Another Example In Bruce Arians We Trust

October 24th, 2021

Big time return today

In limited preseason action, Jaelon Darden did not impress Joe in the least for the main reason he was drafted: to return kicks.

Someone had to tell Darden he was no longer playing Southern Miss. Darden had a habit of trying to run across the field in big, looping runs trying to outrun guys covering punts and kicks.

Darden learned the hard way that dudes in the NFL can run as fast as he can, if not faster.

So when the Bucs released Jaydon Mickens last week — an established, solid return guy — Joe first thought that was a helluva gamble on Darden by Bucco Bruce Arians.

Don’t worry, Arians said, Darden can handle the job.

Reporters are not allowed to view practice (other than the waste of time 30-minute window at the start of practices which is just dudes warming up), so maybe Darden was forcing the Bucs to put him on the field?

Darden sort of gave credence to that line of thought on his first punt return today when his moved eluded tacklers en route to a 43-yard return, and he seemed a step from housing the punt.

How big of a return was that for Darden? It was huge as the Bucs communications department documented, longest in the NFL this season.

Now it is ridiculous to expect a guy to average 40 yards a punt return. But if Darden can break off, say, a 20-yard return once a game, then Joe fully understands why Arians made the move.

Welcome to the NFL, Jaelon!

14 Responses to “Another Example In Bruce Arians We Trust”

  1. firethecannons Says:

    Right on Joe! Welcome Jaelon Darden, look forward to seeing you do what you do better than anybody else.

  2. DaBux Says:

    Watching Chicago punt away from him the rest of the game was HILARIOUS!

  3. Chuckstutz Says:

    Nice to see. I also had my doubts. Hope it continues cause it’s fun to watch when it works!

  4. JimmyJack Says:

    Was really stoked seeing that big runback. You get in a big game and one big play can be the difference.

    Our Special Teams was our biggest weakness last year. Great job by the franchise to find the right guys to get it fixed!!!

  5. Youngbucs Says:

    Youngbucs Says:
    October 21st, 2021 at 4:41 pm
    Medicated Pete Says:
    October 21st, 2021 at 3:52 pm
    Because Jason Licht doesn’t wants to prove that he didn’t PISS AWAY another draft pick

    More Like licht and the Bucs want more out of the return game mickens is what he is. He was drafted for explosiveness let’s see if he can take a step Pete.

  6. Casual Observer Says:

    Good point, DaBucs.

  7. Leighroy Says:

    Darden was nice n that first return for sure, but it seemed like Cyril Grayson got more snaps on offense in the 1st half than Darden. I realize AB and Scooter were both out, but I would have thought those snaps would have gone to Darden. And more than just that Benn’d around too.

  8. SOEbuc Says:

    Mickens has been trash and yet Joe continues to say he was solid. He wouldn’t of got cut for the rookie if he was solid.

  9. Wild Bill Says:

    Darden excellerated so fast on that kick return I thought I was hallucinating. Why have they waited so long to use that kids speed?

  10. Bellingham Bucs Fan Says:

    I was very sad to see Cyril Grayson take snaps from Darden.

  11. rrsrq Says:

    I’m sure they were just waiting for Darden to get the complexities of kick and punt returns

  12. David Says:

    Darden looked good.
    I also expect him to have a few more reverses, wide receiver screens, and a quick slant as the year goes on. Not a lot, just a couple targets a game

  13. LakelandSteve Says:

    He looked real good on the punt return, very decisive. On his one kick return not so much. He looked like he just ran right into the tacklers without attempting to cut. Now he may have been told to forget the dancing and go right at them and it may take him a few returns to find his way on kickoffs.

  14. bucschamps Says:

    he will be Tom’s deep bomb best friend soon