”I’m Definitely Comfortable At Punt Returner”

May 16th, 2021

Rookie receiver/returner Jaelon Darden.

The Bucs rookie poised to make the fastest impact was talking yesterday.

Joe’s referring to confident and driven fourth-round pick Jaelon Darden, the receiver/returner out of North Texas.

There’s another adjective that suits Darden, and that would be ”smooth.” When Darden catches ball, he’s no Ronald Jones. That smoothness was on Bucco Bruce Arians’ mind yesterday.

”He catches punts very easily and catches the football extremely easily,” Arians said. ”He can be very explosive.”

Also yesterday, Darden was asked about his preference when it comes to the return game, where he starred in college, as well as at receiver.

”I’m definitely comfortable at punt returner,” Darden said.

Joe’s not going too crazy about Darden. He’s a fourth-round pick on the deepest receiving corps in the NFL.

If he makes the team and has 12 catches this season, that would be impressive. It’s at punt returner where Darden can be an impact player. The Bucs haven’t had a good, consistent punt-return game since Adam Humphries’ 2016 season.

54 Responses to “”I’m Definitely Comfortable At Punt Returner””

  1. Larry Says:

    Returning kicks should be a thing of the past. Take the ball on the the 25. Most returns don’t even make it that far and the chance of getting a holding call or a block in the back or an injury are more than 50%, so why chance it?? Take the ball on the 25 and get to work.

  2. Ash Says:

    This is about punt returns not kick offs so we should take it at the 25? That’s ridiculous. Darden I think is a hidden gem excited to see what he can do on the field with his elite type quickness on punt returns and catching the ball as a wide receiver think he will surprise some people

  3. Swampbuc Says:

    He was drafted for his returner potential. Those of you blubbering about how this guy makes Scotty Miller obsolete and diss Scotty’s game are morons.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    All this talk about Darden replacing Miller…..or even Watson is nonsense…..Darden will most likely replace Mickens who has a $900K non-guaranteed salary…..
    Mickens was our PR/KR and occasional WR….
    Darden will be slot….Miller is outside…..Watson is ST, not returns.

  5. Pewter Power Says:

    The way BA works receivers in the first year it’s like a hamstring injury is a sure thing for the guy but we are definitely the deepest at receiver in the nfl. States shouldn’t have to play preseason

  6. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Agree with Swampbuc. Scooter has no worries at all. Micken on the other hand needs to keep his highlight video updated… wait, not sure if Micken has any highlights?

  7. Ron says Says:

    If he can handle our return game and is sure handed than he has accomplished more than enough for the team, anything above that is going to give us more diversity and make it impossible for others to contain us. If we stay healthy it is going to be a fun year, the team is set to be way better than last year which is going to be scary.

  8. SB~LV Says:

    The guy just wants the football!
    His whole life he has been feeding off the positive feedback and WOW from the crowd going back to sandlot football.
    Can’t ask for more than that.
    The stage doesn’t matter… he does what he does and the crowds have always gone WILD

  9. Cobraboy Says:

    You don’t get rid of a WR with sub-4.4/4.3 time, great hands, and a knack of making monster impact catches.

    Stop the silly talk.

    Darden will replace Mickens.

  10. gotbbucs Says:

    It’s a very talented recieving corp, but he brings a skill set that only Antonio Brown currently possesses.

  11. Casual Observer Says:

    His drafting addressed the only real team weakness. Good luck to him.

  12. StickinUp4Centers Says:

    “but he brings a skill set that only Antonio Brown currently possesses.”

    Being a loose cannon?

  13. rrsrq Says:

    Outside of AB and prior to AB, who did the. Ups have that could catch a slant and run 40-50 yards to the end zone. Do not say Scooter, he is a vertical threat. So I think he will se the field in some 4 receiver sets and maybe even some receiver (bubble) screens

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It’s been a long time since we’ve had a receiver that outruns defenders to the end zone……Joey Galloway comes to mind.

    I think Darden can be one of those WRs….not just top line speed but moves that make defenders miss.

    On another note….watched the pressers for Stuard, Brit, Darden & WIlcox…..I must say I’m really impressed with our later round draft picks this year…..I think Jason picked some winners.

  15. m0j0 Says:

    He will definitely be part of the offense. He is a weapon. The more the merrier. Brady will throw to you if you can get open and catch the ball. He will do both.

  16. SB~LV Says:

    Scotty has only shown to be a one trick pony, his underdog honeymoon is over!
    I hope he can increase his roll this year, I am most interested in seeing if he thickened up . He gets tipped off balance running his route simply by a slight shove by a DB

  17. SlyPirate Says:

    Scooter had the best catch of the year. GB right before half time.

    Brady to Miller is a deadly.

