Fixing Special Teams In A Hurry

November 8th, 2014
No more rope for Lovie Smith special teams coach and guru Kevin O'Dea

No more rope for Lovie Smith special teams coach and guru Kevin O’Dea

A realist would say the Bucs lost in Cleveland last week because their special teams imploded.

Sabby medals would go to Mike James, Will Gholston and Logan Mankins for their incompetence. Typically, when there’s a special teams goat, there’s only one, but the Bucs had three on three different plays. Nice!

And that brings Joe to Devin Hester and the Falcons coming to the Stadium on Dale Mabry Highway tomorrow.

Hester is dangerous and the Bucs don’t exactly punt very well. Their net average is the worst in the NFC (35.5 yards).

Highly-paid punter Michael Koenen has struggled. But it seems he’s been told to punt short to avoid returns, especially since Hester torched the Bucs for a 61-yard touchdown return in September.

Whatever is going in, the Bucs are struggling in all phases of special teams. They’re also on their third returner, Marcus Thigpen.

As former Bucs tight end Dave Moore said early this week, specials teams efficiency is basic. It’s nothing like learning a new playbook or a defensive scheme. Young teams, especially ones with first-year coaches, typically rely on special teams for a spark — because they can. The Bucs, however, have been getting hurt by their special teams.

Joe believes little separates the sorry Bucs and the sputtering Falcons, though the loss of Alterraun Verner could prove deadly, so special teams should be extra key tomorrow.

If Koenen can’t/won’t kick away from Hester, or the Bucs continue their brainfarts, then Joe will have to hang that all on the coaching staff. It should be the easiest fix on the team.

15 Responses to “Fixing Special Teams In A Hurry”

  1. RastaMon Says:

    In a perfect world the Bucs would only need special teams for defending kick offs…..

  2. The Buc Realist Says:

    A realist would say Lovie lost the season!!

  3. Ray Rice Says:

    Who the hell let POWDER coach ST?

  4. Chef Paul Says:

    Canning Wandstatt was as big of mistake as hiring Lovie was

  5. FowlBall Says:

    Check out O’Dea’s NFL history, and the reason for the problems with ST all makes sense. Big difference in having 20 years’ experience and having one year’s experience 20 times!

  6. The Buc Realist Says:

    @Ray Rice

    I thought joe was just pro was Rick Scott

  7. Buccfan37 Says:

    What, no optimism that the Bucs in payback mode at home will kick the Atlanta Falcant’s to the Dale Mabry curb? Agreed, there has’nt been any signs yet of a sense of urgency from our Bucs. Lovie is still trying to get the team in the same book, forget about on the same page. This team can’t even get out of it’s own way. And yeah, the punting is pathetic. I still think the game will be close. Go Bucs!

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Koenen’s leg is getting tired from all the punts……but he saves his leg on kickoffs so that should equal out…..

    The way to keep the ball away from Hester is to score instead of punt….then just kick it through the endzone on kickoffs…..

  9. Joseph Mamma Says:

    When did we hire Rich McCay to coach special teams?

  10. not willie d Says:

    Last years Eric Page out performed anyone the Bucs have had this year. I guess it would make too much sense to give him a shot…I guess they might accidently win a game and ruin the draft. Go back to Joes article anyone but Eric Page. I do think Thigpen is much better choice than Holliday but Page and Patton are better than both. Thigpen almost fumbled a freakin fair catch. When Thigpen was EPs age he was putting up bad stats in Canada.

  11. Ray Rice Says:


    Lmfao. Now that was some funny a$$ $hit. At least we know where JOE stands in politics.

  12. OB Says:


    What our special teams needs is Froggy plucking his magic twanger.

  13. Fort Myers Dave Says:

    FowlBall is right, the players keep on making mistakes on the field but eventually the axe is gonna have to fall on the coach; he can not coach these guys up to even give the Bucs a journeyman effort on any given week and it has cost the Bucs at least 2 wins so far this season! Man I know that not many people like Wannstadt, but I really wish he was coaching the ST and he probably could help on offense and defense and acting as the HC as well since what we have seen this season from all facets of coaching on the Tampa Bay sideline has been abysmal and the old Bear/Dolphin coach probably would not do a worse job than Mr Lovie and his boys currently are…..

  14. Ralph Phillips Says:

    The blocked punt was not Mike James’ fault but Fletcher’s. He did not block the inside man. And blaming Mankins is not correct either. That was simply an outstanding play by Bryant on the Browns. He timed that jump perfectly and executed it perfectly. Not Mankins’ fault at all.

  15. M.D. Snyder Says:

    What ever the question is, it is extremely obvious that
    Lovie, et al are definitely NOT the answer we’ve been looking for.