Highlighting Kick Return Woes

January 15th, 2018

Interesting set of numbers flowing from One Buc Palace.

Specifically, they were dug up and typed by team reporter Scott Smith.

The numbers revolve around kickoffs, and the Bucs were the worst in the NFL at forcing touchbacks. It’s a stat that could spell goodbye for Patrick Murray.

Dirk Koetter already lobbed a public finger wag at Murray for his poor hang time and it’s not like Murray was a special field goal kicker. After a good start on field goals, Murray fell back to average by league standards and weak on kicks of 50-plus yards.

On the flip side, the Bucs’ failures to force touchbacks was magnified by the two kickoffs taken to the house on them in the final two games. Also, Bucs returners had the highest percentage of touchbacks in the NFL (74.7 percent), per Smith. The latter has a lot to do with Dirk Koetter having little interest in gambling on returning kicks. Koetter is happy to take a knee and get the offense started.

On the Bucs’ long list of areas in need of improvement, forcing touchbacks surely is not the highest priority, though one could make the case that the lack of a booming kickoff artist cost them at least one victory.

And as for signing an electric returner, well, Joe’s thrown in the towel on that fantasy.

23 Responses to “Highlighting Kick Return Woes”

  1. darin Says:

    Yep murray has gota be replaced. Then again so did doug and others. Who knows what these coaches will do, seem to not make much sense do they. One running back in the draft i like alot is rashaad penny. Not gona sit here and give a 7 round mock like some do because its way too early to get an idea what round some could go. Penny averaged 7.5 yards a carry in his career and had 7 kickoff return and 1 punt return touchdowns. Sounds like a good fit to me, although knowing this coaching staff they wouldnt have him returning kicks if he was the 1st thru 3rd team rb. They value health above wins it seems.

  2. thunderchunkyPA Says:

    The Bucs were LAST in a lot of areas this season. So many holes, is the best division in football, it’s not pretty. Time to spend team Glaziers loot and try and get some IMPACT free agents like Mr. Miko in the door.

  3. Blade Runner Says:

    I hope the Bucs are smart and draft Mike Hughes out of UCF, who is a good CB and a great kick returner! They can fill two needs with this pick

  4. thunderchunkyPA Says:

    Blade, wasn’t that the idea being VH3 too? I like Hughes much better, especially in this draft, and where he might fall as well.

  5. Rrsrq Says:

    Naheim Hines N.C. State

    Some are calling him the fastest player in CFB

  6. 2Anglican1609 Says:

    With that being said, the same results and considerations should happen to the ENTIRE Dline should be blown up. Starting with Gerald McFraud

  7. MadMax Says:

    We need to go find a kicker….doesnt look like too much in the draft so far (i havent dug deep yet).

    As far as kick returners, he might be small, but WR/KR Desmon White of TCU…..could probably get him with a 6th or 7th….


  8. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    As long as Murray can stay money on short range, we’ll be fine

  9. MadMax Says:

    Ohhh yeah, like Hines too…and he’s a RB. good one @Rrsrq….maybe a 4th or 5th?

  10. Tom Says:

    Can Anger kick off. Do not draft a kicker.

  11. BucEmUp Says:

    How hard is it to find a frieking kicker?

    As far as a return guy hoes, I think Hargraeves needs to be looked at

  12. Architek Says:

    Lots of needs…

  13. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Just a thought….a year or two ago word was a new strategy would emerge and indeed had been tried. Have the kicker boot the ball really high…stack your KO coverage team with speed and the best athletes you have…and try to catch team inside their own ten. As I recall that was even discussed about Aguayo who “supposedly” had the talent to kick those mortar shots to the one yard line.

    What if we had practiced that over and over again since we knew of Murray’s weak leg strength….then again perhaps that meant he couldn’t kick it high enough.

  14. Desanova Says:

    Of course, there will be a kicker in to compete, but Murray was (relative for the Bucs) money under 50 and I’ll take that. Heck, some teams TRY to kickoff to the goal line anticipating a tackle before the 25. We can pretend that’s what we’re doing and go cover. The Kamura kick return should have been called back due to 2 blocks in the back so ignore that. We seldom seemed to get a returnable kick so it’s hard to knock the kick return game. Starting at the 25 is not so bad. Kicker and kick return is so not a priority when you have DL and OL needs like we do. Stay focused.

  15. Not there yet Says:

    It’s not like we have anyone like Bobo Wilson on the roster we could give a try at kick return. I’ve never met an offensive coach like dirk that’s so afraid of scoring points, this guy is only confident in field goal kickers and now I’m starting to realize why we drafted a kicker in the second round because that’s what dirk wants field goals

  16. NFLNut Says:

    DJ Reed might be a nice 5th round pick as he can provide depth at CB and is an awesome return specialist!

  17. Reach87 Says:

    Interesting stat…touchbacks. Might be compelling if bounced off opponent average starting position. I would easily accept low touchbacks if the average starting position was in the 18-20 yard range. Often, I want a kickoff 2-3 yards into the endzone so the opponent is more liklely to attempt a return and get tackled short if what they would have gotten with a toucback. This was particularly true when we had 2 pretty good gunners (shepard and the young kid we have now…plus Godwin before he started getting more snaps on offense=less reps as the gunner). Anyone got those stats? Team game. Go Bucs!

  18. OneBucPerson Says:

    All aboard the Mike Hughes hype train. Choo-Choo!

  19. mike10 Says:

    Did I read elsewhere on this site that we don’t have a Special Teams Coach?… if true, that is just a negligent oversight.

    The curse of Matt Bryant continues, just like the curses of Michael Bennett and John Gruden.

  20. JimmyJack Says:

    I’ve never heard of a team struggle for so many years on end at kicking. For most teams these problems get fixed in one off-season of even midseason.

    Licht absent been able to scout one but we were a poor kicking team even before he got here. It is f***ing unreal with this team. In this day and age in the NFL it is one of the easiest problem to address season to season.

    It an absolute embarassment on this franchise for how bad we have been at kicking over the years when you compare it to other team who easily find ways to fix problems in this area.

  21. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    Include me on the Mike Hughes hype train! He is not only an electric KR but a good corner too.

  22. Phred Says:

    Bucs have los of needs. Most important is build from the lines out. First priority is D-line (especially edge rusher). Second priority is D-line. Third priority is D-line. Fourth priority is O-line. Doesn’t matter how good your secondary or skill-position players are if you cannot pressure the QB with four.

  23. denjoe Says:

    Jason has a kicker in mind for the 2nd round!