Now, this was just practice and no one was getting hit, but the play showed exactly why the Bucs liked the rookie receiver out of Nebraska: speed and great hands.
“He was productive in college,” Bucs coach Lovie Smith said. “His speed, you are able to see some of it on some of the passes that he caught. Kenny can also do some things in the kicking game, whether it is returning punts or a gunner on our special teams. …We always talk to our players about doing something to be noticed and we noticed Kenny (Sunday).”
Bell has an opportunity to earn some significant playing time with the team. With Louis Murphy out (ankle) for an undisclosed amount of time, Bell is getting reps as the third receiver. So far, he is taking advantage of it.
“Obviously, when you have a good day you get some confidence going,” Bell said. “But like I said, this is my first training camp. It’s my second day, really practicing at camp in the NFL so I would never be boastful about it. “
He’s also learning just how good the cornerbacks are on this level. On a play Monday, Winston scrambled to the outside of the pocket and Bell broke off his route and started to run deep. It appeared Bell had a step on cornerback Johnthan Banks but instead of a touchdown, Banks was able to get back and knock the pass away.
Still, Bell is catching the eye of his coaches, which is a good thing. Even if Murphy returns healthy, the Bucs need some more production from their fourth, fifth and sixth receivers.