Scotty Miller Next For Punt Returns; Surprising Arians Evaluations

August 15th, 2021

The Bucs had a special teams focused draft in many ways this year.

But it’s fair to say the unit wasn’t too special last night.

Bucco Bruce Arians spoke this afternoon and did not seem concerned by Ke’Shawn Vaughn’s miserable results on three kick returns. The head coach blamed the blocking, but Joe will say Vaughn wasn’t exactly a spark himself.

Joe also wasn’t sure what Jaelon Darden was seeing on his kick return to open the game. Darden ran from the 8 yard line to out of bounds at the 17 yard line and didn’t look like a rookie ready to explode out of a cannon on his first NFL touch. (For those reading the official stat sheet on Darden’s return, it’s got an error in it.)

Bucs Super Bowl returner Jaydon Mickens was very successful on his kickoff return and he was the only guy to return a punt, and that effort was good.

Arians talked today like Darden is a lock for the roster because he has a body of work as a returner in college. That really surprised Joe. Arians added he expects Scotty Miller to get his shot at punt returner in the next preseason game.

Joe’s a little confused and really would have liked to see a lot more of Darden returning balls last night.

Keep in mind the Bucs have an emergency punt returner on the roster, a guy who is experienced and accomplished at the craft, Antonio Brown.

20 Responses to “Scotty Miller Next For Punt Returns; Surprising Arians Evaluations”

  1. Buxszntkt Says:

    I thought Darden was going to get tons of returns, instead it was Vaughn. Perhaps these are bubble guys ? What else can you do for the team ?
    Meanwhile by end of last year Tyler J seemed like a CG clone who may be a cheap CG replacement next year, now he seems like he’s lazy and on the bubble.

  2. Buc92’ Says:

    Darden is a lock to make the roster regardless of return duties who are we kidding … The staff loves him with Brady leading the way. He already has climbed the depth chart to the #4 wideout & rightfully so.


  3. Mort Says:

    They need to see Vaughn because he doesn’t play special teams. He cannot be active if he doesn’t. So he needs to contribute.

  4. JimmyJack Says:

    Outside of that opening kickoff Darden looked really good on offense last night.

    I was also disappointed he didnt get any chances for punt returns. You see a lot more big plays on punt returns then on kickoffs so if we could get Darden to do punts and use somebody else on kicks Im happy with that……..I just hope he can contribute somewhere in the return game because we stink out loud and Vaughn only made matters worse last night.

  5. Buczilla Says:

    Not too many games in an NFL season. If we are down at halftime in any of them, I’m having Brown return kicks and punts.

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    You can’t tell much from one kickoff return or punt return….i too, was surprised by Vaughn getting the KR duties…….he clearly was not and will not be the returner.
    My money’s on Darden for both jobs….and he’s close to being a lock on the roster because Brady likes him.

  7. Redblud Says:

    Scotty Miller has no wiggle or side to side ability. He’s going to get killed returning punts.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Our blocking is not good and our KR coverage is awful…..if we can’t find better, might as well stick with Mickens…..

  9. Rod Munch Says:

    Miller has straight line speed, but little agility, which is why it made no sense last year when they kept throwing him screens since he never did anything with any of them. That normally makes for a poor punt returner — but it’s also preseason and you should be trying out different things.

    But again, another special teams post and nothing about not knowing the rules on an extra point? I don’t get how Arians wasn’t grilled over that by someone in the media, in particular with all the fake drama the media loves to bring up. In this case you got some real drama that could be brought up.

  10. Stanglassman Says:

    Vaughn and Tyler Johnson are locks to make the 53. The only question is will they both dress or be in the 48 on game day. Without contributions to special teams there maybe some games they don’t dress.

  11. David Says:

    I am surprised Darden was not returning kicks and punts more but Vaughn is the fourth running back and he needs to get in on special teams, we already know Darden will be on special teams

  12. BradyBucs Says:

    It’s surprising that for all the progress this team has made, and with one of the largest coaching staffs the league… the Bucs Special Teams have often been a LIABILITY.

    We rarely break a return for 35+ yards. You’d think we’d invest more time in trying to have the best Special Teams unit in the NFL.

  13. Pewter Power Says:

    First game in the nfl, if Darden will be a returner he should get better with more live game reps. I don’t see players getting many return opportunities per game when the rule changes. Barner and Miller were much worse last year

  14. firethecannons Says:

    please banish the thought of AB running punt returns
    he is likely our best receiver

  15. Richard Leroy Taylor Says:

    Need a guy that will put his shoulder down and take off with it you can’t run standing straight up and wait on a hole to open up

  16. Youngbucs Says:

    We taking over the top 100 players 😂

  17. SB~LV Says:

    Listen kick off and punt returns have always been a crap shoot and with the rules today that part of the game is really really difficult to find that rare player with return skills and instincts and able to contribute at a regular playing position.
    Even Ronde said Miller needs to work on route running? Really starting his 3rd at WR and route running is a weakness.
    Darden can juke but as a returner will get run down from behind

  18. Pickgrin Says:

    Darden will get his return opportunities in the next 2 pre-season games. Looking forward to seeing what that kid’s “suddenness” looks like while returning punts.

    Its fairly crucial for the Bucs to try and find ST roles for guys like Miller, Darden, Johnson, Vaughn, Tanner Hudson, Nelson, #4 ILB (Britt?), #4 Safety (Hagan?) #5 CB (Herb Miller??) etc….

    All those guys are 4th, 5th or 6th string at their positions and very likely to be part of this team. But the majority MUST find special teams roles in order to dress on game days.

  19. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    Mort, Vaughn was obviously out there making tackles on special teams Sat, and Arians in fact praised him for those efforts.

  20. SlyPirate Says:

    Darden, Miller, Vaughn …

    Who’s our PR? The best one.

    So, why not give them all a shot?