Rare “Area Of Concern” Identified By Lovie

May 18th, 2014

eric page2Though it would be nice to be 22 years old entering his third NFL season, Joe would not want to be Bucs return man Eric Page this morning.

Speaking yesterday to local media, Lovie Smith gave a rare glimpse into something that might be giving him angst. After spending so many years in Chicago with Devin Hester, now a proud member of the Falcons, Lovie sees to be unsettled by the Bucs’ equivalent.

“Punt return. Our punt returner is an area of concern for us a little bit,” Lovie said. “So it was good to see some of the guys [in rookie minicamp] and whether they could do it or not.”

Now was Lovie expressing concern for Page? Or is punt returner an “area of concern” because Lovie is unsure he has a backup for the position on the roster?

That’s a mystery.

Joe’s a fan of Page, who missed his rookie season in Denver with a blown ACL. Last season, Page finished as the NFL’s tied-for-13th-ranked punt returner, among guys with 15 or more returns.

27 Responses to “Rare “Area Of Concern” Identified By Lovie”

  1. Harry Says:

    How can Demps not be a factor here? I mean if he can’t catch the ball, or does not have the ‘vision’ for running lanes, aren’t those basic necessary skills needed to be a football player (at his RB position)?

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Page is OK….not fantastic…but learning….skill is good but decision-making difficulties.
    I think Lovie is looking for both a backup & an upgrade.

  3. canadian bucsfan Says:

    Page was not to bad as a return man but I would like to see Demps return kickoffs. Charles Sim could be a good punt returner aswell.

  4. Joe Dunn Says:

    Area of C O N C E R N ?? I thought that EVERY area of the Bucs caused people on this site to go CRAZY with CONCERN !! ?? !! ??

  5. Bob Says:

    Same thing I was thinking as they watched Hester, McCluster, Holliday, and every other return man sign elsewhere in free agency. McCluster had value as a “speed in space”player also.

  6. Kevin Says:

    I was not impressed with Page last season. I was unaware he was coming off of an injury his rookie season. I say he deserves camp to prove he can step it up….but if it’s like last years play then we need someone else. My guess is he does not make the final 53.

  7. pablo Says:

    If we had traded up for Sammy Watkins we would have an elite punt returner

  8. pablo Says:

    Still don’t understand why we did not pursue Devin Hester in free agency

  9. "Skyline" Says:

    Pablo, you won’t see VJ or ME13 returning punts. Watkins wouldn’t either because you dint take that risk. It would be stupid to have any of them returning punts. Leave it to WR3 or backups to do that work. Hell some D guys can do it to. Also Pablo….Evans>Watkins.

  10. Jim Walker Says:

    Demps is a joke. He is an IR waiting to happen. He wont make it out of the preseason.

  11. pablo Says:

    I love how everyone is saying Evans> Watkins … but you all were the same ones begging for Sammy @ 7 or trade

  12. Rrsrq Says:

    If the NSO would’ve recognized what Bill Billicheat did, he would’ve used Legerett Blount, lol

  13. Mort Says:

    Rrsrq: who cares? The past is done. We need to find someone who can do it now.

    I too would prefer the sprinter to be the returner, particularly if the guy has good vision. He is a RB so vision he had better have. If not then he shouldn’t make the team. If he can’t field pints then he needs to work on that for the next couple of months and hopefully figure it out. Catching seems like a requisite skill to have at his position as well.

  14. brandonbucfan Says:

    Special teams right now is a definite concern. Page must still also make the team as a receiver and that is not a given. But also ST’ers are made up of a lot of backup players especially LB’s. And what is one of the weakest spots we have for depth.. LB! This could be one of the areas ROY C. was also thinking about in his article. We purged a lot of our starters from ST from last years roster and someone please show me who we have to replace them? Can’t see any of our draft picks contributing on ST. We are overstocked on DL and weak at depth at CB and LB. A lot of choices to be made.

  15. gatrbuc17 Says:

    Demps and Harvin and Murphy made Tebow look really good.
    Have patience.

  16. Macabee Says:

    Lovie’s search is being driven by the reference standard. It isn’t that Page is so bad, it’s that Lovie had the reference standard and he knows how a STs ace can change a game. He’s turning over every rock and looking into every crevice trying to find that guy. Page, Patton, Sims, Demps, Herron et al will be thoroughly vetted trying to find some magic. The problem is Hester, like Deion, only comes along once in a decade, maybe longer! Good luck, Lovie!

  17. Buc1987 Says:

    Pablo…there was only one person saying Sammy @7 or trade down.
    I on the other was saying Evans over Watkins weeks before the draft.

  18. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Eric Page returns kickoffs, not punts.

  19. "Skyline" Says:

    Pablo, I will admit that I said Watkins at 7, but then I saw more game film and analysis and started chanting for Evans or Mack at 7. I wasn’t set on Sammy and don’t think he will have as big an impact as Evans. Watkins will be ok in the league, but I don’t see Megatron like capabilities out of him.

  20. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    And, btw, coming into the team, Lovie wanted Demps at PR. That means he’s not getting it done.

  21. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    BucFan1987‘s QB supporter list. How about it 1987….where’s the list of MGMers?????

  22. Macabee Says:


    Page returned Kick-offs last year. This team has been stood on it’s head, are you saying that he will only return kick-offs this year or do you know for sure that he makes the team? Your opinion , please!

  23. Rob Says:

    Page is alright, but Lovie’s used to having Devin Hester in his prime. He’s going to expect a lot out of the return game.

  24. Bear the Bucs Says:

    Returning punts takes a lot more concentration than returning kickoffs. It can also bite you in the butt big time on a fumble. NFL punters kick so high with a spiral, that catching a football that’s curving on the way down in the wind takes a special talent. You have to have confidence in your returner. Area of concern ? I thought it was the rice paper thin offensive line. One significant injury along with Carl Nicks not coming back would paralyze this team. Oh well, some more high draft picks next year.

  25. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:


    It’s too early to know what he’s doing this year. My point was that it’s likely Lovie wasn’t talking about Page when he mentioned punt returns.

  26. THETRUTH Says:

    Is Demps even at this camp being he is not a rookie. if not how can he be evaluated ?

    Yes should have gotten Hester he wanted to come here instead he will have 1 or 2 returns against us for TD a year with falcons..

  27. BoJim Says:

    Buccaneer Bonzai Said:

    “BucFan1987‘s QB supporter list. How about it 1987….where’s the list of MGMers?????”

    Present sir.