  18. mark2001 Says:

    Larry…kick offs in many ways are becoming obsolete. But punts aren’t.

  19. lambeau Says:

    Mickens had 99 yards on 30 punts–big opportunity for Darden.

  20. Bucamania Says:

    Darden will our Deonte Harris. Great pick

  21. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Someone PLEASE show me Darden’s punt return highlights from college?

  22. Cobraboy Says:

    @SB~LV: he may be, indeed, be “one trick”, but that one trick keeps an entire DBackfield honest and opens up a lot of space underneath.

    And because he has great hands and, according to coaches, “tracks the ball well” it takes a CB and S to keep him from causing damage.

    If the guy couldn’t track and catch, he’d be not so effective, and teams would not spend as much in coverage.

    That GB catch will cause teams to take him much more seriously.

  23. SB Says:

    I hope everyone knows that SB-LV and I are not the same commenters.
    He kinda heisted my handle.

  24. SB~LV Says:

    I hope everyone realizes I am not SB , he posts some dumb sheet^^^

  25. SB Says:

    I never insulted you sir.

  26. SB~LV Says:

    He kinda heisted my handle.

  27. SB Says:

    Well you did kinda. I have been posting here for almost 10 yrs. I used to be the only “SB” here. I have grown friendly with quite a few commenters over the years. I just wanted to be clear with everyone that I didn’t alter my handle.

  28. Swampbuc Says:


    When one calls out a poster for being dumb after one hopes that Scotty Miller “thickens up” and proves he didn’t watch the Bucs early wins last season (where Scotty contributed as a possession receiver on many plays and was the Bucs leading receiver after 8 games, one of which he missed due to injury), one is competing for JBF Village Idiot status. Congrats, you’re in the top three.

    Go back and watch the opener against the Saints, the Broncos game, the Chargers game and the Raiders game. Then change your handle because stealing someone else’s handle is d!ckish.

  29. SB~LV Says:

    LOL…Swampbuc ..look who is calling out now …BTW there are a ton of screen names with “buc” in it… hold up this mirror
    there are many screen names with common parts
    I’ve been here since the very earliest of days and as a practice make comments that stand on there own , I took offense at “heist” with SB…you have no part in the exchange
    I am finished with this little tiff

  30. Swampbuc Says:


    Now that you’ve had your tantrum, go and watch the games noted above, or don’t and continue to expose your misguided and witless take on a great contributor and Tom BRady favorite.

  31. Bucc941 Says:

    Best catch of the year by a Buccaneer was Tyler Johnson’s 3rd down catch against New Orleans in the playoffs.

  32. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Anyone with anything added to SB is not SB…..

    I get it SB(squiggle)LV is SBLV Can’t find the squiggle on my keyboard.

    And, Can’t we all just get along?

  33. SB~LV Says:

    Swampbuc..back to football
    Scotty was NEVER a “possession” WR at any point in is NFL career other than in the strictest sense of the definition of a catch.
    IMO he do0es need to thicken up because he is so so easily disrupted something that is not lost on DB’s , watch when he is on the field and is not throw the ball because he has been taken out of the play with contact .
    I like the guy , I just need to see more of a complete contributor or he is just another WR at the bottom of the depth chart

  34. crazybucs_CL Says:

    …Darden, so far looks like he is the best/ready to play from the draft group. I like this kid…
    …and please leave Scotty alone, he is the spice of our offence, and the identity of surprises that TB12 gives to our opponents. Go Scotty Go. 🏃‍♂️

  35. SB Says:

    Thank you TBBF. He took my comment totally out of context but that is ok.
    If he has been posting since the beginning you and I both know that it wasn’t under his current handle.
    Also you can type the “Tilde” by using Alt, num lock and a certain code.
    I had to google it too. 🙂

  36. Jeffbuc Says:

    This is the original jeffbuc not to be confused with the just JEFF poster. But sb lv Miller does not need to thicken up. You are thinking of him becoming more than he is. Scooter is just a fast vertical threat who will catch 20-30 balls a year with 3-5 a year being long home runs. If he bulks up as you say then he will be handicap scooter and run a 4.6 at 190 pounds 5’10”. He is just an added luxury who will always have a job as a 4th reciever on a team. Nothing more he will not be signed by another team for a 4 year 50 million contract to be a number 2. He is a great deep threat who will catch 2 balls a game. To expect more shows you don’t really understand role players on a football team. He needs to stay the exact way he is and we will make 2-4 million a year for the next ten years and be a fan favorite for whatever teams he plays for.

  37. SB~LV Says:

    Jeff..to suggest I said or implied 190 LBS is laughable
    I am certain the kid will have put on “man weight” showing up for TC this year and more next year and not lose a step. 5’11” can handle another 10lbs of muscle.

