Jeff Demps Now WaitsAugust 28th, 2014
Before the preseason began, the Bucs pounded their chests that they helped coerce Olympic track star and part-time football player Jeff Demps to give up track and play football full-time.
Specifically, play football for the Bucs full-time.
Demps got through the first roster cut this week. Saturday brings the real test. Will he get a call from an underling that Lovie Smith wants to talk to him? And yeah, by the way, bring the iPad? Or will Lovie call him to tell him,’Welcome aboard. son.’ You’ve made it?’
Lovie couldn’t brag enough about Demps’ speed and how it could change games. But in recent days, Lovie’s dialed down his crush.
While it is true Lovie loved Demps’ speed, it is also true Demps couldn’t do what’s critical for any running back in an offense that likes to throw to running backs. And that is catch the ball.
Throughout minicamp, training camp and into preseason games, Demps showed that he simply wasn’t reliable. Demps has been given dozens of chances to get better with the ball, and he really hasn’t.
Tonight, Demps ran for 59 yards on 20 carries and showed some of his famous speed when he ran for a 19-yard game, his longest. The rest of the night, Demps was as pedestrian as The Great Lumpkin, and he fumbled.
Given the fact Demps was playing in the fourth quarter against forklift operators, middle school math teachers, insurance claims adjusters and parole officers, he didn’t exactly boost his resume.
“I have been grinding really hard,” Demps said. “All training camp. All summer. I can’t speak [for the coaches]. I can only control what I can control and show them what I can do and play a whole game at running back and come out healthy.
“When it comes to [Lovie’s] decision, I hope it is a positive one.”
Ronde Barber all but spelled doom for Demps on the Bucs-Redskins TV broadcast during the fourth quarter.
“Demps isn’t quite ready,” said Barber, who projected Demps will land on the team’s 10-man practice squad.