How To Hide Bad Special Teams

August 17th, 2021

Touchdowns hide problems.

For too long, the Bucs special teams have been anything but special.

For too many years this was highlighted by the positively dreadful place kickers the Bucs tried and tried and tried.

Until last year. That’s when the merry-go-round of rotten kickers finally ended with the addition of Ryan Succop.


Still special teams were unspecial again last year. Notice how Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians said before the draft the goal was to select players who also excelled on special teams?

Well, Thomas Bassinger of Football Outsiders types the Bucs figured out a way to sweep bad special teams play under the rug.

Score touchdowns!

🏈 The Buccaneers finally figured out how to solve their eternal special teams problems: Score more touchdowns! Tampa Bay scored a team-record 59 last season, making it easier to overlook that they were below average in all five aspects of special teams that we track. The Buccaneers have posted a negative special teams DVOA for nine straight seasons. Our projections say they will make it 10 straight.

Well, whatever that stunt was with the extra point debacle on Saturday night sure didn’t fill Joe with confidence the special teams will improve that much.

But Joe likes what Bassinger is getting at: Score touchdowns and it greatly cushions the blow felt by bad special teams play.

And the Bucs have the weapons to score touchdowns with the most lethal of teams.

24 Responses to “How To Hide Bad Special Teams”

  1. PassingThru Says:

    I guess it’s asking too much of Arians to shake up special teams coaching.

  2. Medicated Pete Says:

    Pete starts reaching for pills everytime we punt the ball

  3. PassingThru Says:

    You don’t need pills Pete. That extra point attempt looked like a hallucination.

  4. The Red Mirage Says:

    Armstrong should be replaced, his special teams were garbage in Atlanta and there’s been no improvement here under his watch. He talks a good game but that’s about it. If you go back to the playoff game against the Saints we were in trouble until their returner went down after torching us for two or three long run backs. IMO KA is clearly the weak link on the staff. Unfortunately, he’s on the Arians Friends and Family plan so we’re stuck with him.

  5. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Why haven’t the Bucs consider replacing their Special Teams coach?

  6. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I read somewhere, probably here, that we are gonna try Scotty Miller on punt returns.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Another way to hide bad ST is with touchbacks……It goes mostly unnoticed but Bradley Pinion is always at the top of the NFL with touchbacks…..when there’s a touchback….there’s no need for coverage.

    I will note that several times teams ran it back from very deep in the end zone…..they should have been touchbacks and the coverage was usually awful.

  8. Medicated Pete Says:

    @ The Red Mirage just nailed it. And Bruce has many flaws that TB12 is helping cover-up

  9. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    You are right Medicated Pete… a Super Bowl win covers many flaws but a Super Bowl win will never appease fans who want to be unhappy

  10. Joe in Michigan Says:

    The Red Mirage: Are you 100% certain that all of the ST woes are the fault of Keith Armstrong? For instance, does the Bucs roster makeup of 17 players that are 30 or older have anything to do with it? The fact that the Bucs value depth at positions, guys that might not play special teams? Did having those wily vets who don’t play ST help lead the Bucs to a Super Bowl victory? Cam Brate? AB? McClendon?

    SC Bucs Fan: You hit the nail on the head, brother.

  11. Medicated Pete Says:

    @ SCBucsFan Pete’s flying high on the Bucs but uses displaced anger from other areas of his life to take it out on Bruce & Mike Evans says my psychiatrist

  12. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    SC Bucs fan it ain’t about wanting to be unhappy. Every Bucs fan I’ve seen is ecstatic they won the Super Bowl but that’s not going to take away from our angst and trepidation from watching year after year of the worst ST play in the NFL while we watch the Aints absolutely other teams constantly pick up very good returners and improve theirs. We want a competent ST coach but no head coach brings them in. Dungy was the last to bring some in with Joe Marciano and Rich Bissaccia. Are you happy with our ST play?

  13. Medicated Pete Says:


    Yep, Bucs were lucky to win the Saints game due to our unacceptable Special Teams. 2 plays on defense saved our butts

  14. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Medicated Pete: Do you know how many would’ve/could’ve/should’ve sob stories I’ve heard about the New Orleans playoff game? I’ve heard the Saints would’ve KILLED the Bucs IF they WOULD’VE benched Brees in favor of Jameis. Please.

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The Saints would have beat us in the playoffs if they scored more points than we did.

  16. Patrianakos Says:

    DBBF: Another thing, in Dungy’s day, our stars played on special teams. I absolutely remember Sapp and Alstott and other starters covering kickoffs. And remember when Lynch knocked out his own brother-in-law? That was in punt coverage.
    TBBF: Yeah, I noticed Bradley the Touchback Machine too. Seven kickoffs, seven touchbacks at New Orleans in the playoff. (The returns were on punts.)

  17. robertg Says:

    @ tampabayfan. Any team would have beat the Bucs by scoring more points! Isn’t that how all teams win? LOL

  18. Patrianakos Says:

    Oops. Misspoke. #99 and #40 were on the kickoff return team.

  19. Rob In Land O Lakes Says:

    One factor to consider is that after Joe Tryon, the focus of this draft was really special teams guys….Darden, at WR/KR, K.J. Britt, Grant Stuard etc.

  20. Alanbucsfan Says:

    84% of Bucs kickoffs were touchbacks- 2nd in league to Panthers (87%)
    Bucs didn’t have any kick or punt returns for td’s. The Bucs allowed 1 return for td. But there were only 7 kick returns and 8 punt returns for td’s all last year in league.
    Bucs have excellent punter and kicker.
    The biggest need for improvement is return yards and defending against return yards .
    Definitely room for improvement, but not as dire as perceived.

  21. Bellingham Bucs Fan Says:

    Special teams has had a lost decade since Rich Bisaccia left.

  22. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    Alanbucsfan Detroit scored one against us. Defense threw up a goose egg against them boys offense and ST turned right around and shart the bed giving up like a 101 yarder

  23. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Yes, because winning 47-0 instead of 47-7 would be bigger than winning the Super Bowl. 🙄

  24. b4l Says:

    It’s simple. Fire that Special Teams coach. He should have been fired last season.