Patton’s March Through PreseasonAugust 21st, 2014
When someone mentions the name “Patton,” Joe, being the history geek, immediately thinks of iconic World War II commander George Patton and his famous march through France, which became military lore for speed and efficiency.
Local Gators fans peppering Joe with Bucs questions have a different sort of Patton in mind. That would be receiver/returner Solomon Patton.
Joe thought of Patton as nothing more than camp meat brought in this spring. Just another guy who will be just another short-order cook until the CFL comes a-callin.’
The slim chances of making the final 53-man roster didn’t deter Patton, who has worked his way up from no-name to current leader of the pack for a return gig. Last weekend against Miami, Patton had three kick returns for an average of 30 yards a return.
Putting up numbers like that will damned near get you a job with any NFL team especially if you don’t pull the knucklehead decisions of Eric Page, the incumbent kick returner. Maybe it helps that Patton is not intimidated by the NFL.
“Obviously, I am not the biggest guy out there,” said Patton, 5-9, 177. “I know I have speed and I try to use that to my advantage. I see myself as a fearless person.”
The odd thing about Patton is that he is also returning punts for the Bucs. This is new to him. He did no such things at Florida away from the practice field. At Florida, Patton was strictly a kick return guy. This intrigues Joe because last year, former Bucs commander Greg Schiano said catching punts may be the most difficult skill to master in the NFL. Since, Joe has asked other NFL types, including current Bucs staffers, and they don’t disagree with Schiano.
“You have to look the ball all the way in and just try to get your 10 yards that coaches talk about,” Patton said.
Clearly the next week is critical to see if Patton is able to smash through to the Bucs roster. Or has he used up his communication already? Lovie Smith loves speed, and Patton has that. So long as he doesn’t fumble any returns or get blown up a few times by gunners, Patton will be an interesting name to watch when the team’s roster is whittled down to 53.
To hear more of Patton, click the red arrow below. Audio courtesy of Joe’s partners in crime, WDAE-AM 620.