Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Why Adding Tiquan Underwood Was a Great Move

Caleb AbnerContributor IIISeptember 20, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS - AUGUST 10: Receiver Tiquan Underwood #11 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers catches a pass against the Miami Dolphins during the NFL Preseason Game at Sun Life Stadium on August 10, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

Reports have just come in that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released wide receiver Preston Parker and replaced him with Tiquan Underwood.

By all accounts, this was a fantastic roster move, getting rid of an underperforming player and adding a receiver who just barely missed the initial cut for the 53-man roster.

In two games this season, Parker had totaled a whopping ZERO catches, and one rush for seven yards. His time on the field was limited, as the coaches focused on a vertical passing game rather than a short attack that a slot receiver like Parker would be best in. 

Tiquan Underwood has a skill set that will suit this offense much better. Although the Rutgers alum is only listed at 6'1'', he plays much taller. His speed gets him into open space more often than not.

He led the Buccaneers in receiving yards during the preseason, catching nine balls for 158 yards, which is a 17.6 yard per reception average. Six of those passes were thrown by third string quarterback Brett Ratliff, who is no longer with the team.  

A guy like Underwood might add a whole other dimension to the Buccaneer offense, which currently only has two active receivers who have recorded receptions this season (they are Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams—Sammie Stroughter has a catch, but is likely going to the Injured Reserve soon).

Mike Williams can command the short-to-intermediate routes, while Tiquan Underwood and Vincent Jackson can stretch the field.

Look out for more three-WR sets in the near future.

Signing Underwood was just one part of a shake-up of the Bucs receiving corps. The team plans to sign Stanford speedster Chris Owusu from the Chargers practice squad, and just a few days ago the club signed Jordan Shipley, whom they cut during the preseason. Both players can fill the void Stroughter is leaving behind on special teams.

This is a passing league, and Greg Schiano seems to understand that.