Jurevicius Plays To Crowd
The Tampa Tribune, published 13 January 2003

It's not enough for Joe Jurevicius to make a tough catch. It's not enough to get yards after a catch or to make dramatic end zone receptions. Jurevicius likes to add something special after every play, especially when he makes a first down. Referees need not signal first down for the Bucs when Jurevicius converts. He's a step ahead, thrusting his arm forward. ``One thing I enjoy is just kind of adding a little bit of flair,'' said Jurevicius, who had three receptions for 48 yards during Sunday's 31-6 win against the 49ers. ``I think it gets our crowd into it. If I'm going to be on the field for whatever down, and I have to make catches, I'm going to try to make the most of it. I want to get a little excitement out there too.''

Jurevicius provided lots of excitement for the Bucs' offense Sunday. He was Mr. Third Down. All three of his receptions converted third downs, including his 20-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. ``Joe is our X-factor this year,'' Bucs quarterback Brad Johnson said. ``Lots of times when he comes in the game, they will put a nickel guy on him and it's a mismatch for him when he comes in as a wide receiver. He's a very dominant receiver. He makes grabs and catches and he's a physical receiver. The great thing about Joe - he makes yards after the catch.''

Tampa Bay took advantage of a San Francisco secondary hampered by injuries. The 49ers lost starting cornerback Ahmed Plummer in the first quarter. Plummer dislocated a shoulder on a pass play involving Jurevicius. ``We knew Jurevicius and the boys could handle them out there on the corners because their corners are out,'' defensive tackle Warren Sapp said. ``We had the favorable matchups.''

Jurevicius knows that won't be the case in the NFC Championship Game against Philadelphia. The Eagles' secondary presents much more of a challenge. When asked what kind of problems Philadelphia's secondary presents, Jurevicius replied ``everything.'' ``How many guys do they have going to the Pro Bowl? All of their secondary?'' Jurevicius said. ``But we're competitors. We're professionals. We're not laying down.''

All week leading up to Sunday's game, the talk centered on San Francisco wide receiver Terrell Owens and what he can do. Tampa Bay's receivers showed they also can make a difference. ``I don't think that talking is really necessary on our part,'' Jurevicius said. ``We know what we have to do. We know we have a talented corps, all the way from Keyshawn [Johnson] down to guys on our practice squad. We have valuable guys. We know how to play. We work hard. We push each other. We feed off each other.''