TAMPA — Outside of talent, undying effort and an exemplary work ethic, the thing coaches want most from their players is consistency.
Prove you can perform at the same high level day in and day out and a coach will usually find a place for you on his team and in his game-day lineup.
He may even single you out when asked if anyone has unexpectedly caught his eye in practice, which is what happened to Bucs WR Chris Owusu this week.
Asked if anyone was standing out at the receiver position while projected starters Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans have been nursing hamstring injuries, Bucs coach Lovie Smith pointed to Owusu.
“All of the guys are having their moments right now, but Chris Owusu has been pretty good from day one,’’ Smith said earlier this week. “He’s one that has caught my attention from the first minicamp all the way through.’’
Smith went on to emphasize that he doesn’t like to judge players based on what he sees of them running around in shorts, especially receivers who can work without the fear of being hit.
He added, though, that there are some necessary skills that can be detected during the kind of non-padded offseason workouts the Bucs are going through and that Owusu is proving he has them.
“I hate to point out guys this early in camp, because we’re running around in underwear right now and you can’t see an awful lot from that,’’ Smith said. “But when you talk about receivers you can at least go on the guys who are catching the ball and running good routes and all of that.’’