Bucs Don’t Address Returner Role

April 28th, 2013

Last year, Bucs fans saw the likes of Jordan Shipley, Arrelious Benn, Michael Smith, Roscoe Parrish, Sammie Stroughter, LeQuan Lewis and Preston Parker (preseason) return kicks and punts.

None were close to special, and Parrish remains a free agent and Smith, captain of the gameday inactive list, continues to be buried on the depth chart after yesterday’s drafting of University of Miami running back Michael James, the next Earnest Graham.

On Friday night, Greg Schiano was asked whether new cornerback Johnthan Banks might get a shot at returning, something he did a little bit of at Mississippi State. Schiano casually said everyone with ability will get a chance to tryout for those roles.

The Bucs’ failure to address the returner role is somewhat odd to Joe. Rockstar general manager Mark Dominik and Schiano often talk about their obsession with productivity on fourth down, in all phases. (And no, trading for track star Jeff Demps, who might not commit to football, doesn’t count.)

Micheal Spurlock returned a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns last year. Perhaps he’s worth a tryout.

44 Responses to “Bucs Don’t Address Returner Role”

  1. Bucnnole Says:

    Keep an eye on undrafted free agent Branden Smith from UGA to possibly fill this roll. Speedy and exciting, he may be a hidden gem we need in the return game.

  2. jrc2g Says:


    All free agent signees.

  3. BamBamBuc Says:

    Are you kidding, Joe? Demps and Smith are the next coming of Devin Hester and Joshua Cribbs!!! Haven’t you heard? Our offense won’t even see the field this year as every punt and kick will be returned for a TD, that’s why we drafted so much defense. Just too bad Demps would rather run AROUND the football field and Smith has forgotten what a football field looks like on Sundays…

  4. lurker Says:

    you can’t say demps doesn’t count. also, you keep making stuff up about demps not playing football. just because you say it doesn’t make it so. your love affair/bromance issues with blount is clouding your mind.

    don’t worry joes, everything’ll be alright! 🙂

  5. Andrew 2 Says:

    Joe, Do you not know who Eric Page is?

    He is a 1st Team Consensus ALL-AMERICAN returner

    He’s also an amazing slot guy. They tried to sign him as an UDFA in 2012, he went to Denver got hurt. He’s healthy and they tried again and this time signed him.

    He should be our Slot WR/PR/KR

    ERIC PAGE…look him up

  6. Cmurda Says:

    Addressing the returner role is a very ambiguous statement. Who is to say that Smith cant be that guy. He’s got blazing speed and I still haven’t heard any solid evidence on why he was Captain of the practice squad. Why he wasn’t returning kicks is beyond me. There must have been something the Brass didnt like. Anyway, Branden Smith has been signed as jrc2g’s link shows. I’m actually excited about that like Bucnhole and he could be that guy. I don’t think the Bucs felt an emphasis so greatly on this since they likely hadf confidence getting an undrafted kid to accomplish this role r they feel their return threat has already been added. I still think Banks is that guy even if Schiano won’t commit at this time.

  7. Curmudgeon Says:

    We’ve got several candidates for the role. So, we don’t have Tavon Austin. Oh well. I believe they really want to upgrade the position and I agree Eric Page is evidence of that, as is Demps. Schiano and Dominik know what they’re doing.

  8. RastaMon Says:

    Hey…ever consider we’ll only be facing 1 kick off return each game and with the back four no punt returns….hence all the special team demons…

  9. stevek Says:

    Anything is better than Reejus back there, he is too worried about how fashionable his uniform looks on himself.

  10. BamBamBuc Says:

    Demps doesn’t count. We only received his “rights” in the trade, he is not under contract to us, that would have to be negotiated and is dependent on his decision to play football AND run track, or to just run track. Apparently he says he’d like to do both, but his first priority is the 2016 Olympics. I hope this clarifies for anyone not paying attention when the deal went down what we got. We got a 7th round pick and the rights to talk to/negotiate with Demps who may or may not play football.

  11. MegaDaveUK Says:

    Perhaps this is all part of the super secret Michael Smith plan – benched with a mysterious ailment for a year, no gameplan for him, 2013 he comes out as the new Percy harvin/darren sproles lol

  12. Mike M Says:

    Does anyone know if we selected any udfa’s

  13. Andrew 2 Says:

    Curmudgeon is the only person listening

    We have a Slot WR/PR/KR on the roster…why do you think they didn’t draft one. His name is ERIC PAGE

    3 years in college 300+ rec. 3100+ rec. yards 25 rec. tds
    2500+ ret. yards(PR + KR) 5 returns for TDs
    ^^^in 38 games…2010 1st team all-american returner

    that includes Joe

  14. Mike Hill Says:

    What about Demps? Fast shifty good hands. I thought he returned kickoffs for Florida? Maybe he could be the option

  15. Joe Says:


    Demps is not on the Bucs roster and is currently out of football.

  16. Adam Says:

    Is it surprising that Mark Dominick ignored a GLARING need?

  17. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    We now have several kick returners on roster…surprised the article missed this.

  18. tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’ve got it figured out….its going to be STEVEN MEANS…..because “he doesn’t like to be touched”….better a return man than on defense with that hangup!!!

