“He’s A Kick Returner”

June 12th, 2013

Last year had to be frustrating for running back Michael Smith. Drafted in the seventh round, Smith, lighting fast, was thought to be a darkhorse scatback backing up Doug Martin and a lethal kick return man.

Instead, after the first game, Smith became captain of the inactive list. He never wore a helmet for another game.

Joe got a chance to chat with Smith, who clearly hopes to take the field in more than one game, so he said after the first practice of mandatory minicamp yesterday.

“You take it how you see it,” Smith said of being wed to the inactive list. “I look at it as an opportunity to stay in the NFL. I just listened to the coaches. They told me what I need to do, what I need to work on. My opportunity didn’t come last year. Hopefully it will come this year. I just have to keep working hard.”

Smith thinks that being in the second year of the New Schiano Order can only help his quest to get on the playing field.

“I understand the offense better. I understand the schemes,” Smith said. “That will help out.”

A new season brings new goals. Last year, Smith’s initial goal was to make the team. He did. Now there are different goals (aside from staying off the inactive list), especially with a new running back in the mix, Mike James.

“I take nothing for granted,” Smith said. “I still have to make the team. At the same time, my confidence is a lot better, I know what [coaches] expect and show them what I’ve got, not thinking about plays when I show hesitation.”

When Joe asked Smith about returning kicks, he beamed like an old lady from Pasco County who just won Powerball.

“Yes, he has talked to me about that,” Smith said of special teams coach Dave Wannstedt, who Smith loves playing for. “Experience. I go up there and try to pick his brain about this, this and this. If I ask him about something, he always has an answer to help me, whether it is setting up blocks or returning the ball. Just like [running backs coach Ernest Byner].

Smith broke out laughing noting how Wannstedt, 60, may be the most excitable if not vocal coach on the Bucs’ practice fields.

As far as Bucs coach Greg Schiano’s take on Smith, Schiano said Smith “is a kick returner” who will get plenty of preseason work while Martin rests to keep the Pro Bowl running back fresh.

11 Responses to ““He’s A Kick Returner””

  1. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    It would be nice if Demps decides to play Football ?

  2. Macabee Says:

    In the Michael Smith video interview that is running on Buccaneers.com, was that one of the Joes that walks up to Smith and ask the question about being sick of being on the inactive list wearing throwback 1950’s polaroid sunglasses?

  3. Macabee Says:


    Jeff Demps has been excused from mandatory mini-camp. I assume because of his focus on running track. The best way to explain how I feel about Demps is to examine the role of the chicken and the pig in a ham and egg breakfast.

    You see there is a big difference between contribution and commitment. In a ham and egg breakfast, the chicken makes a contribution, but the pig makes a serious commitment.

    I’ll get serious about Demps when he makes a commitment to the Bucs and NFL football!

  4. tampabaybucfan Says:

    Demps really cost us nothing. It is good to have even the possibility of his contribution. Let things play out with Smith. Obviously we have a lot of depth at running back now…but is it quality depth?
    On another note…I think Wannstedt will significantly improve our special teams.

  5. MR.T Says:

    As I said in other posts, I fully expect him to make the team and be a contributor. His attitude seems upbeat and he obviously has a great work ethic I’m sure he has improved a lot since last year. They certainly see potential in him since he wasn’t jettisoned like blount and ware. I am really looking forward to this preseason, so many interesting position battles going on, should be fun to watch.

  6. BucsfaninChina Says:

    I sure hope Smith can take a step up this year so we rely less, if at all, on Demps. With the rights to somebody who will likely not see a football field any time in the foreseeable future (prob not until after 2016 Olympics) the Patriots obviously saw the light and dealt his ass. Why Dom dealt Blount for Demps and a pick to burn on a guy that had a shot of going unsigned is beyond me. Lets stop chasing the fantasy of Jeff Demps and start getting Smith some work so we can have a reliable stable of backs god forbid Dougie goes down.

  7. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    BucsfaninChina, the trade wasn’t originally for demps. It was a done deal when Dominick asked if they would throw Demps in as a freebee. They did, since they were planning on releasing him.

  8. BucsfaninChina Says:

    Then that makes the Blount trade even worse…

  9. PRBucFan Says:

    Blount wouldn’t of fetched anything greater than that, it was a smart move.

  10. PRBucFan Says:

    It’s also a nice way of making sure Blount didn’t end up on a rival team lol 😉

  11. Brandon Says:


    Very profound!