Rookie Returners?

July 13th, 2014
road runner editor Scott Smith believes rookie WR Robert Herron could be a starting return man this fall.

Joe understands why Bucs fans are giddy over wide receiver Mike Evans, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and running back Charles Sims.

Not only are they rookie offensive specialists added to upgrade the worst offense in the NFL, but they were all first- and second-day draft picks. Those guys should breathe life into a football team.

Often, however, it is the guys drafted on the third day who not only make or break a draft, but make a team strong (that’s why Joe is so bullish on Will Gholston). This year’s third-day draft pick to keep an eye on is lighting-quick receiver Robert Herron from the football powerhouse of Wyoming.

Speed kills and you cannot teach it; you cannot coach it and Herron has it. When Joe was at the OTA underwear practices, when Herron ran crossing routes, he simply pulled away from defenders. multimedia maven Scott Smith has his eye on Herron, too, but he is looking at Herron through a different prism. Smith believes the Bucs could surprise with two rookies being return men.

Eric Page did a nice job as the Bucs’ return man last year and should definitely be considered one of the favorites to handle those duties again in 2014. However, there’s a whole new coaching staff in town, Page has had the job for just one year and there’s no guarantee that he’ll offer enough as a receiver to make his roster spot more permanent.

I would say that Page is going to be facing some pretty stiff competition (which will only make it better if he holds on to one or both return jobs). Some of that will come from fresh faces like Charles Sims and Robert Herron. Sims seems to be in the mix for the kickoff return job, while Herron is a candidate on punts. There’s a very good chance that both players make the team regardless of their roles in the return game, so Lovie Smith and company can afford to roll the dice on Sims and Herron to see what they can do on special teams.

I can’t imagine predicting right now that either Sims or Herron will be quality NFL return men. I do think, however, that they could show enough in training camp and preseason to get a shot at those jobs. That would be surprising, but not unforeseeable.

Well, if speed means a guy can be a good return man, well then, you won’t find a much better candidate than Herron. (Jeff Demps?) This guy has wheels and it will be obvious when you see him in 12 days when the Bucs open training camp.

Joe thinks Smith made a helluva point: While Page is the incumbent returner, that was under the old regime. However, Joe recently texted a trusted source who works within the walls of One Buc Palace who told Joe the current administration doesn’t care who brought in a player so long as the player can play.

14 Responses to “Rookie Returners?”

  1. Jim Says:

    Page did a good job in not turning over the ball but he mostly ran east/west rather than north/south.

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It is a great problem to have…..a player like Page who did a pretty good job last year having trouble making the team. The key to depth is having player who excel on special teams.

  3. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Jim Says
    “Page did a good job in not turning over the ball but he mostly ran east/west rather than north/south.”

    Not so. Look at his stats. He got some good yardage on returns. As a young player. Another year, spent with a good Special Teams coach, and he may well start getting TDs.

    He is also more active in the receiving game now as well.

    I’m all for competition though. I want a TD scoring guy there no matter who it is. Nothing feels better after the opposing team scores than to have a TD on the lick return.

  4. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Kick return as well 😉

  5. DallasBuc Says:

    Do Herron or Sims have return experience at either position? That’s a unique position that is not suited for everybody no matter how fast they are.

  6. Cody Says:

    I’d like to see Herron back deep, Herron has a little Steve Smith in’em…Smith started his career as a return specialist…wether it’s Sims, Herron, Demps, etc Imo we need somebody back there who’s actually a threat to score…Eric Page is just too slow imo…

  7. Kevin Says:

    Page didn’t really screw up on his returns but he certainly didn’t wow me either. I look for Herron or Demps to be lighting it up this season for us in the return game

  8. Buccfan37 Says:

    I get the feeling Herron will be responsible for some touchdown celebrations.

  9. Hawk Says:

    ‘Speed’ isn’t the biggest need for a return man. Remember, he is running *at* the opponent, not from him. Vision, and cutting (and then speed) are the weapons of a good return man. If he can’t avoid the players coming at him, he will have no use for speed. (You also don’t want to outrun your blocking scheme.)

  10. Pat Says:

    Eric Page was the most mediocre return man in the NFL last season. If it’s an accomplishment to start your offensive drive at the 24th yard line as opposed to the 20th yard line, and concede that you will never score touchdowns on your special teams, Page is your man.

  11. Andrew 1 Says:

    My money is still on Solomon Patton. He’s fast, and he has kick return experience. I would be surprised if he doesn’t get at least a shot at it. Could be our Trindon Holiday from the broncos.

  12. Jim Walker Says:

    I would just like a punt returner that doesn’t make me cross my fingers when ever the ball is in the air.

  13. Back, From Davie Jones locker Says:

    Page did a good job last year. He showed some burst,,on a pretty poorly schemed return unit.

    Herron as a punt returner, and Sims as a kickoff returner- would probably be very successful, but short lived.
    I think both will be to key to the offense, by years end, to risk as return men

  14. owlykat Says:

    Between Herron, Sims, Page, and Demps I’ve the feeling Lovie will develop a dynamic returner who will score touchdowns this year!