Dave Wannstedt Has Hands Full

June 24th, 2013
Hopefully with Dave Wannstedt on board, the Bucs' special teams will be pointed in the right direction.

Hopefully, with Dave Wannstedt on board, the Bucs’ special teams turn in the right direction.

Joe found it a bit curious in the offseason that Bucs coach Greg Schiano would reach out to his buddy and former boss, Dave Wannstedt, to become the Bucs’ new special teams coach.

It isn’t that the hiring of Wannstedt surprised Joe, but it was the position he was assigned.

When Joe spoke with Schiano at the NFL Combine in frigid Indianapolis this winter, Joe asked if Wannstedt would perform other duties other than special teams coach. It seemed a waste to let a guy with his significant experience be stuck with special teams.

No, Schiano told Joe, special teams is critical and Wannstedt would have his hands full.

While looking at the Bucs’ special teams from last season, Jeff Briscoe of Yahoo! Sports pulled back the onion skins and found a woefully underachieving lot, including from guys signed to fat contracts.

Despite expectations, Koenen and Barth disappointingly posted average numbers in 2012, as Tampa Bay finished in the middle of the pack in the categories of punting distance, kickoff return average, and field goal conversion rate. With hefty contracts enjoyed by its kickers, fans rightfully expect better in these measurements.

However, Tampa Bay fared even worse on its own returns. Averaging only 20.3 yards per kickoff, the Bucs posted the NFL’s third smallest kickoff return average in 2012. The club’s punt returns were only slightly better, with a 9.0 average that ranked 19th of 32 teams. Even more discouraging, no touchdowns were produced by the return game and only one attempt exceeded 40 yards.

Briscoe also points to two special teams holes Wannstedt must fill. The first is Ronde Barber, who was a warrior on special teams. The second is a return game of some sort. Since “Run Micheal run” Spurlock left the Bucs, the team has not had a consistently decent return man.

In fact, the revolving door of unreliable return men on both kickoffs and punts pretty much must end if the team hopes to turn around its special teams fortunes.

30 Responses to “Dave Wannstedt Has Hands Full”

  1. Buc'n Junkie Says:

    The problem is that we need to pick someone and let them grow into the position. Last year in preseason coach Schiano started 7th rd. RB Michael Smith as kick returner. He fumbled. We never saw him again. Same went for LeQuan Lewis, Jordan Shipley. After each made their first mistake, they never got another chance. Unlike Roscoe Parrish who made a living at return man, he certainly showed he’d lost a step.
    We got to let these guys grow into the position, even after a couple of mistakes. Quit shuffling.

  2. tampabaybucfan Says:

    There hasn’t been much of a focus on special teams from a media standpoint. I suspect a great number of our draft picks and FA signings have bolstered our special teams. I think with Wannstedt we will see marked improvement this year.

  3. Jbskiff Says:

    @junky. The mantra is “bite the ball”. If you want to carry the ball for Shiano , you do it his way. If you want to ride the bench or be cut/traded put the ball on the ground.

  4. Eric Says:

    Never thought I’d see the day, Wannstedt on the Bucs sideline. Nothing but absolute disaster can ensue.

    Oh the horror.

  5. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    @Buc’n Junkie,

    I agree with you in principle. However, I think the problem is that none of those guys really are long term solutions as return men, which is why they aren’t allowed to grow into the position. Trust me, if those guys were lighting it up in practice, Schiano would let a fumble or two go. From what I read, they were having issues holding onto the ball in practice. If you fumble on a regular basis in practice, then proceed to fumble in a game, what would lead anyone to believe they are going to stop fumbling??? I’m a big believer that if you have a hard time in practice, it’s going to be worse in the game. I think Schiano would rather have someone back there who can’t return the ball but won’t fumble at that point. A return man is a specialty type position, and they only touch the ball a few times a game (with our defense last year, a few times would be a good game). You can’t afford to make mistakes with that few touches.

  6. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Yeah Eric, Wannstedt has zero football knowledge. I mean, he’s only been around the league for 25 years. But I guess because he wasn’t a great head coach, in your little world he has no idea what he’s doing. He farts out more football knowledge than you will ever have.

  7. tmaxcon Says:


    maybe if your a good boy, Mr. Wanstedt will let you Kiss his Superbowl AND National Championship RINGS!

    i suspect you have your own though with such great knowledge of coaches credentials.

    Not every GREAT coach is a GREAT Head Coach.

  8. Kevin Says:

    Schiano will figure everything out…Attention to detail wins games and he has that. I am excited for the first time in a long time.

  9. JonBuc Says:

    I must disagree with Brisco @ Barth. He only missed 5 fgs last year…3 of them over 50. And most of those just barely IIRC.Beats the hell out of the trick or treater Gramatica’s last couple of jittery years. As far as Wanny, I think he’s a welcome addition to the staff and was probably a good sounding board for the Revis deal.

  10. patinchicago Says:

    Get Hester!

  11. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Buc’n Junkie Says:
    “We got to let these guys grow into the position, even after a couple of mistakes. Quit shuffling.”

    I agree. Personally I thought Mike Smith deserved more of a chance at it.

