Numbers Game

August 24th, 2021

Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians

Wanna make the Bucs? Ball out on special teams.

That’s the song Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians has sung all training camp. And after the last training camp practice yesterday, Ariams hummed the tune again.

In trying to decipher how many roster spots Arians will have for each position, Arians suggested that’s looking through the wrong side of the microscope. If you want to try to figure out what bubble players stay, watch who balls out on special teams, Arian said.

“There’s just only so many you can keep,” Arians said. “We could keep eight receivers and be happy as hell, but then we’d be really short at other positions. Same thing with those tight ends.

“Insider [line]backer, outside [line]backer, safety corner – there are going to be 10 of them one way or another, whether there’s 10 DBs or 10 linebackers.

“Special teams is still going to decide all that.”

Joe must admit that 10 defensive backs or 10 linebackers would be an extraordinary number. Eight or nine, sure. But 10?

Then again, if Arians has 10 defensive backs that are good special teams players, then a bubble guy at another position better hope he’s renting.

12 Responses to “Numbers Game”

  1. Bucnjim Says:

    Im curious as to whether the best special teams in the league are the ones playing their starters or if there is no correlation. You would think starters would improve special teams play overall.

  2. SB~LV Says:

    Injury stashing week of the season.

  3. Beeej Says:

    Thankfully there aren’t many kickoff returns anymore, lots of guys had their careers ended on those

  4. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Great question. In fact I wonder if any are playing more than a couple starters on special teams.

    Let’s face it nobody wants to play special teams, mammoth bodies running at top speed with a 20-40 yard head start to reach their max. The collisions get ugly.

    I’m not a huge stats guy which is why we have D.R. here. I trust his info and he save me the work. lol So just anecdotally it seems to me virtually all teams want to protect their starters in today’s battle of attrition in the NFL.

    Most of the starters are ST specialists filled out with talented backups and the occasional future star like Tryon. As soon as he starts getting serious reps on D however I suspect he takes a seat if not sooner.

    So Bucnjim if I may add a part II to your excellent question.

    There are some ST stars in this league who will never be a starter at their regular positions. They have a kamikaze attitude and craziness required for ST’s that most players do not possess perhaps.

    So my question is the flip side of yours. I wonder how many great special teams have players that never play in the rest of the game. Do those “stars” on ST’s form a core of a successful unit?

  5. Cobraboy Says:

    Think a 53 man roster makes for confusing cuts?

    Imagine how the WFL did it with a 35 man roster…

  6. TOM Says:

    I was wondering who stood out (if any) ST players in preseason..

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Many scoff at players like Ryan Smith & Justin Watson…..but those are great ST players & we miss them. You have to have these types of players to round out your roster….

  8. mg Says:

    Huge momentum can be achieved by the Special Teams.

  9. Cobraboy Says:

    @tbbf: Yup. Ryan Smith. Russell Shepherd. The ST’s have not been the same since they left.

  10. Steven007 Says:

    Yes, Shepherd was an example of a special, special teams player while being a mediocre wide receiver. Same with Smith. Minus the mediocre, haha.

  11. TOM Says:

    Speaking of Justin Watson. Where in the hell is he? Tryon was a great pick. Dardon not so much but time will tell.

  12. SlyPirate Says:

    I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a team with “too much talent” like the 2021 Bucs …

    Evans, Godwin, AB, Miller, Johnson, Darden
    Rojo, 4Net, Geo, Vaughn
    Gronk, Brate, Howard, Hudson

    That’s 14 offensive threats. Most, if not all, could be starters.