Winfield: Safety… And Punt Returns?

August 21st, 2020

New job?

The Bucs drafted safety Antoine Winfield in the second round because they believed the baller from Minnesota could be an immediate starter.

But is now destined to be the Bucs’ answer to punt returns?

Yesterday, projected return man T.J. Logan was injured by a dumb@ss move in a non-tackling drill. He blew out his knee and is likely gone for the season.

Up next, Winfield?

Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians said this morning that given Winfield’s punt return ability in college, he’s going to get a shot at returning punts.

“Antoine Winfield was a heck of a punt returner in college. He will get a look. … Punt returner is so much more important,” Arians said. “There are very few kickoffs returned anymore. [Kick return] is not as important anymore as punt return.”

Winfield has only returned three punts while playing four years at Minnesota, all in his third year in 2018. Why former Bucs assistant and current Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck didn’t use him more as a punt returner, Joe has no clue. But damn if Winfield didn’t have an excellent return average.

In his three punt returns, Winfield averaged 36.7 yards with one touchdown. Just seeing those numbers alone, Winfield should have automatically been in the mix for punt return duties this summer.

20 Responses to “Winfield: Safety… And Punt Returns?”

  1. Buc4evr Says:

    Well Franklin was just carted off with knee injury so that doesn’t sound good. He might have been able to help out on returns….

  2. Gofortheface30 Says:

    Is punt returning really is as important as having your only first round level talent safety with injury issues getting his legs torpedoed by a gunner? He needs to be delivering the hits, not getting them. Unless Winfield is Deion Sanders (he isn’t) then put Scotty Miller back there – or anyone else that is more easily replaceable

  3. lambchop Says:


    You had to be the one to write it out and jinx it? I do agree, but damn. 🤞

  4. Jaymiss Pick6 Again Says:

    Holy crap….nooooo! I hope Winfield just concentrates on safety and slot corner. Scotty Miller, Justin Watson etc. The recievers room is a lot deeper than the saftey room just in case of an injury.

  5. TBSwarm Says:

    @gofortheface30 I 100% agree, find someone else to do it

  6. Casual Observer Says:


  7. james west Says:

    yeah i ain’t liking it to tell ya the truth

  8. Radsy Says:

    I hate this idea.

    Hopefully BA learned not to have key pieces returning punts/kicks when Patrick Peterson blew Arizona’s SB hopes on a muffed punt.

    Starters have more important things to worry about.

  9. Jaymiss Pick6 Again Says:

    No way..Scotty Miller, Justin Watson etc. I hope winfield is just allowed to concentrate on saftey and possibly avoid a silly injury returning punts.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Until we’ve improved our punt return blocking, there is no way I put a starter out there…
    On a broader note, I am becoming concerned about ST… wasn’t very good last year & I don’t see how it will improve…..
    When you bring in older players that specialize & don’t play ST… matters.

  11. SOEbuc Says:

    Nooooo!!! You told us TJ Logan was on fire two days ago BA.

  12. Stanglassman Says:

    What happened to Jonathan Franklin today. BA said it doesn’t look good. If I had to pick two guys out having the best camp it would be he a TJ. Who’s going to return kicks. Franklin was the backup guy.

  13. Hodad Says:

    Amen on kick off returns not being as important anymore. Biggest waste of time in a football game. You have to punt, but kick offs should be eliminated. If I was a HC, or ST, I’d never allow my returner to take it out of the end zone, unless I was down by 7 with a second to go.

  14. Leighroy Says:

    Defensive players returning punts is not common perhaps due to fatigue. A quick 3 and out, they probably have enough stamina in the tank to take one to the house. More than 5-6 plays in a row, I’d be less enthusiastic those legs are ready to out-sprint gunners for 80 yards.

  15. PSL Bob Says:

    As for Scotty Miller, another logical choice, don’t want Winfield getting banged up on punt returns and unavailable for defensive duties, where we anticipate he could have a major role. Seems like someone with speed but much deeper on the depth chart at their respective position should get the punt return duties

  16. firethecannons Says:

    gofortheface n tbswarm and others right why the hell would we risk an injury prone safety who is first round talent–what about raymond calais?

  17. Nick2 Says:

    Here’s some Bucs history for you Joe because I remember it like it was yesterday. In 1986 Nathan Wonsley was a running back phenom for 4 games out of the block for the Bucs. He had 339 yards on 76 carries (4.6 yards per carry avg) and 3 touchdowns. A Bucs Bio on him stated he was an undrafted player leading all NFL rookies at the time he was injured on Special Teams making a tackle never to be heard from again. With Wynfields injury history is there any wonder why he only returned 3 punts???????

  18. Joe Says:

    As for Scotty Miller, another logical choice

    If, as Bucs fans, we are scared that a rocked up Winfield would get hurt on punt returns, if that is to be believed, imagine how wrecked Scotty Miller would get on punt returns.

  19. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    I am sure that there are several guys out there with potential for punt return duties. I have faith that our Bucs staff will sort out whose situation fits the best.

    In BA I Trust.

  20. Buczilla Says:

    If this dude sucks as a safety, then I’m cool with him returning punts. Otherwise, I’m not even entertaining the idea. We are way too thin in the secondary with proven players.