    That said, we went through musical kickers and punters a few years ago and it ended well. Hopefully it will for our returners too.

  12. Eric Says:

    Wannstedt is a horrific coordinator too, ask the bills.

    Any of his so called accomplishments happen in the last 20 years?

  13. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    when did the bills last have a QB? You’re an idiot Eric.

  14. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    And yes, I realize he was a Dc, but you don’t win without a QB, and eventually any defense will look bad.

  15. BucDan Says:

    Definitely agree that Dave Wannstedt is going to have his hands full. The Bucs can’t flip field position in the return game and it is devastating to our overall gameplay.

    JonBuc makes a good point about Barth decent name). He missed it by thaaat much on those long FGs.

    Ronde will be missed on ST, but I can’t lie, Aqib was a beast out there. I loved his hustle on FGs, punts and PATs. He was usually laying out on a play most would take off. Can’t deny him of that.

  16. Eric Says:

    They had super Mario and gave up 450+ points. Three games teams racked up 50+ pts!

    Why do you think nobody in the league offered him a coordinator spot?

    Cause Dave Wannstedt is a walking disaster! Pitt, Chicago, Miami, buffalo, all disasters.

    The only time the man did anything was under Jimmy Johnson at the U and Dallas, ages ago!

  17. Buc'n Junkie Says:


    He’s a position coach with a hell of a lot of experience. . I have yet to hear one negative quote or complaint from any coach’s, upper management, team owners, other former players and nfl colleagues who have worked personally with Wannstedt for the last 25 years. So, why should any of us listen to you assassinate Dave’s character. Show me the links, because I have looked, and I can’t find anyone, of sound mind, that shares your hateful opinion.

  18. Eric Says:

    Might have great character. Leeman Bennett had great character too.

    Lousy football coach though.

    If he’s a good one his record sure has hid it well! Since the late eighties!

  19. Eric Says:

    The definition of delusional homerism is when Dave Wannstedt joins the staff and you think you have something.


  20. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    So because he didn’t get a coordinator offer he’s a disaster? You do realize there aren’t a million if those positions right? I wouldn’t matter who we hired though, nobody will satisfy the king of football knowledge, aka Eric. He knows all, especially more than guys with like 40 years of playing and coaching experience.

  21. Andrew 1 Says:

    Ill admit that I wasnt very impressed with his results while he was the head coach of the dolphins and pitt. successes just seemed to elude him. but that doesnt mean he wont be an excellent special teams coordinator. in fact I think he will do a great job.

    on a side note it must kinda be a little weird for Wannstedt having to work under a guy who used to work under him. he must really have his pride and ego in check. good for him.

  22. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    And for the record, I don’t consider taking the Dolphins to the playoffs in two consecutive seasons a disaster (he only coached them for 2.5 seasons), nor would I consider his tenure at Pitt to be a disaster. I know Eric doesn’t understand why you can’t take teams like Pitt and Rutgers and compete with Alabama and Florida. That’s way to much info for his little brain to comprehend. Trying to explain the landscape of college football is way too much for him.

  23. Curmudgeon Says:

    Eric… It’s great that you have this superior knowledge of coaches… I mean, what the hell does Greg Schiano know? I’m sure your opinion is much more valid than his, given your extensive experience in college and pro football. I mean, either that or you’re just a hater, and I have a hard time believing that. Maybe if you let us know your credentials, we’d be able to be able to understand and accept your vastly superior knowledge.

  24. Stanglassman Says:

    As dolphins head coach Wannstedt went to the playoffs the first 2 years as head coach with a regular season (41-23 after 3 years) record of 42-31 in the 4 years he was their HC. What a disaster!?

  25. Andrew 1 Says:

    “Not every GREAT coach is a GREAT Head Coach.”

    I believe Wade Phillips is a perfect example of this.

  26. Andrew H. Says:

    Hey Joe’s,

    So any chance you can get an article written about the whole Brian Leonard / Ray Rice dynamic at Rutgers. How Greg Schiano is reviving that with the Rice clone Martin. Think it’s pretty cool philosophically that he keeps bringing back his college roots.

  27. scubog Says:

    Not sure why someone is being called out as a “homer” on a fan web site. Aren’t we all “homers”?

  28. Steve Says:

    I met Dave Wannstedt at the airport and had a beer with him…Great guy. I asked him about the shift to focus on Special Teams and how big of a change was it. He told me every head coach spends as much with special teams if not more than offense and Defense. He said especially at Pitt b/c the guys on special teams today will eventually be your starters so it isn’t like he’s a ST novice.

    He also said they constantly have their eye on guys they expect to be cut and that a good returner can be signed and returning kicks immediately. The returner he sounded most intrigued by was Eric Page

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  30. Eric Says:

    I tried to warn you guys about Raheem Morris, and was met with similar contempt.

    What worries me is Wannstedt trained our HC!

    Im sure he is a great guy, but why does every team run him out of town, since about 1990? He was working on 1-8 when Miami jettisoned him. Two 4-12 efforts in Chi town, and just last year the Bills had one of the worst defensive efforts in their franchise’s history under his supreme guidance.