An Uphill Battle For Jock Sanders

August 27th, 2011

Ok, Joe’s trying to clean out his notebook before the Bucs host the Dolphins tonight.

After the Patriots beatdown, Joe got a chance to go back to the way back machine and talk to wide receiver/return specialist Jock Sanders. It was hardly the first time Joe has spoken with Jock. Joe remembers writing about him when he was a freshman at St. Petersburg Catholic, a terrific running back.

Joe vividly remember seeing his name and confirming with school officials, yes, his first name is “Jock.” Then, filing a story on deadline, Joe just knew copy editors would call within seconds screaming about his first name.

It happened like clockwork.

Last week was a special moment for Sanders, even he admitted it. He grew up worshipping the Bucs and went to some Bucs games as a kid. Now, he was returning punts wearing a Bucs uniform in a game at home, with his family in the seats. This is Hollywood stuff for a guy.

Joe, however, was impressed with Sanders in that rather than be giddy, he was upset with the loss.

“Yeah, it’s a dream come true but I have got to go out and handle business,” Sanders said.

By all accounts, Sanders making the squad is a long shot. He’s a 5-6 receiver in a crowded roster filled with talented receivers. The only ways Sanders will make the Bucs is as a return man.

Thus far Sanders hasn’t really exploded enough. He did have a nice kickoff return of 25 yards against the Pats but his punt returns have been nondescript.

He genuinely felt miserable after the Patriots loss.

“Of course we can do better,” Sander said. “Immediately after this game you were already down because you knew you could have played better.”

Joe likes the attitude. But Sanders will have to give Bucs officials more to like on the returns if he is to return kicks against the Lions come Sept. 11.

6 Responses to “An Uphill Battle For Jock Sanders”

  1. Brandon Says:

    Being a good kick returner doesn’t really matter this season, it’s returning punts where a guy will make a roster and thus far, Sanders returning punts has been an adventure. He has shown explosiveness, quickness, fearlessness, being tough to bring down, but he has also shown incredibly bad judgment of when to field a punt and has been inconsistent in fielding the ball. I’m thinking that the negatives come from him being desperate to make a mark and show his stuff. Still, I like his fire, his playmaking ability, and on offense, he is such a vast contrast from the big gliding WRs we are overstocked with. With his 5’6 180 lb frame he offers a complete different skill-set at WR (other than good hands). He is a jitterbug with dynamic change-of-direction and better than expected run strength as well as pretty good speed.

    I look for Sanders to make the practice squad. There’s just no way he beats out: Williams, Benn, Briscoe, Stroughter, Gant, Spurlock, and Parker. All 7 are far better WRs at this point and though I only expect at most for 6 to stay on the roster, his battle to make it is uphill… but he has enough talent to stick on the PS and come up if needed.

  2. Macabee Says:

    Besides being an unpopular rule, the 35yd line KO rule is probably a bad rule that has taken jobs away from a number of promising kick returners. Without earning a role as a back-up WR as Peanut did at RB, it will be virtually impossible to make the team. McKay has said the rule is here to stay this year, but may be reviewed by the competition committee before next season.

  3. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    More hometown Tampa Players will fill seats. Tampa missed out on Paul-Pierre I think his name is from USF.

  4. BennySaxon Says:

    So is Sammie Stroughter getting phased out? He wasn’t mentioned.

  5. SteveK Says:

    Cmon Jock, who knows he can be a pest of a receiver.

  6. Brandon Says:

    Apple Roof Cleaning,

    Winning games is the only way to get the bandwagon fans back in the seats. Tyrone McKenzie, Gaitor, Graham, Sanders, etc all played fairly close by but there’s not a chance anybody that wasn’t going to come cares enough to see any of them unless they’re winning. Home grown losers don’t fill seats nearly as well as non-local winners.