Special Teams Gambles Are Prevalent

September 1st, 2014

lovie smith 0725There’s no fear in Lovie Smith, and that’s evident by his numerous dice rolls on special teams.

Where should Joe start?

Among the highlights:

Backup running back Bobby Rainey appears to be Tampa Bay’s top punt and kick returner entering opening day. Rainey has no regular season punt returns in the NFL, and he didn’t catch any during his final two college seasons at Western Kentucky.

Anointed kicker Patrick Murray, the pride of Fordham University, was out of football last year and has no NFL experience.

Lovie has stated many of his linebackers and his fullback, if he kept one, would be counted on heavily in special teams. Fullback Jorvorskie Lane was out of football last year, and 29-year-old linebacker Danny Lansanah has two career NFL tackles.

It’s no wonder special teams ace/wide receiver Russell Shepard, a Dave Wannstedt favorite from last year, was retained as the Buccaneers’ sixth receiver. But on that front, Lovie has said his No. 5 receiver needs to be a strong special teams contributor. That No. 5 role seems to belong to rookie Robert Herron or Chris Owusu, who’s never been a special teams asset.

All that written, the Bucs had a solid preseason at special teams, but they also didn’t show anything special in that area.

Regardless, Joe appreciates Lovie Smith’s willingness to gamble. He just has to win — while Devin Hester is a member of the Atlanta Falcons.

15 Responses to “Special Teams Gambles Are Prevalent”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I think with the huge turnover their had to be some gambles. I would be very happy if our players learned two things……don’t block in the back and don’t hold.

  2. T-DUB Says:

    Haven’t comfirmed this yet, but I keep seeing stories and notes that states “patton placed on PRACTICE SQUAD and to be called up to active roster once Sims is placed on IR-to come back- list. “

  3. biff barker Says:

    Lovie is gambling on is tucking ST guys on the practice squad until to OG herd can be culled.

  4. BucBob1 Says:

    A solid preseason is a good foundation to build upon. Also, It’s possible, that after Charles Sims is placed on IR tomorrow, Solomon Payton my be back on the active roster, for kick returns. As far as Devin Hester goes, I guess we’ll find out, just how fast, Robert Heron really is.

  5. Architek Says:

    Don’t quite comprehend the moves – albeit I was not a Page fan, nothing special, but going to Rainey over Patton is also a big risk.

  6. Hunter Says:

    Joe – when are you introducing an app??

    As soon as it’s ready. For now, Joe’s pleased that the mobile-reading issues are history.–Joe

  7. billy buckaroo Says:

    This team had MANY holes to plug–MANY!!
    Starting with the coach and GM
    L&L have done a pretty good job within the constraints handed to them in their first year.
    Special teams is prob top of the “gambling” list but they had to have a gambling list with all the holes to plug. Im hoping for the best on special teams but also realize in order to fill some of those other HUGE needs on this team that gambles had to be taken in this first year and special teams is going to suffer some for it. No way to get everything needed on this team in the first go around and I hope special teams can at least hold their own.

  8. Bawlmerbucfan Says:

    I’m definitely a believer in Lovie….although, I gotta admit, a few of the decisions on the surface seem to be head scratchers. If it was Schiano making these moves, i’d be flipping out! With Lovie though, I just have a feeling he has a trick or two up his sleeve that will make it work.

  9. J Ghoti Says:

    I know this is off topic, but I’m taking my girl to Tampa this Sunday (from Jax) for the gameand want to take her out for dinner after. Joe, I know you’re a food conisseur…could you recommend me some places?!

    Going to have to be more specific than that. Type of food and drinks, price range, etc. –Joe

  10. SteveK Says:

    I agree with Lovie on Rainey over Page.

    Russell shepherd can fly.

    Did Page get picked up?

  11. Owlykat Says:

    Lovie isn’t just gambling on ST. He is gambling on his choice for second string QB when Glennon’s production was worse than Preseason last year. His biggest gamble however was hiring WarFLOP and then listening and following his advice on hiring and starting OLinemen instead of leaving those decisions to Licht–which is his job. The Cousin’s disaster is ongoing and now we have a second worthless Brown’s lineman taking up space on our roster, and Lovie cut Daniels who was better than both Brown’s rejects. If we start Johnson at RG we will have no backup center on the roster–insanity! There is the biggest gamble of all! Hopefully, he will reinstate Patton soon.

  12. Ghost Says:

    Stupid to keep cousins when you could sign incognito for around the same money.

  13. J Ghoti Says:


    Price range not an issue’ worried more about the food quality than drinks and preferably something not so much a franchise or corporate place.preferably a local establishment or ma and pa or hole in the wall looking place. Any suggestions will do though. Can be anything from seaffod, steaks or sandwiches to italian, Mediterranean or Americana…

  14. J Ghoti Says:

    …even something cafeteria style/soulfoodish/diner or cafe and grill

  15. OB Says:


    As long as they don’t fumble or do stupid things on kickoffs/punts does it really matter since most kickoffs are not returnable and a lot of punts are fair catched?

    As for their receptions, they looked like the hunters in stopping them but we don’t know how good they were compared to the good ones.

    Of course we don’t know who is going to do what either.