Your New Punt Returner Should Be…

December 26th, 2021


OK, Joe has seen enough.

All it took was a handful of punt returns today.

For Joe, it’s simple. Your new Bucs punt return man should be Kenjon Barner.

The well-traveled running back, now in his eighth season after drafted in the sixth round by the Stinking Panthers in 2013, showed Joe more in a few returns in the first half than incumbent punt returner Jaelon Darden showed since he took over punt return duties, but for one return.

Barner looked decisive. He wasn’t overly impressive, but dang it, he didn’t have to be.

He was productive. He was aggressive. And he didn’t slip and fall too much. He also didn’t try to race across the football field and try to outrun dudes as quick as he is.

In short, