Bucs Identify “High Priority” On Special Teams

January 30th, 2014

Come home, Dexter.

The Bucs gathered their assistant coaches yesterday for Joe and other local media. Of course, these guys largely play things very close to the vest when it comes to commenting on the Bucs roster.

Joe’s got to hand it to veteran defensive line coach Joe Cullen. That guy knows how to stick to the no-substance, happy-to-be here, everybody’s-talented script. That’s no knock on Cullen, just the way it is with many hard-nosed veteran coaches.

But there were some spotlights shined yesterday.

Per WDAE-AM 620 beat man Tom Krasniqi, Eric Page likely will be looking for a new gig and named two possible successors.

New special teams coach Kevin O’Dea puts a heavy emphasis on having a big time return specialist: “That guy is a high priority.” Expect the Bucs to pursue someone like Devin Hester or Largo product Dexter McCluster in free agency. McCluster makes more sense since he’s younger and can fill two needs—slot WR and return specialist. Makes so much sense.

Joe can’t argue with Krasniqi’s endorsement of McCluster, who’s an electric, versatile Pro Bowler. Jeff Tedford would need might need a hand dabbing allthe drool off his chin.

For those wondering, among full-time punt returners, Hester ranked third in the NFL last season. McCluster was ninth. Page ranked 13th.

38 Responses to “Bucs Identify “High Priority” On Special Teams”

  1. Kryq Says:

    Would love Hester or Dexter !

  2. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Joe Cullen also said he will be using STUNTS.

    I would not be against Dexter McCluster being brought in, but I also feel Eric Page would improve this year.

    Newsflash: Every D-line uses stunts. –Joe

  3. Nate_tweetz Says:

    Eric Page needs to be replaced. Yes, his return yardage was barely above average (13), but I don’t remember any of those runs where you saw him about to break one loose and go all the way. He would hit an edge hear and there, but you could see the kicking team closing in and knew he was going to get run down. McCluster would be nice, but I still would rather have Hester. Yes, he’s older, but he has not been taking very many hits the last couple of years. Especially last year. He still has enough in the tank imo… And he’s a Lovie guy.

  4. Dennis Says:

    Hester had the best year of his career last year in KR.. yeah he has some left in the tank but I’m still in for Sammy Watkins to be the upcoming receiver and PR/KR…

  5. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    What about Demps ? He can fly. Wonder if he can be used as a return man, if he can stay healthy ?

  6. Vic Says:

    Demps is coming off groin surgery. Too big of an unknown and a question mark.

  7. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    I have a lot of respect for TKras football IQ. Like to throw a few more names into the fire though Jacoby Jones & Jacoby Ford. Plus a gunner Kassim Osgood & chargers special team demon SS Darrell Stuckey.

  8. Architek Says:

    Pay McCluster and bring him to Tampa!

  9. Architek Says:

    And make sure you have a capable backup returner in case of injury as we have seen the prior regime leave us exposed with no depth at multiple positions.

  10. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I know, Joe, but you couldn’t tell it by what the fans were screaming this last year 😉

  11. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Nate_tweetz, Eric Page was in his rookie year, and he still averaged 13 ypr.

    I’m not saying he is better than Hester or McCluster, I’m just saying he should be kept even if he is not the feature returner. At least for another year. He is a Free Agent this year though…I think.

  12. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    49er’s had (4) players in the Top 20 Lead in special teams tackles in 2013.

    #4 C.J. Spillman S *(16)
    #4 Michael Wilhoite LB *(16)
    #9 Kassim Osgood WR *(14)
    #16 Raymond Ventrone S *(13)

  13. Glennon Mob Says:

    This is why Sammy Watkins would be a great draft pick

  14. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Joe, I sent you and email and forgot to add a subject…I think you’ll enjoy what I sent 😉

  15. BucsfaninChina Says:

    Duuuuuuuuuuude mccluster would be perfect!!!! Chiefs never understood how to use him correctly and he made the Pro Bowl solely as a returner. But Tedford sounds like a bubble screen kinda guy and McCluster is just his man for the job. So many free agents are so tempting this yr.

