Will Clifton Smith Make The Team?

August 6th, 2010

JoeBucsFan.com photo by Kyra Hallett

It seems unthinkable that the 3-13 Bucs could cast aside a Pro Bowler like Clifton Smith.

However, with Micheal Spurlock, Sammie Stroughter and Smith on the roster, the Bucs are loaded when it comes to punt and kick returners.

Smith is the 2008 Pro Bowler with the most experience, but he also has concussion issues and little value outside of his returner role.

Spurlock, in his wide receiver role, was singled out yesterday by Raheem The Dream during his afternoon news conference as being one of a small handful of camp standouts. And surely Raheem The Dream remembers Spurlock’s punt return for a touchdown leading to the Bucs’ win in New Orleans last year, a victory that might have saved the head coach’s job.

Maybe Raheem The Dream and Mark Dominik like the option of trading Smith and having Spurlock as the No. 1 returner/No. 6 wide receiver, which would open up a roster spot for Kareem Huggins to be the No. 3 running back and active every week.

It’s Joe’s understanding that Spurlock has been around too long to go to the practice squad, which means if he’s cut he might not be waiting around for the Bucs again if Smith takes another shot to the head.

Today, Joe talked to Spurlock, who said he’s been working at all three receiver positions and “hoping for good news.”

Joe not saying the Bucs would move Smith, but Joe doesn’t think it’s completely off the radar.

31 Responses to “Will Clifton Smith Make The Team?”

  1. Derek 'OldSchool' Fournier Says:

    Totally agree on this Joe. Smith, as much as everyone likes him, is in a fight. We have plenty of guys who can fill the return specialist role well AND provide another value. His propensity to fumble and hesitance last year has a target on his back and with Huggins impressing at RB, Clifton better get to impressing in preseason.

  2. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    No way he should make the team.

    We have better return men , and he flat out sucks at RB- he’s a fumbling machine.

  3. Dave W. Says:

    We do not have better returners, as Peanut is one of the best in the league. However, we do have other really good returners (Spurlock, Stroughter, possibly Benn) and I agree that Peanut isn’t as good an option as Huggins as the 3rd RB. Maybe we can get a 6th or 7th rounder for Peanut?

  4. Jdouble Says:

    I been saying this all offseason and mostly get hateful responses.

    Peanut is very slow, and Stroughter/Spurlock showed that they could be every bit as productive when Peanut got injured last year. I think he is an overrated product of Rich Biaciata’s great special teams coaching. Peanut is a solid returner, but not amazing. So how can you keep him when he is totally useless as a RB? Sprulock, Huggins, and Stroughter can produce just as well and they also can do other things for the team.

    I say try to get some team to bite while Peanut is still somewhat fresh off his pro bowl. We might get something decent for him.

  5. Pete Dutcher Says:

    You guys have got to be kidding me, lol.

    I hope for good things from Spurlock as a wide receiver. And he makes a great backup kick returner.

    Sammie will not be returning kicks now that he could be 2nd string or 3rd string WR. They would be stupid to risk injury to him unless they have no choice.

    On top of that, Smith does not have “concussion issues” just because he had concussions last year. One of them was a bad hit for heavens sake. And I saw no hesitancy from him on the field. At all.

    The fumbles are the only valid arguement here, however, how many premire RBs started out with fumbles being a problem? Remember Barber for the Lions? There are ways to fix the fumbles…they can be coached out of him.

    He is going nowhere. Huggins, except in cases of injuries to 2 RBs, will not replace anyone, except maybe Caddy.

    If ANYONE should be traded, it’s Caddy, who has more value…because his injuries are a genuine issue.

  6. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Peanut was fast enough to outrun everyone and score on a kick return, so I wouldn’t call that slow.

  7. Pete Dutcher Says:

    And by the way…how do we know he’s useless as a RB? How much has he been tested as one? I thought so.

  8. CharlieB Says:


    When he’s been given the opportunities to run the ball on offense, he has fumbled. In his career, he has had 12 carries and 6 receptions. On those plays, he’s had 7 fumbles. I’m sorry, but that is a ridiculous liability. Given that history, keeping a pro-bowl kick returner, now with previous concussions, that serves no other role is a very suspect move.

  9. Derek 'OldSchool' Fournier Says:

    When given the chance, he has not stepped up at RB. ST players need to provide value elsewhere generally (just as the inverse is true with role players needing to provide value on ST).

    As for lack of hesitance, I respectfully disagree. I noticed it last year and hoped a year removed would take care of it. it may have. I have no issue with his speed as long as he hits the return with aggression. Problem I have is that the roster spot will be a tough one to carve out.

