The Mystery Of Jeff Demps

June 18th, 2014

jeff demps

Jeff Demps is a fan favorite, even though the guy hasn’t produced a lick wearing an NFL uniform. For this reason alone, Joe is puzzled by Demps’ popularity.

Oh, sure. Joe knows Demps is a local guy from Winter Haven, so that has something to do with it. And, yes, Joe knows he starred for the Gators. That might have a whole lot more to do with it.

Joe guesses the main reason for the adoration of Demps is promise. Speed kills and you can’t teach speed. Problem for Demps is that despite being a former track star, speed alone doesn’t make a football player. multimedia maven Scott Smith dives in to the Demps mystery.

Then there’s Jeff Demps. To this point, the Bucs seem to be using him mostly as a running back, and the results are sometimes eye-opening. It is especially important here to remember the non-contact thing, but there are moments in practice when Demps takes an offset handoff, starts in one direction and then suddenly bursts upfield through a gap that look quite promising to this admittedly untrained eye.

Yes, at times, Demps flashes that Olympian speed, and it does get your attention and you understand why Bucs coach Lovie Smith is enamored with Demps. Then you see the hands, and you cringe. He totally dropped the football running up a wide hole… in underwear football with no contact! Then you see the ball clang off his hands on a pass to the right flat. Yikes.

In case Bucs fans haven’t noticed lately, there is a crowded backfield with Doug Martin, Mike James, Charles Sims and Bobby Rainey. Demps could be a sparkling addition, but not before he learns how to take care of the ball.

27 Responses to “The Mystery Of Jeff Demps”

  1. DallasBuc Says:

    He might just be rusty since he has really played since college. I don’t remember him having terrible hands in college. However I do remember him gashing defenses and scoring TDs!

  2. Captain Morgan Says:

    This is the first time since college that he is dedicated to football and in football shape. I think the Bucs will make room for him as a change of pace back and slot receiver. Special teams seems like an obvious fit. He did it all at UF.

  3. Harry Says:

    It is due to that 4 letter word: HOPE. We are hoping for Willie Gault, but we are more likely, at best, to get Renaldo Nehemiah.

    Its going to really be painful for Lovie to cut Demps. Lovie is also hoping for Gault, but he knows better.

  4. INDYbucsfan Says:

    While I agree that there probably is a chance he makes the team, if his hands and ball carrying skills don’t improve then we should cut him. Why waste a roster spot on some dude that’s blazing fast but can’t hang on to the ball? However if he just a little out of football shape and getting back in to the swing of things, if he turns the corner and becomes productive he will be a lot of fun to watch.

  5. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Dallas- No offense, but how can you be rusty receiving the ball on a hand-off?! That’s pee-wee football.
    Point is, there’s a lot of Gator fans around here so he gets more attention than he deserves, speed or not. He has yet to prove ONE thing in the NFL and if you read between the lines, he’s not even the 4th best back on the roster.

  6. SAMCRO Says:

    Regardless of his gifted speed, if he can’t hang on to the ball, he’s a liability. Sadly, I predict if he keeps dropping the ball with pads on, there is no way he makes the 53 man roster. It will also be interesting to see how much contact he’s willing to endure with pads on. Will he go down like a lump of coal on the slightest contact or will he actually sacrifice his body and fight for extra yardage. I think he’s still in self preservation mode and in fear of being injured, and will never really commit 100% as long as he aspires to be an Olympian track star.

  7. Louis Friend Says:

    I think the guy could have been special if he’d stuck to football from day 1 after leaving UF, but he didn’t. He’s fighting an uphill battle against himself first. His body was fragile like glass last year, and if he has the same issue this year he’s basically done.

    The Bucs have quite a few more speedy options than they did last year. I’m rooting for Demps, but I don’t think he’s going to stick when stacked up against his RB competition. As a special teams guy, he needs to flash as a punt returner because that’s probably his only shot of surviving the final cutdown.

  8. Buccfan37 Says:

    Butterfingers Demps!

  9. biff barker Says:

    Owusu, Herron and Murphy are all speed guys. How much is enough?
    It’s incremental at best wearing pads.
    Shaky ground for Demps, especially if he can’t secure a return job.

  10. Architek Says:

    Joe –
    I think you are on to something. The current crowded backfield and touches is something to think about from the standpoint of the OTAs and mini-camp was the perfect opportunity to see what Demps had (without contact).

    I expect during training camp there will be hitting and adversity that will test his mettle. I say this because in shorts he’s untouchable and the fastest on the field but in pads he becomes mortal and how he responds to be nicked up or physical will determine if he makes this team.

