Special Teams Gets Hand; Standouts Identified

August 11th, 2014

Lovie Smith and Jonathan Casillas weigh in

Often overlooked, especially when a team’s offensive line drives fans to commit dangerous acts, specials teams are a critical component to any winning football team.

Lovie Smith offered praise for what he saw Friday night, and one of his special teams aces weighed in, too.

“We thought we got pretty consistent play from our special teams. We had a lot of guys who graded out fairly well,” Lovie said. “I thought we had an opportunity, you know, a couple of the returns, you know we thought we had it blocked pretty well. Our returners have to do a better job. It’s kind of as simple as that. Bobby Rainey did some good things. Of course, Eric Page had an opportunity.”

The gameday goal for the Bucs’ special teams? Well, Lovie detailed that on SiriusXM NFL Radio yesterday.

“We ask our special teams to make one make-a-difference-play a game, either a takeaway or one big return. We didn’t get that Friday night, either,” Tampa Bay’s head coach said.

Lovie also went on to say his linebackers must lead the way on special teams, naming guys like Dane Fletcher and Danny Lansanah as examples.

Joe caught up to returning special teams ace Jonathan Casillas, and Casillas said the Bucs were “ok at best” on Friday.

Casillas praised [Safety] Kelcie McCray, Rainey and wide receiver Russell Shepard for their work Friday.

The Bucs lost major contributors from a solid special teams unit last season, guys like Erik Lorig, Dekoda Watson, Adam Hayward, Brian Leonard and others. Casillas acknowledged the loss and says the Bucs have enough talent to fill those holes.

But for Joe, that’s where it gets interesting. Casillas named McCray and Shepard, who was a favorite of special teams coach Dave Wannstedt last season. Those are two guys who are on the Bucs’ roster bubble. Rainey likely is, too.

Lovie will have a difficult roster balancing act when it comes to building a special teams unit. Guys on the roster “bubble” like Da’Quan Bowers, Steven Means, Rainey, Jeff Demps, Chris Owusu, etc, really will have to be proven special teams contributors if they’re going to be Buccaneers.

4 Responses to “Special Teams Gets Hand; Standouts Identified”

  1. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Demps has not earned a roster spot. Neither has Bowers yet.

  2. Jon Says:

    Looks like the guys from last year will still be the core this year!

  3. Owlykat Says:

    Licht should have paid more attention to special teams value before he let too many of our special team specialists go in free agency.

  4. sam Says:

    im getting the impression lovie is regretting not getting Hester, I feel like that mistake is going too haunt us.