Wannstedt Says Michael Smith Is In The Mix

June 11th, 2013

The Bucs’ opening day kick returner last season, running back Michael Smith, who captained the inactive list for the remainder of the 2013 season, is back in the mix at kick returner.

New Bucs special teams coach Dave Wannstedt reinforced yesterday that the punt returner and kick returner positions are “obviously wide open,” and he named new free agent wider receiver Eric Page, along with WRs Chris Owusu and David Douglas, as among those battling, and Wannstedt called out Smith, “as far as the kick return stuff.”

What’s a bit scary is that those four guys have seven games of NFL experienced combined — five belong to Owusu, who has yet to field a return in the NFL.

Just based on how the roster might shake out, Joe’s not liking Smith’s chances. It’s all but a sure thing that Tiquan Underwood and Kevin Ogletree will score the No. 3 and No. 4 receiver positions, which means the New Schiano Order wants that No. 5 receiver to be able to be a returner.

Joe also learned from running backs coach Ernest Byner yesterday that he’s impressed with the versatility of Erik Lorig and newcomer running back Brian Leonard. That can’t bode will for Smith in the numbers game.

20 Responses to “Wannstedt Says Michael Smith Is In The Mix”

  1. tampabaybucfan Says:

    We also have Demps as a remote possibility. Matt Brown is also in the mix. Keep in mind, we could have recieved a 6th round pick for Smith from NE right after we drafted him in the 7th.
    Our failure to use him,even sparingly, has probably cost us the opportunity to trade him.

  2. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Hey, Joe. This is off topic but an angle I was just considering. Tebow has been signed by the Pats. If he does well there as a backup and Freeman does poorly this year, what are the chances the Bucs trade for Tebow next year?

    Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying it should happen or that I want it to (I don’t), but given the relationship of Bill and Greg, I was thinking and wondering.

    If the Bucs signed Tebow this year it would be an immediate controversy. But, maybe Greg convinces Bill to give Tebow a shot as a third QB in to evaluate him for Greg. It would benefit the Pats because if Tebow is improved they get a trade next year.

    Back on topic.
    I think Smith would be the best kick returner for us at present. Plus he provides depth at RB, which is needed.

    I don’t know why Smith was inactive so much last year. The Bucs must value him, otherwise he would have been on the practice squad. It’s puzzling.

  3. Joe Says:

    Hey, Joe. This is off topic but an angle I was just considering. Tebow has been signed by the Pats. If he does well there as a backup and Freeman does poorly this year, what are the chances the Bucs trade for Tebow next year?

    0.0 percent.

  4. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Maybe. Pats signed him to a 2 year deal, no guarantees. It’s a deal structured to make him trade-able next year. He’ll make the team…Pats are already selling his jerseys.

    Back on topic, I wish Spurlock had spent more time here. I thought he was at least as good as Underwood is at WR, and his kick returns allowed for an element of excitement that could put us back in games at any given time. He’s getting too old now though.

    Would be awesome if we ended up with a pro bowl kick returner though.

  5. JonBuc Says:

    Smith could always be placed on the practice squad. Another team could always add him to their active roster then obviously.

  6. lightningbuc Says:

    “0.0 percent.”

    I’d say even less than that!

  7. Tim Says:

    There is no chance under any circumstance of Tebow becoming a Buc unless it is in some kind of front office position.

    Smith was horrible as a returner last year and he does not add anything to us at running back other than speed. Sadly he will be cut or back on the practice squad.

    Demps has a chance to make the team so long as he does not fumble otherwise he will be shown the door faster than his 40 time.

    Our best bet for a returner will be someone that can contribute in the WR room as a returner. I would venture a guess the our PR will be Douglas and the two deep for KR will be Douglas and Brown.

    Brown provides RB depth as well as return skills.

  8. WestCoastBucsFan Says:


    Not to mention Spurlock’s versatility as a QB in an emergency. Where is that guy anyways?

  9. the_buc_realist Says:

    when the Pop-star is bringing in talent like Benn, Parker, and Briscoe. There is no room for Spurlock.

    Spurlock is with the chargers.

  10. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Still don’t understand the fascination with Smith. He’s a seventh round pick for cripes sake. You do realize there are tons of guys every single year who run 4.3-4.4 who don’t make it in the NFL, right? Right?

  11. lightningbuc Says:

    FL Boy,

    Don’t think it is really a fascination. Just everyone, including Joe, is kind of puzzled how he returned kicks on opening day and then was never heard from again with really no explanation.

  12. Bobby Says:

    It would be nice to hear “Run Michael, run!” again…

  13. Bobby Says:

    It would be nice to hear “Run Michael, run!” again…

  14. Bobby Says:

    What the heck…is there an echo in here???

  15. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Tim Says:
    “Smith was horrible as a returner last year”

    And just how many shots did he have at it? One? Two? Yeah…that’ll establish a record. He didn’t get a fair shot at it last year. He was inactive.

  16. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    WestCoastBucsFan, Chargers. He did have a return for TD last year though. If Smith could do it, we could still hear “run michael run” some more 😉

  17. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Not only might Smith fail to win the KR job this year, he might not even make the team. He’s fighting an uphill battle against more proven guys like Page at the KR spot, and at the RB position Leonard. And although rookie Mike James isn’t as fast as Smith, he has a more complete game that’s more NFL ready. I’m honestly having a hard time seeing a spot for Smith on the final roster.

  18. 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!

  19. MR.T Says:

    I fully expect Smith to make the team and be a contributor at rb. Of the 4 rb’s we had last year 2 were dumped, Smith wasn’t one of them. Since this is his 2nd year in this system he should have an advantage in that regard. We’ll see when we get to the preseason games how all this plays out.

  20. BucSnob Says:

    0.0 is about accurate for Tebow in a Buc uniform considering Freeman’s bad seasons statistically speaking, are better than Tebow’s best. I think the only reason why Tebow is in an NFL uniform is because he has come to his senses and he is ready to contribute to the Pats in a non-QB platform. Halfback at times? Tightend at times? We’ll see.