Arrelious Benn took first-team snaps today

Published: September 29th, 2010
By Bucs Beat

The Bucs have begun the process of integrating rookie receiver Arrelious Benn more into the offense as he took virtually all the snaps at flanker during today's practice.

Benn caught the first three passes of his career on Sunday against Pittsburgh and is expected to play more extensively in the weeks to come. That process looks like it might start with next weekend's game at Cincinnati, which the Bucs are already in the process of game planning for.

That means a likely move back to the slot for Sammie Stroughter, who is not an ideal fit as an outside receiver because of his size (5-10, 189).

It's been a process for Benn, who had a lot to learn in his transition from the spread offense he played in at Illinois to the Bucs' West Coast-like offense. But his development reached a point this week where Benn felt he was ready to be unleashed. He told receivers coach Eric Yarber this in no uncertain terms before the Steelers game.

"He looked me in the eye and he said, 'Yarbs, put me in the game! I'm ready,' " Yarber said. "I smiled and I said, 'That's what I want to hear.'"

The confidence stems from Benn's preparation.

"He knows his assignments, so he's playing with a lot more confidence and he's playing faster," Yarber said. "You're seeing the real (Benn) right now. He's really dialed it up because of knowing his plays and studying and playing faster. . . I think if you put them out there too early you could lose them for a while, especially with their confidence."

The Bucs aren't saying outright that there will be a change in the starting lineup, but all signs point to Benn playing extensively the next time the Bucs take the field.