    He should be a great keep on STs though – I suspect he will make the roster for that cause alone. Remember how much Lovie value STs.

  11. Bucs Fan #237 Says:

    This Buc organization is adding more talent, size and speed than I do in Madden Football… it’s Maddening… LOLZ … I would have to put Madden Franchise in cheat mode in order to make the moves Tampa has made this year.

  12. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    If he cannot catch, he can’t kick or punt return.

    Last I checked, the NFL wasn’t about teaching the entire game to a man who suddenly decided to play football.

    Demps will be cut by the start of the season, probably in the first round of cuts.

    And good riddance. He is the perfect example of how “speed” isn’t enough.

  13. pick6 Says:

    demps is the new michael bennett. remember him, the really fast RB who could not get more than 2 bubble screen attempts a year from gruden and who fans were demanding get more snaps? you can be as fast as you want, but unless you demonstrate football intelligence, toughness, and some key fundamentals you’re still not going to see much action on sundays

  14. Orca Says:

    I don’t think there’s good reason to keep him around if he can’t hold onto the ball. In my mind, there are 4 backs in front of him that are more deserving of a roster spot.

  15. bucray1 Says:

    what’s mind-blowing to me is how anyone can question why this guy is popular around here. as stated in the article he’s a local boy who went on to have great success at UF as a FOOTBALL PLAYER first and then turned his natural speed into a great track career( he’s not renaldo nehemia). put all that with the fact that he’s an underdog to make the team and you have all the ingredients for a great story. why wouldn’t you root for him Is alarming to me and I seriously question how you can claim to be a bucs fan and not give this guy a chance. belicheat gave this guy a shot and now lovie smith. that weighs more to me than the ignorance of a supposed bucs fan who admittedly just doesn’t get it.

  16. phil Says:

    And I thought John MacKay said the football wasn’t heavy.

  17. Jim Walker Says:

    He wont make it out of preseason without an injury and his NFL career will be done. He is a glass cannon.

  18. getaclue Says:

    Michael Bennett was a pro bowler before he came here

  19. Buccanr1 Says:

    We get it, Joe is a Big 10 guy. Enough already with cutting the SEC guys at the knees. Your “homerness” is overwhelming.

  20. Buccanr1 Says:

    Is demps the only guy that has dropped a balled in camp?

  21. RustyRhinos Says:

    Hey, SEC & Big 10 players both get cut..

    When you can’t hold on or catch the ball without getting popped while in shorts, how can we keep this type of player on the team? Speed or not so much speed. To score you must hold on to the rock. I would love to see Demps speed work out for us. I am excited even to watch him play. If he can hold on to and catch the rock.

  22. Buccanr1 Says:

    Comment wasn’t to you Rusty, but I appreciate your useless comment.

  23. owlykat Says:

    Demps is very durable and he will turn on his toughness when the pads go on. You will see. He also is the best kick blocker we have on this team. He can catch on the run and turn the corner faster than any back on this team. He also does not mind blocking and can run between the tackles without fumbling. Remember VJax dropped a lot of balls too at the beginning last year, but I don’t remember anyone wanting to cut him. Demps can live up to Lovie’s expectations and is a match up nightmare for every team we play. Tell me, who will be able to cover him man on man on his go routes? That is what sets Demos apart from any other runner on this team!!!

  24. Buccanr1 Says:

    Thank you kat,
    I don’t know why this article is titled “Mystery” . Obviously they see something in him. Their jobs depend on it. I rarely post on here, but some times it just wears me out.

  25. Buccanr1 Says:

    I wouldn’t label him durable though.

  26. Tiny Tim Says:

    This is the only buc site that bashes Demps’ hands. Other credible sites always state why they understand Demps being on the team etc. Some sites have him as a lock to make the final 53. Sure Demps had a moment where he dropped a tailor made pass for a TD in OTA’s but I have not read another site which makes it seems as if he is just unreliable with catching the ball. I’m wondering if there is a hidden agenda here by bashing Demps.

  27. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    If nothing else, Demps can be a great decoy for us in Tampa, just because of his speed. Just his being ON the field may cause defensive coordinators fits, and allow some of our other stars to get more favorable matchups.
    The first time I saw him run, I about hit the roof. I mean, this guy can make people miss clean, with his speed alone.
    It is said, you can’t coach speed, you either have it, or you don’t.
    I think Tampa should give him every chance, if he is finally really committed to playing football.