    I agree that fumbling *should* be a coachable item. Had he not opened light/no contact with putting the rock on the ground 3 times, people would not be on his back.

  10. thomas Says:

    Who cares? The kick returner is a gravy position on good teams, it seems important for some reason on shi-ty ones. Smith, Spurlock, Stroughter – shake em up and toss em out and it makes no difference.

    This team is terrible because in alll other areas they are subpar. Maybe they wont be in 2013 but now – they stink!

  11. eric Says:

    I say give our special team coach all the talent we can. He seems like he can coach em up to make some big plays.

    Plus if you have Spurlock and Smith if there is an injury you aren’t toast.

    Gotta be another way to get Huggins in the game.

  12. CharlieB Says:

    Eric, Stroughter can cover kick return duties when there is an injury. He may be the starting slot receiver, but at this point can you really say he’s far and away better than Benn or Williams? None of our receivers are really stand out better than any of the others, so if Stroughter has to play STs, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

  13. Dew Says:

    Joe, I’ve been thinking the exact same thing. We have plenty of other good kick returners including Benn.

  14. Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Unfortunately, we can’t keep everybody. I say if we can improve our team by trading Clifton, we have to do it. Good Call Joe, as usual.

  15. BigMacAttack Says:

    Joe, I agree too. This makes sense to let Clifton go via trade if possible. He would do well in Cincinnati or Clevland. Somewhere cold and out of the Conference. I have always liked Spurlock and would love to see him make the team. I don’t know how well Preston Parker is doing and maybe he can be a practice squad backup guy too. If I had a choice between Peanut and Clayton, I’d take Peanut, but if they both gotta go then so be it. I have to say though that Peanut has Mad Return Skills and he is fearless. Tough choice, but if they can keep him and Spurlock, that would be nice.

    “Well, the man said Clean him up…so clean him up.”

  16. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    He looked slow last year , I agree.

    But who’s better?? Stroughter and Spurlock for sure. Benn and Preston most likely.

    We don’t need him, cut him. He’s a waste of a roster spot.

  17. gotbbucs Says:

    Micheal Spurlock is a wonderful story but he isn’t a better return man than Peanut. There really isn’t anything dynamic about Spurlock. He did a nice job of hitting some massive holes that were layed out in front of him but he can’t create thngs for himself like Smith can. Spurlock’s also had one or two fumbles on returns, most notably in the Giants playoff game to open the second half. As far as Micheal Spurlock the receiver goes, there are a ton of guys just like him on practice squads across the league.

  18. gotbbucs Says:

    “But who’s better?? Stroughter and Spurlock for sure. Benn and Preston most likely.”
    Really? You haven’t even seen Benn or Parker return a kick in the NFL. Stroughter is our starting slot receiver, they’re not going to let him be a full time return man.

  19. Dave Says:

    Personally I see Spurlock making it as a returner and WR to go along with Williams, Benn, Brown, Stroughter, and Stovall. That way Clayton is cut.

    They would have the option of Spurlock, Stroughter and Williams as return men. I think Benn even returned some in college.

    I like Smith, but he has never proven he can hang onto the ball and that is crucial in this league, especially on a young team.

  20. Jordan Says:

    clifton smith was bisaccias guy in the first place, he wouldnt be on the team if wasnt for him, gruden didnt want him.

    and hes done more than a pro bowl, im pretty sure he led the legue in kick return average last year for people with more than 20 returnns, thats more than cribbs, sammies was higher but in only 11 returns and one of those being a 97 yarder, which gets me to my next point

    clifton is a stud returner, and has had more than just the pro bowl, but yes he has shown that is all he can do, although really really well, all returners in the league offer something else, he does not so far, maybe preseason changes things cause you want to root for a guy like him and his story, but spurlock and stroughter are good replacements

  21. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Okay, let’s throw in some common sense here…which I’m sure many will disagree with.

    Peanut, aka Clifton Smith, will make the team. Why? Because he is the best kick returner on the team.

    Sammie Stroughter will not be returning any kicks because he’s too valuable to the offense.

    Michael Clayton, as much as many might wish it, is not being but or traded…at least not before the start of the season. If the otehr guys do well enough we might see him in a trade like we did with Adams. But right now, he has no trade value and he won’t be cut because of contract numbers.

    Michael Spurlock CAN make this team…but it’s not likely. I wish he could, because I think the team at least owes him a year at the WR position to see what he can develop into, but the cold, hard truth is that between Stroughter, Williams and Benn, we already have more than enough inexperienced guys at the position. He has worked on his blocking skills on ST to increase his value.

