Top 30 Buccaneers Mysteries Of 2014 – No. 19

February 14th, 2015


In many ways, Tampa Bay’s 2014 season was more bizarre than the MRSA-infected, quarterback-gone-mental, Fire-Schiano-billboards campaign of 2013.

There were plenty of real Bucs mysteries last year, and Joe’s revisiting the most interesting of the bunch.

No. 19 — Returner decisions

Joe remembers sitting in the quiet, empty Georgia Dome about 30 minutes after the ass-whoopin’ of the year on national television — the day the season died.

Playing on the JumboTron-like screens was a postgame news conference of Devin Hester, who had just roasted Tampa Bay and his ol’ pal Lovie Smith with a punt return for a TD, and a rushing touchdown.

Hester was talking about his love for Lovie and how things didn’t work out for him going to Tampa Bay that offseason. Hester landed in Atlanta for $3 million a year, and Dirk Koetter, the former Falcons offensive coordinator now with the Bucs, even found a way for Hester to catch 38 passes in limited action.

Why didn’t the Bucs invest in Hester? And why couldn’t the Bucs ever get a spark from their return game?

It’s still baffling to Joe how the Bucs cut undrafted rookie Solomon Patton after he failed early in the 2014 season and then re-signed him to return punts and kicks later.

Bobby Rainey never seemed to get a fair shake early, and nobody else worked out through the year. Ironically, Marcus Thigpen was cut after his failed shot, and then returned a punt to the house for the Bills a few weeks later.

Lovie needs to solve his returner woes. Young teams need to be good on special teams. The Bucs were not, outside of Patrick Murray and decent cover units.

No. 20 — VJax’s wrist
No. 21 — Anti-Jell
No. 22 — Seferian-Jenkins boasting about penalized pose
No. 23 — Never moving Michael Johnson
No. 24 — “I didn’t want to put more points on the board”
No. 25 — Glennon success without an offensive coordinator
No. 26 — Putrid punting
No. 27 — Defending three-step drops
No. 28 — Eight consecutive red zone runs versus Rams
No. 29 — Leaky Sean Glennon
No. 30 – Jorvorskie Lane

18 Responses to “Top 30 Buccaneers Mysteries Of 2014 – No. 19”

  1. knuckledragger Says:

    I have this sinking feeling we will be signing Sam Bradford to compete with Glennon. It’s the Lovie way.

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    KR/PR…..a hole that needs to be filled…..still a mystery with Eric Page….I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on him….because he had lots of eyes on him at camp….
    Perhaps we will find a later round WR/PR/KR (unlike Herron) that has good hands & ample speed. Sometimes you can find these guys from smaller schoos that go unnoticed.

  3. bucrightoff Says:

    What sucks is an elite returner is crucial to Lovie Smith…being a mediocre coach. Without Hester he probably never makes the Super Bowl and gets fired after 4 years. Probably why he loves him so much, Devin made Lovie a lot of money. Lovie in turned made him a #1 receiver….

  4. WS99 Says:

    Players love playing for lovie. Hester considers lovie like a father. Plenty of available cap space. Bucs do not have a good returner. Hester is from Ft. Meyers. No state income tax. Still could not get Hester to sign.

    That’s a mystery to itself. What’s up with that? I thought they loved lovie.

  5. Lion Says:

    This truly is baffling Joe. I honestly think Hester would have equaled at least 2 more wins, maybe even more. However, looking back I’m glad this season was a complete failure, because we won the ultimate prize in Jameis Winston.

  6. Hawk Says:

    There are a lot of players who improved drastically after their rookie season. It is possible that a light will go in their head (Herron, Patton, etc) and they will ‘get it’. The experience they got, last year, will be replayed MANY times in their head. The smart ones will see what needs to be done, and work on finding a way to make it happen.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    @ WS99

    Hester is under contract in 2015…..we would have to trade for him….don’t think that is happening….

  8. Tom Edrington Says:

    Another great example of Lovie lack of making good decisions.

  9. tmaxcon Says:

    Lovie is a dinosaur. Next coach up.

    Draft Winston. Send Lovie to Basement.

  10. biff barker Says:

    Koetter is well familiar with Hester too.

  11. OB Says:

    This is funny, Lovie pays 5 mil for the worst QB in the NFL and passes on one of the best return men for 3 Mil with cap not a problem.


  12. lion Says:

    This countdown should be called, “The Top 30 Reasons Buccaneers Won the Chase for Jameis”.

  13. Marcus_Mariota_Mob Says:

    Countdown should be called Top 30 Least Interesting Offseason Topics.

  14. BucIt941 Says:

    I really like Josh Shaw from USC as a late round CB/KR! Look him up I think you would agree he could be a difference maker in the return game.

  15. Brandon Says:

    Jamison Crowder or Tyler Lockett are excellent in the return game and great smallish slot WR prospects… 3rd to 4th round SHOULD be where they come off the board.

  16. Pickgrin Says:

    Defintely a mystery why Hester is not a Buccaneer. Has anyone ever asked Hestor straight up why he chose Atlanta over Tampa Bay Joe? It’s possible that the Bucs made a legit effort to acquire his services but there was something about Atlanta or their offer that he liked better.

    The killer to me here in retrospect – is that Hester’s signed with the Falcons for roughly what we paid Koenen to be the worst punter in the league last year….

  17. Architek Says:

    Everytime I read this thread I instantly become depressed because it’s a unfriendly reminder of how porous this team is.

    The bigger question is – Joe how do you go to One Buc without objection and report responsibly knowing what you are seeing is remedial???

  18. FortMyersDave Says:

    Given the Bucs’ complete ineptitude on Special teams with the exception of the decent performance by the rookie kicker Murray I think it is safe to say that the retention of special teams coach O’Shea should merit a slot on this top 30 list as well as this is the 2nd ST question to make the ranking…. The simple fact that the Hester “non-sign” by Lovie is only ranked 19 by Joe tells us just how dysfunctional this team was in 2014; on most teams in the NFL (with the exception of our Bucs and the other typical train wrecks like Cleveland, the Jets, Oakland or the Washington Snyders) such an oversight on their special teams’ roster would be a top 5 issue but here in Bucland it was a blatantly obvious mistake but just one in a myriad of screwups committed by L&L, their inept coaching staff and roster of untalented and/or underachieving players who simply could not put together 4 decent quarters of football except for the day they played the dysfunctional Deadskins….