It was Solomon Patton’s time to shine, and the former University of Florida standout didn’t disappoint anyone.
The Bucs rookie wide receiver averaged 10.7 yards on three punt returns and 30.3 yards on the three kick returns during Saturday’s 20-14 preseason loss to the Dolphins.
“I think things went great,’’ said Patton, who was signed by Tampa Bay in May. ”I am just trying to take advantage of every opportunity that I can get. I definitely think I did a good job of doing that Saturday night.”
Patton set a Gators career mark by averaging 27.7 yards on kickoff returns, but has little experience fielding punts.
“At Florida, I caught punts in practice but I never did it in the game,’’ he said. “Since Day One that I got here, I’ve made sure every day that I was out early, and even after, catching punts, just focusing on looking the ball all the way in. I think I did a good job of doing that Saturday also.”
Patton faces competition from Eric Page and another ex-Gator, speedy Jeff Demps, as he attempts to make Tampa Bay’s final 53-man roster. If he gets another look Saturday in Buffalo, Patton intends to be bold.
“Our special teams coaches say we bring out everything,’’ Patton said. “We’re going to force everybody to cover those returns.’’
Did you know?
The Bucs opened their second preseason game with 11 new starters, including eight on offense.
Quote of the day
“I’d rather have the six points.’’
— Rookie WR Mike Evans, who was credited with a 41-yard catch against Miami before fumbling into the end zone for a touchback that wiped out a potential touchdown
Aug. 8: Jaguars 16, Bucs 10
Aug. 16: Dolphins 20, Bucs 14
Aug. 23: at Buffalo, 4:30 p.m.
Aug. 28: vs. Wash., 7:30 p.m.