Hunting For A Return Man

July 29th, 2014
Bucs coach Lovie Smith is trying out all sorts of guys at kick return.

Bucs coach Lovie Smith is trying out all sorts of guys at kick return.

Historically, the Bucs have been just miserable in returning kickoffs for a score. When was the last time you heard of a team going 31 years without a touchdown on a kick return?

That was the case with the Bucs. The franchise went 31 years (and damned near 32) without a kickoff return for a touchdown. The drought was finally snapped when “Run Michael run” Spurlock broke through with a 90-yard return for a score at home against Atlanta, Dec. 16, 2007.

To date, the Bucs have taken just four kickoffs to the end zone, and Spurlock has half of those. The last return for a touchdown was when then-rookie Sammie Stroughter burned the Chiefs in 2009.

In a borderline desperate attempt to get points off of a kick return, ESPN’s Pat Yasinskas notes the Bucs are trying out just about anyone on the roster to solve this franchise plague.

Speaking of kickoff returns, it looked like the Bucs were auditioning half their roster Monday. When the Bucs worked on that area, eight different players took turns lining up as return men. In addition to Demps, Eric Page, Chris Owusu, Charles Sims, Solomon Patton, Skye Dawson, Robert Herron and Lavelle Hawkins took turns returning kicks. Page held the job last year, but the Bucs clearly are looking at all alternatives.

Joe is confident that Bucs coach Lovie Smith would love to have Jeff Demps return kicks. Demps has made two of the highlight plays of training camp thus far with his Olympic speed. But there is a problem: Demps is still having ball security issues. For every splash play he has made in camp, he puts the ball on the ground a couple of times.

If Lovie trusted Demps as a return man, then he wouldn’t be trying out half the team as a kick return guy. On kickoff returns, if you cannot hang on to the ball, you are all but giving teams — at best — an easy field goal shot.

Even Joe knows giving away easy points often leads to losses in close games, especially against good teams.

23 Responses to “Hunting For A Return Man”

  1. Bucs2044 Says:

    I heard Dexter Jackson is available.

  2. Bucsfanman Says:

    I hate to say it Gator fans but Demps ain’t gonna make it. You can ill afford to put the ball on the ground in ANY situation, let alone in your own end returning kicks.
    I hope they can work it out. The return game can be quite potent when you have one.

  3. DB55 Says:

    Devin Hester would have been nice. Woulda, coulda, shoulda

  4. AJ Says:

    Every time I hear reference to the “Run Michael Run” call. It reminds me of how fake and contrived the call really was from Deckeroff. One of the biggest plays a Bucs fan has been waiting on for 31 years. And he has to copy cat from a legendary call “Run Lindsey Run” (and I’m a Gator fan).

    He really stinks as a play by play guy. I know he has been doing it for years. And everybody will say he is just “Gene”. But really what I would give for a quality play by play man for the Bucs. Actually like to listen to games on radio, but he is unbearable to listen too. Dave Moore is really coming into his own as the analyst though.

    So instead of putting toe to leather. Can someone please put toe to his ass and get someone else calling games for the Bucs.

  5. Skyline Crew Says:

    Would be great to have a return man, but they new rules that have been in place have all but eliminated a return man. Unless it is an onside kick the kickoffs are usually in the endzone these days. Of course that doesn’t mean players still won’t run it out of the endzone 10 yds deep just to be tackled at the 10yd line.

  6. Jeffbuc Says:

    Are you serious aj gene is one of the most iconic voices for tampa bay. Anytime I hear his voice in a commercial or a clip I get excited. That has to be the stupidest comment ever made. Yeah and we should boot the rays radio announcer to huh cause “he struck him out” is horrible. So go be a packers fan while true bucs fans get excited about hearing “FIRE THE CANNONS”. I’m sure I will see you in December wearing your starter sterling sharpe jersey.

  7. Brandon Says:

    AJ Says:
    July 29th, 2014 at 12:30 pm
    Every time I hear reference to the “Run Michael Run” call. It reminds me of how fake and contrived the call really was from Deckeroff. One of the biggest plays a Bucs fan has been waiting on for 31 years. And he has to copy cat from a legendary call “Run Lindsey Run” (and I’m a Gator fan).

    He really stinks as a play by play guy. I know he has been doing it for years. And everybody will say he is just “Gene”. But really what I would give for a quality play by play man for the Bucs. Actually like to listen to games on radio, but he is unbearable to listen too. Dave Moore is really coming into his own as the analyst though.

