Special Teams Focus Could Reel In McManus

February 28th, 2014

McManusLovie Smith has a huge focus on special teams. In fact, they are key to Lovie’s weak-offense formula for winning 10 games in a season.

As part of Joe’s continuing look at free agents that will help replace at least half the current Buccaneers, one of the Bears’ best special teamers (not named Hester) could be a Tampa Bay target when the free-agency bell rings in 11 days.

Lovie and the Bears traded with Houston for cornerback Sherrick McManis just before roster cuts in August 2012. A handful of weeks later, Lovie was glowing about the third year player, saying how his standout special teams play was what the Bears hoped for, and Lovie was clear that McManis was “coming along” well as a corner.

Lovie got fired after that 10-win season, but McManus, who was a originally a fifth-round draft pick, survived the regime change and the Chicago Tribune just this week labeled him the Bears’ best special teams player. The Tribune predicts he’ll stay in Chicago but will test the free-agent market first. 

McManus, 26, seems like the kind of guy Lovie would want versus, say, Rashaan Melvin and Anthony Gaitor, current Bucs backup cornerbacks coming off injury. McManus is established, experienced and healthy. Those guys are question marks.

No, this would not be an acquisition that would push the Bucs over the top and make happy waves across Tampa Bay, but it would represent the kind of “value” upgrade Jason Licht has referenced.

13 Responses to “Special Teams Focus Could Reel In McManus”

  1. biff barker Says:

    Special teams are just one component of the game. There is no substitute for an offense capable of scoring touchdowns.

  2. buchead407 Says:

    Yea but I’m pretty confident that Jeff tedford will get some players he wants on offense this off-season, and the Bucs will have a better offense than last year, that paired with lovie upgrading the defense and special teams, and the biggest thing for me is lovie won’t blow the game with stupid schemes and gamplans in the 2nd half….we should be much better team than last year….not shouting playoffs yet or anything but we will play nfl football every game

  3. Piratic Says:

    biff barker=Captain Obvious.

    Or is it Negative Nancy?

    This article is about Special Teams and CB depth, not Offense.

  4. Owlykat Says:

    Just the kind of special teams player we need. Our Offense does not have to be weak if we get Carr. However, he so excelled in the combine my fear is if we trade down to pick up draft picks, Minnesota is going to grab Carr with the eighth pick. We will need to grab Carr with the 7th pick!!! I trust Lovie to find a way to fix the Offensive Line. It would be great if Nix can come back. Then move our RT to LT, and try our current LT at guard or RT with a cut in salary. Meredith can play guard or RT too if needed. I have a feeling that our current RT will play much better this year and over his injury.

  5. bucray1 Says:

    hey , just heard a rumor that every available bear is coming to tampa. non story , move on.

  6. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I have to say, there are several players I would like chased out of Tampa. I hope Lovie does it.

    They should bring Underwood back though. He’s no starter but he is good 3rd string depth.

  7. Brandon Says:

    BuccaneerBonzai Says:
    February 28th, 2014 at 12:11 pm
    I have to say, there are several players I would like chased out of Tampa. I hope Lovie does it.

    They should bring Underwood back though. He’s no starter but he is good 3rd string depth.

    One of the keys for backup WRs sticking on teams is their ability to play special teams. Underwood does not bring any value to special teams. Why would you want to waste a roster spot on WR that can only run vertical routes, doesn’t block, doesn’t get much separation, won’t/can’t effectively hold up inside, and above all else, doesn’t play special teams?

    What is some people’s fascination with Underwood? About the best thing he’s ever done for the Bucs was taking that helmet-to-helmet hit in Carolina to help us win that 2012 game. That isn’t exactly the definition of “clutch”.

  8. Mike Says:

    I agree Bonzia , but I think Underwood is more of a number 4. I’m excited to see what happens in the next few weeks and months. Speaking of special teams, would be a shame to let Watson hit FA. Whether I like the changes or not, I’m still excited non the less

  9. BamBamBuc Says:

    Just the kind of addition we need. If he’s an upgrade to Melvin and Gaitor and is healthy, a special teams contributor and inexpensive, go get him.

    Bonzai, I agree on Underwood. Bring him back. He may not be a starter, but he’s adequate #3 and pretty good #4 if we find someone better. I can’t imagine he’s worse than Owusu or Dawson and should be inexpensive as well.

    Why do I keep saying “inexpensive” when we have SO much cap space? Because we have a lot of these little pieces of the puzzle to fill in and need multiple depth improvements across the team. Even $1M a pop adds up fast. And if we even make one big splash in FA, that will eat up a lot. We can use guys like this to fill those #3 WR or nickel/dime CB spots. Watson should be an inexpensive SLB if we choose to bring him back to play his 40% of the snaps. If Lorig’s price isn’t driven up much, he’s a pretty good blocking FB that can catch. Of course, if we find better at similar or better price at any of these spots, by all means take the better option at lesser price.

  10. BamBamBuc Says:

    Oh yes, and Eric Page is another WR that I think has some value as a restricted FA. Decent special teams guy that can improve and has some speed. Might actually keep him over Underwood, but we always seem to cut Underwood just to bring him back and that drives me nuts. He was better than Dawson and Owusu. When he came back, he was #2 or #3. If he was #2 or 3 quality, why didn’t we cut one of the others and keep him?

  11. Mike Says:

    Brandon, I think all Bonzia meant was that Underwood is serviceable. Not not a top player, but can come in and play if we have injuries. Unless we can pick up somebody better for that spot then so be it, but the guy is serviceable even if not able to play special teams

  12. SAMCRO Says:

    Although we are in need for so many positions, this seems like a year to grab a couple of the best corners in the draft. They seem to be over-looked at this point, and are there for the picking.

  13. Couch Fan Says:


    Dennard from Michigan State is going to be a stud. Would love for him to be a Buc.