Rookie WR Robert Herron getting comfortable

TAMPA, Fla. -- Back in training camp and the preseason, Buccaneers rookie receiver Robert Herron often looked lost.

That’s mainly because he was.

“I was thinking about 100 things at a time instead of playing and going out and making plays like I know I can,’’ Herron said.

The sixth-round pick out of Wyoming made the roster, but he was buried on the depth chart -- until Sunday. One week after being inactive for a game at Pittsburgh, Herron played a key role for the Bucs in Sunday’s loss to New Orleans.

Herron caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Mike Glennon to give the Bucs a 31-20 lead with 13:28 remaining. It was the kind of play Herron wasn’t making in the preseason.

But things have changed for Herron. He’s getting more comfortable with the offense.

“I’m just trying to stay in my playbook,’’ Herron said. “When the opportunities come, I’ve got to capitalize on them.’’

Herron was active in large part because fellow rookie Mike Evans was out with a groin injury. But Herron made the most of his opportunity and that might help him stay active for the remainder of the season. Ideally, the Bucs would like to use Herron as their slot receiver. That’s what he was drafted for.

But Herron admitted he wasn’t ready for that role when the season started.

“It was just that I was thinking about a lot,’’ Herron said. “A lot was going through my mind.’’

But Herron said he’s started feeling more comfortable after getting some good advice from people who have been around.

“Everybody’s taken a part,’’ Herron said. “[Fellow receiver] Russell Shepard and I have gotten very close since I’ve been here. My receiver coach [Andrew Hayes-Stoker], [quarterback] Josh McCown always says a few words to me to keep my head in it. I feel once I got settled in a little, my confidence went up.’’

And the Bucs are hoping Herron’s confidence keeps growing.