    And with all these young faces at the WR position, we have a bigger need in the RB position now, because in this town, the RBs get injured a lot.

    Huggins, in a pinch, can fill in for an injured Graham at fullback. He has some skills at the position, but he cannot go the practice squad any longer. So far, He has only shown things in Preseason. But he is definately the odd man out right now. It’s easy for a player to look good in shorts without real threats of being hit.

    At WR, the most likely cuts will be Preston Parker and Mario Urrutia. Chris Brooks might make the practice Squad…not because he has earned it, but because he is the only WR on the team that will qualify for it other than Williams and Benn (who certainly won’t be cut).

  22. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    You people are smoking crack. There is nothing spectacular about Peanut at all. He is easily replaceable. This was proven last year after he got hurt, and Spurlock and Stroughter BOTH returned kicks for TD’s.

    Once again, he’s a waste of a roster spot because he can’t contrubute anywhere else, and although he’s solid as a returner, he’s not dynamic enough to be a return only guy. Easily replaceable. Cut him.

  23. Kennedy Says:

    Keep in mind the cheapo Glazers know he’ll command the big Bucs as a former Pro Bowler when his contract is up, so might as well ditch him now.

  24. Mauha Deeb Says:

    @Kennedy Smith is not going to make “big bucks” as a returner. Just because he went too the pro bowl doesn’t mean he is worth “big bucks”. That is not how football works.

  25. Jordan Says:

    hey radio, you sir are on the crack, just because stroughter and spurlock filled in nicely with tds, which they did, does not mean clifton isnt good, it just means spurlock and stroughter are good too (clifton has more tds than stroughter and has done it more than just one year and 11 total returns). i want what your having man, stuff must be awesome

    you dont make a probowl (and dont forget it wasnt even a whole season) and lead the league in returning in seperate years without being pretty decent man, hes almost returned one against the packers last year too broseph

    but yes agreed thats all he offers and the other two offer us more in return and fill the job just as well or close to, and you have kareem too with return ability, but that does in any way mean clifton is a bad returner at all

    make some sense boy

  26. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    There is no reason your slot WR can’t return kicks also.

    There was a time when our #1 WR overall was returning kicks ( Galloway ), and he was 36 years old.

    Give the job the Stroughter. Say goodbye to the overrated little fumble machine called Peanut

  27. Jordan Says:

    yes radio, any of the three are viable options, and yes for the team it makes some sense to let peanut go, but some of what you say is just rediculous, everytime you talk or type so to speak, you make yourself less credible

    your maniacal man

  28. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    Which part of what else I said was not credible ?? The fact that Peanut is a fumbling machine , the fact that Stroughter returned better last year, or the the fact that Peanut is slow for a returner ??

    All three are undeniable truths.

    I am not maniacal , it’s just that some of you have problems facing the truth when it slaps you in the face.

  29. Jordan Says:

    no radio the fact that you said clifton is nothing spectacular of a return man, its not true

    hes proven consitent, had almost the same numbers as stroughter last year, almost had one td vs the packers too

    as a return man he is good, you dont make it to the pro bowl after missing six games of the season one year and lead the league last year without being pretty talented, thats just the truth

    as anything else, you are right, he is a fumbling machine, but that has nothing to do with his return abilities, he doesnt fumble it on those either,
    thats not the issue here

    and just because stroughter did have a good year last year and so did spurlock, doesnt mean clifton isnt any good (hes more proven, has a higher average overall in more returns, the same touchdowns as spurlock, lead the league one year, probowl one year and at the top of the rankings that year as well, how does this make him not spectacular at returning the football) it just means those two fellas are very good too, but offer more than smith, but for the last time that has nothing to do with cliftons return ablities, thats just the facts man, look em up

    thats what not credible, now do you understand and i dont mind the truth i agree that letting clifton go is not a bad idea although i will miss him, but hes a good returner, hes proven that, hes better than average i think most people would say especially for an undrafted rookie thrust into the spotlight 7 games into his first season

    i want what your having man

  30. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    Consistency is a far cry from spectacular.

    “Spectacular” is what that Dante Hall was for the chiefs in his prime , or Devon Hester of a couple years ago.

    Those guys would be irreplaceable return men in thier prime , Peanut is NOT and never will be . As I said we have at least 3 guys on this roster that can do the job just as well as he could, and contribute at other positions if the need arises.

  31. Jordan Says:

    do you blame yourself?