Arrelious Benn is once again on the mend, if you will.
His sprained right knee, the one that wasn't surgically repaired, will have him in the trainer's room for the next four weeks and we'll get straight to the point today. Is Benn in danger of not making this team?
Four weeks from now will put the Bucs past training camp. It will be done and they'll be starting the season mode, getting ready for the final preseason game against the Redskins on Wednesday, August 27.
Thought about this over the past two camp sessions and again today. Fact is, and he's shown this to us, head coach Greg Schiano has no allegiance whatsoever to guys from the former regime. Tanard Jackson was cut, Kellen Winslow Jr. traded, Dez Briscoe cut and Brian Price shipped to Chicago for a seventh rounder. There is only one reason why those players are gone. Schiano didn't want them.
Schiano has taken hold of this team and is squeezing hard. Each player has to be the right fit.
We watched closely on Sunday as the receiving corps worked hard in the first padded practice.
Vincent Jackson is even better than most thought he would be. Mike Williams has lost some weight, moves better, his routes are crisp and he's catching the football. You might want to put those guys down as your starting wide receivers there on your cheat sheet.
Tiquan Underwood is working his posterior off; he's in the mix for one of the six spots, big time. Preston Parker is catching virtually everything that is catchable. So mark down those four. Only two spots left. Sammy Stroughter is all over the place. He's been working as the main return guy as well. That makes him double valuable. Maybe he's the fifth guy.
What we have left is a list that includes Ed Gant, Wallace Wright, Greg Ellingson, a Tampa guy from Robinson High, we've got Landon Cox and Armahd Lewis. Gant (6'3", 200 lbs) and Cox (6'3", 220 lbs) are big bodies like Benn. Oh yes, Benn, he's not out there.
Make no mistake about it, Schiano is one of those "absence makes his heart grow fonder for somebody else" kinda guys.
Out of Schiano's sight, gone from his mind.
Schiano isn't the type of guy to close the book on guys who have been out there sweating and catching and studying. It won't be hard to make up for Benn's 2011 production (30 catches, 411 yards) because there wasn't much of it.
The only thing Benn has going for him at this point is his 2012 salary, which is $490,000. This may depend on the team's willingness to shelve him for a season on IR then give him a final shot in 2013.
It could come down to that.
But for now, Benn's out of sight.
And that's not good.