  19. stevek Says:

    Means is our wild card pick, in my opinion this guy looks like he can be effective in the Schiano/Blitzkreig Defense.

    He is intruiging, 6’3”- 260 and ran a 4.6 40 with 29 reps o 225 lbs. He is built for the Schiano guantlet.

    He was: a defensive captain, improved in every year of college, and talks about playing ANGRY.

    Sounds like a baller, much much rather have this kind of guy on the roster than Myron Lewis.

  20. stevek Says:

    I want the best 53: disciplined, committed, lunatics to play for the Bucs. I really feel having Crabtree as our “freak flag” will help add another element to the locker room. Not only is he an interesting tweeter, but he is selfless, and comes from one of the best franchises in the game.

    We are in a good place now, and we need to extend GMC priority 1, he is going to improve this year.

  21. Andrew 2 Says:

    @ Joe

    technically you’re wrong


    ^^This is the roster and he’s on the active roster…

  22. RunningBuc Says:

    Josh Cribbs and Michael Spurlock are both available. I love this website, but even Joe needs to have a little patience. I would think we are going to sign a few more veteran free agents before camp starts.

  23. RCS Says:


  24. stevek Says:

    I wouldn’t mind plucking a guy to return off another team’s cut down list.

    Why be in a hurry to full the roster, and just let the players come to us.

    Revis was a 3 month ordeal, it is still April Joe.

    Just wait til Tavon Austin scores 1k yards and 10 TDs this year, we will see if it justifys him being picked 13 picks prior to your boy Tyler Eifert.

  25. Macabee Says:

    Somebody call over to One Buc and try to convince Schiano to give Chris Rainey another chance. Rainey/Demps might be something there! Can’t hurt to just take a look! Might be a KR too. Every team needs a project or two. And while we’re combing through the leftovers, Ray Ray Armstrong, SS formerly Miami, may also be worth saving!

  26. Picaroon Says:

    Building the 53-man roster comes in 4 stages and we’ve only gone through two so far. The post-draft FA period comes next. This is not a spot for a returner, but it is a time when right OT could be addressed. Stage 4 comes after the final cut when the Bucs can pick up cuts from other teams. Dominic has been pretty god on filling out the final holes in Stage 4.

    Demps is a possibility after his track season is over on Aug 18. He can get opportunities to display return skills in the final two preseason games.

  27. RastaMon Says:

    Chris Rainey contact info…..http://www.dc.state.fl.us/ActiveInmates/search.asp

  28. RastaMon Says:

    Demps will have a $erious bridge to cross at the end of the summer track season….I love track and field…really do…I support him in his cross road decision

  29. Pewter_Power Says:

    Isn’t Josh Cribbs still available?

  30. SeanyMac in SC Says:

    I would love to see Demps returning kick offs and punts. He could bring the same respect that Devin Hester brought. This past season, I felt it was a victory just to see Roscoe Parish catch the ball without losing yards or fumbling.

  31. espo Says:

    Stick James back there. He’s a straight ahead, pick a hole and don’t bs type of returner and I love it.

  32. Raphael Says:

    Jeff Demps will be available after Aug 22 , when track season is over..and he wants to play football…

    Joe, you need to let Legarrette Blount go……….*grabs box of tissues *

  33. lurker Says:


    ^^This is the roster and he’s on the active roster… ”

    52 LeGrand, Eric DT 6-3 275 22 R Rutgers

    ^^^^^^^^^nice to still this too. (and that barber isn’t on it…yet.)

  34. lurker Says:

    *add see

  35. Andrew 1 Says:

    It would be nice to get Josh Cribbs but I don think its going to happen. hes going to want a big fat contract that the bucs are not willing to shell out. weve got plenty of options on the table now with all the potential returners on the roster, so all the bucs need to do is find the best one out of the bunch. Im not worried about a kick returner at all.

  36. Andrew 1 Says:

    it doesnt even have to be a great returner, just a reliable one. the guys we had last year were anything but reliable.

  37. StanfordBuc Says:

    You should also throw Chris owusu into the returner mix


    He had 1100 yards and 3tds in 2009 just from kickoff returns at Stanford.. (we weren’t much of a defense then so he got plenty of practice.

  38. lurker Says:

    @ andrew1

    can’t you be reliably inconsistent?

  39. TrueBlue Says:

    I’m listening Andrew. Thanks for that update on Page.

  40. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ Lurker

    lol I suppose so. let me clarify myself, we need some who is consistently reliable.

  41. Hillbilly Heaven Says:

    Chris Williams, WR #80, Hamilton Tiger Cats.

    The guy is a return machine & is holding out to get released this spring. Bucs have strong interest in him – as they should — look him up. Seriously, do it

  42. Feesh Says:

    “Blocking” someone on Twitter for offering a different opinion is a new one.

  43. Ptwalk Says:

    Check out youtube Chris Denton, he is a serious return man.

  44. kh Says:

    Beating a dead horse here but wtf Joe, of course Demps counts. Using your logic we might as well not count our draft picks on the roster since they technically haven’t signed contracts yet.