin.
Those knee problems that nagged Bryant all of last year were one of the concerns The Bucs are already giving one receiver (TE Kellen Winslow) time off each week to rest his chronically sore knees. They don’t want to have to do that with another.
Precision was another issue. It turns out that Bryant is a bit of a free lancer when it comes to running his routes and that penchant for being off just a tad resulted in a handful of picks for Freeman last year.
Bucs insiders won’t say how many of Freeman’s 18 interceptions were the result of imprecise routes run by Bryant, but the number was apparently big enough and the problem chronic enough that the Bucs felt a need to move on and get someone else to be their top wideout.
Keep that in mind as the search begins for a replacement. What the Bucs want in their new top target is something of a perfectionist, someone who, in addition to making the great leaping catches that Bryant made, will further help his quarterback by running an 8-yard curl or a 12-yard dig when the play calls for an 8-yard curl or a 12-yard dig.
Oh, and get out of your mind any thoughts that Bryant quit on the Bucs or didn’t work heard enough. Bucs GM Mark Dominik didn’t have much to say about the decision on Bryant, but one thing he did make clear was that Bryant “handled himself very well both on and off the field for us.’’