  16. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    This is probably the deepest draft I’ve ever seen.

  17. Buc1987 Says:

    I feel the need. The need for speed.

  18. Mumbles Says:

    Draft Dri Archer in the 5th round!

  19. Keirster Says:

    I hope we get a full off season look at Demps. Maybe he can earn it in camp with some competition. You cant teach speed!

  20. Patrick in VA Says:

    @Keirster – are we going to have him in the pre-season? is he still doing his track training in the summer months?

  21. Captain Stagger Says:

    Demps, McCluster, Page, Watkins, And Huff.

  22. Macabee Says:


    I agree on Archer, but he can probably be had in the 7th round. But maybe you’re right because he’s probably going to move up once he’s discovered. Small school product, nobody knows about him yet.


  23. Couch Fan Says:

    Draft Watkins!

  24. snook Says:

    McCluster would hopefully want to play at home in Florida.

  25. Macabee Says:

    I agree, draft Watkins! But we’re talking special teams here. Who would expose their primary offensive weapon to this kind of kamikaze risk every Sunday? Not happening!

  26. Couch Fan Says:

    I understand your point but IMO, you get Sammy the ball any and every time you can. Plus he saves a roster spot.

  27. Daffy Buc Says:

    Let Michael Smith and Demps battle it out. Loser get cut, winner is also third back. We could trade James or Rainey for a third or fourth round pick.

  28. Martinii Says:

    Forget about it Bucs fans. Between Nick’s salary cap hit, the fact that we only have 5 draft picks, and Licht’s comment about building through the draft (not taking big time free agents) I don’t see many top shelf additions to the Bucs roster in 2014. We are going to have to develop the players we have on board.

  29. Kevin Says:

    Damn I like this better than hester, like you said return guy, slot receiver,younger and cheaper….GO GET HIM!!!

  30. RastaMon Says:

    The way it works….is to draft or sign UDFA…..the next…not sign the 1/4 tank returner running on empty…

  31. SteveK (MGM) Says:

    We should bring in Hester AND another threat.

    Glen on could use some help at WR.

    Also,our O-Line is O-verrated and we need to draft fresh blood.

  32. Touchdown Gus Says:

    @Macabee The Rams did it last year with Tavon Austin. A player they traded up to have

  33. Gack Says:

    It seemed like Demps couldn’t make guys miss. Great north and south speed but no agility to make the moves

  34. Macabee Says:

    TD Gus,

    You’re right about Tavon! That’s one. Now you’ve got 31 other teams to go or otherwise you’ve made my point. As I recall Tavon had 40 recs for 418 yards as he was hurt for a number of games. Surely you would expect more from a talent like Sammy Watkins and wouldn’t want to see a 1st round pick on IR.

    Gus. I’ll give you a FG for that, but no TD! lol

  35. SteveK (MGM) Says:

    Sign Hester, draft some smurfs.

    Sign Peanut Tillman, Sign Peppers and Allen.

    I really hope we trade back and stack up picks/future picks?

  36. Patrick in VA Says:

    @stevek – pft reported earlier that peanut said he we would be retiring as a bear, for what it’s worth. That’s not to say that he’s not willing to sign a one day deal at the end to retire a bear but that’s what he said

  37. Brandon Says:

    Great idea, Steve. That same philosophy worked wonders for the Redskins. What you are referring to is not a guarantee for success nor a sustainable model. More often than not, older free agent signings tend to backfire.

  38. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    SteveK (MGM) Says
    “Sign Peanut Tillman, Sign Peppers and Allen.”

    Tilman will not be available. He wants to remain in Chicago and he says he and Bears are working things out.

    Peppers would be waaaaay overpriced.

    I’m with you on Allen, but don’t think it will happen. Hester most likely won’t either. McCluster? Maybe.