  38. Swampbuc Says:

    Scotty’s stats at the halfway point of the season

    25 catches, 496 yards, 2 touchdowns.

    Again, to the JBF Village Idiot — watch the games I mentioned. You are saying something that is just flat out wrong. Scotty may not “be” a possession receiver but that was his role when others went down with injury early on, and if you watch the games and look at his stats, you will see that he caught quite a few balls for first downs. But keep ignoring reality and maintiainging your moronic narrative. It looks good on you.

  39. Buc-em-up84 Says:

    If you look at all of our WR you will see that neither receiver we have is like the other they each have different type of ability. Us fans are so excited for Darden is because we all honestly know we haven’t had a returner with his skill set in years especially while we were a good team #Facts

  40. Swampbuc Says:

    I also have no doubt that Scotty Miller would make hambureger out of the JBF Village Idiot at his current wieght.

    I have an idea — given the JBF~VI’s talent evaluation skills, maybe he could go be the Saints GM? That would be great for the rest of the division.

  41. SB~LV Says:

    Swampbuc if Miller ever plays up to your imagination he will take the money and run. Safe to say that at best he can grow into a 1 1/2 trick pony. There are real football players catching passes in the NFL with his speed, actually several were taken in the first round this year. Miller will never be that , which is why he is at the bottom of the depth chart. Maybe you should write BA a tell him what he is missing.

  42. Tc Says:

    This guy is sooo tiny, he reminds me of an “ant”.

  43. geno711 Says:

    I agree with the posters that have clearly noted that Scotty Miller has value.

    The guys that continue to disrespect a guy that has been valuable for our team, I do not get. It does not matter how other teams may want to use wide receivers. Scotty Miller showed that he had value to this version of this Tampa Bay team. Lots of guys playing on other NFL teams that would not have as much value on Tampa.

    I am glad we have Scotty.

  44. MadMax Says:

    This is my fav pick of the draft….dont get me wrong, high hopes for the other guys, but this kid here, he’s gonna stand out. Im surprised he was still there in the 4th…good thing we traded up.

  45. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    So funny that some posters got so triggered that some people suggested Darden will replace their little pet mascot Scooter Miller. Why so mad bros??? They’re just opinions! Scotty ain’t going no where right now so don’t take it so personal. Brady likes throwing to him because he has great hands and incredible deep ball tracking abilities. He’s no Tyreek Hill but he doesn’t have to be, he’s got good value on this team. We all know who Darden will really replace, 1 or 2 other special teamers

  46. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    We have no punt returner worth a sh*t. Darden replaces Mickens. Can his little frame stand up to wide receiver. We’ll find out! However, he’s gonna return punts.

  47. Allbuccedup Says:

    With the AB surprises coming by the week Darden will probably get more action than just punt returns.

  48. Greg Says:

    This is all over the place. All I know and have seen is that Scottie has straight line speed where the CB is lined up across from him is saying sh$t this guy is faster than I am and this could be ugly!

  49. Swampbuc Says:

    Hey dingus — yeah you, JDF~VI.


    Fortunately, I don’t have to write Bruce Arians anything, as he would agree with me, hence why he used Scotty the way he did prior to AB’s arrival. But keep spewing whale droppings,

    Fortunately Tom Brady throws to him not you.

    Unfortunately for Scooter, he sits behind two probable hall of famers and one possible hall of famer in AB, Mike Evans amd Chris Godwin. Of course he’s fourth on the depth chart, no one is saying he’s better than any of those three.

    Man you really are a simpleton. You could star in “Simple Jack — The Seque.”

  50. SB~LV Says:

    I think we have found Scotty Miller’s Ndog 😆

  51. adam from ny Says:

    hopefully the ghost of bad dex jackson doesn’t come to visit darden in training camp…


  52. David Says:

    Question for everyone…

    Why are so many talking about Scotty Miller and whining and complaining about people saying he’s going to replace Scotty Miller?
    The article doesn’t say that.
    And there is not one person posting on here who has said that.
    Sounds like just a bunch of people making crap up to complain about something.

    He is here to take Mickens job as a return man and be the sixth receiver.
    Miller and Johnson will be fighting to get on the field as the fourth.

  53. Coach vic enriquez special teams Says:

    I believe at the High school level college and pros every player have to compete. In sports an athlete should never get comfortable because there is always a starter who is out to take the next player spot and injuries can be a factor

  54. Jonny Says:

    I don’t understand why some people think Darren beating out Miller, Watson or Johnson on the depth chart is unrealistic. Darren is not a deep threat with his above average speed, but his agility is what sets him apart. He is a far bigger threat to defend on short to intermediate routes than the guys I mentioned. He adds explosiveness after the catch, something AB used to be one of the best at from the time he was a rookie, before blossoming into an outside WR.