Luke Stocker is still trying to find his role in the Bucs offense

What the?

Luke Stocker had one very important catch on Sunday: a 24-yarder down the seam. That catch was important for the team because it was the biggest play on the team's only touchdown drive. It was also important for Stocker, because it should give the team a little more confidence to get him on the field. 

Right now Luke Stocker is mostly restricted to running downs. Kellen Winslow is unequivocally a better receiver, and two-tight end sets on passing downs aren't all that efficient. Obviously that means Stocker'snot going to be on the field on passing downs. But he's also restricted in more ambiguous situations. 

And that's caused by a number of factors. First, there's the emergence of Erik Lorig as a surprisingly powerful fullback. Lorig has really been hitting hard and playing well these past two games, and this keeps Stocker off the field on some downs. The Bucs like to keep two wide receivers on the field at all times, and this means that they can either keep a tight end and a fullback or two tight ends on the field - but not both. So the Bucs would either have to take Lorig or Kellen Winslow out. Lorig is playing too well to be taken out much, while taking Winslow off the field would significantly any threat of passing. 

Another reason why Stocker isn't on the field as much is his lack of receiving prowess, which is why that catch was so important for him. Stocker showed he could get down the seam, behind the linebackers and hurt a defense in the passing game. Stocker isn't going to be a dynamic receiver, but he is fast enough to attack the seams. He showed a similar ability in game one, but the ball bounced off his fingertips on that pass. 

But the third reason may be most important: Stocker just isn't a great blocker right now. He does a decent job of walling off his opponents and double teaming defensive ends, and he generally manages to keep his man out of the play. But I haven't seen him get much push, or even wow me with a block. And for someone who has to make his living on running downs, that's a bit of a problem. 

From what I've seen he still is the best blocking tight end the Bucs have right now, though. Kellen Winslow can't do all that much as a blocker, although he sure does try, and I haven't seen Zack Pianalto on the field yet. That's why Luke Stocker has still seen the field quite a bit as a run blocker despite all these problems. 

I'd like to see Stocker's role expand a little as he becomes more comfortable in the passing game. Having him out there gives the Bucs a better running attack than having Kellen Winslow out there while still giving them some versatility in the passing game. And, of course, the Bucs could use some more two-tight end sets, although that would mean keeping Erik Lorig off the field. 

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bucs Nation

You must be a member of Bucs Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bucs Nation. You should read them.

Join Bucs Nation

You must be a member of Bucs Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bucs Nation. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker