Unpaid Coach

June 1st, 2021

Jaylon Mickens (85) coaches up Jaelon Darden on the finer points of the return game at Bucs OTA practice Tuesday.

After Tuesday’s OTA practice, Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians said he isn’t sure how much work he would demand in next week’s mandatory minicamp from park-violating, home-invading, NFLPA-ignoring, down-forgetting, handshake-stiffing, jet-ski-losing, biscuit-baking, tequila-shooting, smartphone-phobic, waffle-grilling, trophy-throwing, roller-coaster-scared, numbers-rules-peeved, Bucs-Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady.

Arians joked that Brady might be doing much more coaching than practicing.

One guy who already started the coaching part today was Jaylon Mickens. As often is the case, the Bucs began practice working on special teams.

Maybe 20 to 30 minutes into practice, Mickens, who was a return man for the Bucs last season, took rookie return man/wide receiver Jaelon Darden aside for a good 15-20 minutes. He was coaching up the rookie on the finer points of the return game.

It was close enough to the media viewing area that Joe could hear a little bit of what Mickens was saying. Basically, Mickens was quizzing Darden on situations. Mickens would drop the ball on a specific yard line (usually inside the 10) and ask Darden on a certain coverage, what he should do with the ball?

“Watcha gonna do here?” he would ask.

At one point, Joe heard Mickens react to one of Darden’s answers, “Hell, no!”

It wasn’t an antagonistic session at all. Joe once saw Mickens pat Darden on the back and later put his arm around him.

Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians saw this out of the corner of his eye and loved it.

“I think it is awesome,” Arians said after practice. “I go all the way back to when Jerome Bettis taught Willie Parker how to take his job.

“That’s what vets do. You help young players. Because they will help you along the line somewhere.”

Added Arians of Darden’s learning curve as a rookie in the NFL, “It’s all new to him.”

Joe is just going to guess this is what some fans refer to as “leadership.”

14 Responses to “Unpaid Coach”

  1. Stonedbuc Says:


  2. Medicated Pete Says:

    No more Mickens. Pretty sure he tried to purposely make us lose a couple times last season

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Mickens really said “Kiss my a$$ rookie….you’re trying to take my fu()ing job.”

  4. Louis J Glasser Says:

    Attitude is everything.

  5. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Mickens is probably reading between the lines. Little chance he makes the final 53 man cut but if someone on Special Teams gets injured later in the season, he is primed to get picked up.

  6. Pine Hills Says:


  7. SOEbuc Says:

    Mickens will be clipped with Darden on the roster.

  8. Karma Says:

    Hopefully Mickens makes the team somewhere, if not with the Bucs.

    You have to appreciate the effort. Yes he messed up with a pistol in his car, but who hasn’t had a piece in their vehicle.

  9. Buckaroo Boozie Says:

    Glad Slim Pickens Mickens made bail👍🏻

  10. Steven Fink Says:

    You do realize his name is Jaydon? Tighten up man, that’s sloppy.

  11. Swampbuc Says:

    Mick is one of the most vulnerable Bucs, and there he is being a great mentor and teammate.

    Huge respect for Mick for that.

  12. Lacie Dougal Says:

    What Jaydon Mickens exhibited today was good character, a team player, and selflessness. He is one of the most hard working, athletic players on the team. Given all of the politics in this sport, what would a player gain by causing their own team to lose. They definitely will be cut for the next season. Why would someone purposely lose their job smh. If Mickens really told Jaelon “Kiss my ass rookie, you’re trying to take my job”. Why would Jaydon take the time to help him?!?!?! That’s real leadership! I pray that he makes the team this year, if not with the Bucs, another great team!

  13. unbelievable Says:

    Lol stonedbuc I’m with you on that one.

  14. teacherman777 Says:

    God bless him.

    We reap what we sow.

    One Love.

    Go Bucs!