    So instead of putting toe to leather. Can someone please put toe to his ass and get someone else calling games for the Bucs.
    ——————

    You don’t know how good you have it. In Washington DC, the Redskins play-by-play guy is terrible and his color guys are good ole boys, Sonny Jurgenson, and Sam Huff. They don’t like to say as much as they like to speak in cliches or just make sounds. Their broadcasts are terrible.

    If Deckerhoff was so terrible, then why when highlights for or against the Bucs are done on NFL Network with a radio voice over, do they always do Deckerhoff?

  8. Buccanole Says:

    Why not groom one of our 50 running backs into a KR?

  9. Piratic Says:

    @Bucs2044: I would love to know what that pathetic excuse for a football player is up to these days. Whatever it might be, I’m certain that there’s no physical contact involved. His play (if you can call it that) reminded me of this kid in grade school who would “turtle” if anyone came within 4 feet of him while he had the ball.

  10. Justin Says:

    Stroughter took one back vs the Panthers at home in that dreadful 2009 season

  11. pick6 Says:

    you also have to prepare for the reality that even if he learns ball security in the next 2 weeks i don’t think demps has made it through more than 2 NFL games in a season thus far in his career. banking on demps to be your devin hester is inviting disaster for multiple reasons.

  12. pick6 Says:

    @AJ – Gene is getting up there in years and messes up alot of names, but his voice and his energy are inseparable from buc football for me. i can’t picture anyone else doing those calls and as another poster mentioned there are many truly awful local broadcasters out there in other NFL cities and i don’t think it’s coincidence that the deckerhoff calls are used for the most impactful sound bites in recaps, even when it’s the bucs on the wrong end of the action

  13. willie.D Says:

    Eric page will win the job he did a good job last year. he’s proven NFL who takes big hits and hold on to the ball. remember how page impressedt in training camp last year and he was basically a rookie out of the MAC. on off season of NFL experience will only make him better

  14. Rod125 Says:

    @AJ. Anyone that doesnt like Gene needs to be banned from this site. You couldn’t possibly be a Buc fan and dislike Gene.

  15. SAMCRO Says:

    Keep a real close eye on Charles Sims. If he or Demps win the return duties, I would expect the Bucs to keep all 5 RB’s on the final roster, using Demps or Sims as WR’s, with a lot of slot play.

  16. Kevin Says:

    Demps is not ready due to his ball security issues, but that is an
    issue that has been proven time and again can be corrected. I have to say demps is worth hanging onto and investing time in. Groom him and have him ready to go later in the season or next year. His speed is too valuable to overlook just yet…

  17. BoJim Says:

    I listened to Sonny and Sam once. All they did was grunt.

    Run Forest Run.

  18. Stanglassman Says:

    It will be a sad day for FL ST and Buccaneers football when Gene D. retires he is the best and we are so fortunate to have had him for so long! I do think Dave moore is doing a great job too.

  19. jimlam56 Says:

    Gene sure does beat the TV broadcasters we have to endure…

  20. Owlykat Says:

    The Bucs made a huge mistake letting Spurlock go. He had learned how to be a good backup WR, and he could have helped ROM keep his job, but in the last of the season when ROM was losing every game he foolishly left Spurlock on the bench and then they did not retain him. He ripped off a great 40 yard run last year the first time he was allowed to kick return again, but not with the Bucs, and Spurlock is very durable too.

  21. scubog Says:

    I’ve been to three of the practices and have seen # 32 mishandle a hand-off once on a goal line drill and fail to haul in a catchable pass no more than any other receiver, including # 83; so I’m not sure why Joe keeps echoing that Demps has “ball security issues.” The guy hasn’t been through a training camp or focused solely on football since his Gator days. Think he might have to work on a few details? It seems to be a pattern that the Joes find something to rail about and it just goes on and on. I remember early in his career the great # 40 had “ball security issues” and he did alright.

    There was a fumbled kickoff and another pass drop, too. Same issues were there in spring practices only open to media.–Joe

  22. Deputy Buc Says:

    I’ve been to every practice. I’ve seen Demps put it on the ground a few times (only counting fumbles). He has had several bobbled catches of various passes, kicks, and pitches.

    Of all our running backs, he by far has the greatest propensity for the ball to squirt out.

  23. TopDoggie Says:

    What the H#ll AJ Gene is one of the greatest. I even tried turning off the sound on the TV and listening to Gene call the game. Problem is TV has a delay so the two broadcast don’t match up. He is yelling Run Run and the ball hasn’t been snaped.

 
 

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