Bruce Arians: Jaelon Darden Will Take Over Returner Role

October 21st, 2021

It’s go time for Jaelon Darden — Act II.

The Bucs’ rookie fourth-round pick isn’t about to crack the mighty Bucs lineup at wide receiver, but he’s getting a second shot at the returner job on Sunday.

Jaydon Mickens, the Bucs’ Super Bowl returner, was the go-to guy to open the season. Then Darden got a shot against the Rams and didn’t do anything with one punt return opportunity and two shots at kickoffs. So the Bucs went back to Mickens.

But Mickens got cut early this week and was re-signed to the practice squad already, though it seems he will not be getting a late-week call-up to the roster.

Arians said it’s back to Darden on Sunday at The Licht House against Chicago. “He’ll break out this week as our punt and kick returner.”

Darden clearly has strong short-space quickness, but it seems he needs work on catching the ball and just exploding straight ahead, hitting a hole and trusting his instincts.

Joe has a feeling the Bears will be punting a lot on Sunday, so Darden was a given a great week to re-establish himself.

34 Responses to “Bruce Arians: Jaelon Darden Will Take Over Returner Role”

  1. Medicated Pete Says:

    Because Jason Licht doesn’t wants to prove that he didn’t PISS AWAY another draft pick

  2. Beeej Says:

    Mickens must have a lot more self confidence than Rojo

  3. ocala Says:

    If only Jason Licht was good at drafting the Bucs would have a good team.

  4. Devin DiPalma Says:

    Pete, news flash-no team hits on all their draft picks. licht’s hit percentage is way higher than average.

    Cmon, we are in the midst of the best two season stretch of bucs football probably ever. Can’t we all just enjoy it lol

  5. Anonymous Says:

    The Ghost of Dexter Jackson lol

  6. Neal Says:

    lol it’s week 7 Pete. You might need to give the kid more than 2 months. We can’t all go from mopping to floors to the fryer at Burger King in a week like you did. I can tell from your comments that you haven’t been a fan very long…

  7. CharlieV Says:

    Pete needs more medication.

  8. Mike Says:

    Let’s Go Darden! Make some plays out there!

  9. Casual Observer Says:

    “It seems he needs work on catching the ball.” Didn’t he do that for four years at North Texas? Just asking. How much more work should he need?

  10. buc15 Says:

    Medicated Pete aka TMAX aka Realist?

  11. Rayjay1122 Says:

    Darden. Yawn. I hope he does well of course but he has shown nothing thus far to indicate he is a serviceable returner or WR.

  12. JimmyJack Says:

    Really exciting to have a guy with Dardens potential back there. And shame on anybody who has a problem with giving this kid a chance.

  13. Youngbucs Says:

    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.

  14. Robert Says:

    common sense move….mickens had plenty of time.

    just protect the ball!

  15. Christos Says:

    Agree with Robert above. Our Bucs have not seen a playmaking returner since the age of Clifton Smith and Micheal (run Micheal run Micheal) Spurlock. Just protect the ball and any good play after that is a plus.

  16. Jason Says:

    One cut and dip!!! You dance, you die!!! Simple kick and punt returner philosophy.

  17. Hodad Says:

    Two hands on the ball, just don’t screw up. Good luck young man.

  18. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Still waiting to see his PR/KR highlights from college.

  19. Defense Rules Says:

    Casual Observer … Great comment; that was EXACTLY what I thought. He’s a punt returner AND a wide receiver and his major weakness is that ‘he needs work on catching the ball’? Oh wow, it’s likely that the NFL unemployment office is littered with receivers who they said the same thing about.

  20. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Is Mickens in Arian’s doghouse?

  21. Kgh4life Says:

    It seems the Bucs are forcing Darden into the kick returner roll before he’s ready. Not a good sign.

  22. HomerSimpsonRocks Says:

    Maybe it’s because AB is injured and they wanted another shifty receiver out there.

  23. allbuccedup Says:

    He will be fine its just punts nobody returns KO’s, there always in the endzone.

  24. WillieG Says:

    I have a feeling Darden won’t be on the team at the end of the year.

  25. Big Shooter Says:

    He will be the #1 receiver in 2 yrs.

  26. SB~LV Says:

    One cut a GO!
    No dancing!

  27. Crickett Baker Says:

    Well, in his first appearance he looked scared. He was still fearful when I saw him again but getting better. He never has run vertically (that I have seen) so hasn’t been very effective, but maybe he’s doing better in practice? Idk, so far he hasn’t shown me much and I hope he will on Sunday.

  28. Bojim Says:

    That’s some pressure.

  29. mg Says:

    Medicated Pete – Platinum Gorilla Glue or Sour Secret would be my suggestions.

  30. SOEbuc Says:

    Does anyone remember Jalen small amount of chances, think it was PS, he had what could of been a good punt return with his speed getting to outside but the blocking wasn’t there? I do. Mickens has always been trash. Take it from the end zone and end up behind the 25 yard line all day. This might of been the plan the entire time for the trade up fourth rounder. Handful of games and practices before we give him the chance.

  31. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Just catch the ball & don’t fumble……a good start….yards are a bonus with our poor blocking.

  32. Buc-em-up84 Says:

    I could actually see him getting a screen pass or two on Sunday.

  33. Ash Says:

    Can’t get experience unless he gets put out there. Mickens looked good for one game and after that hasn’t looked that great. @Homesimpsonrocks I think you maybe on to something with that.

  34. TOM Says:

    I’m still trying to figure out why Darden is even on the team. It seems as though Mickens is in AB’s or someones dog house. Has shown much more than Darden. Like I said before the Bucs do make some weird moves. On a side note I would consider trading Rojo to the Giants for a decent draft pick & then possibly signing Marlon Mack.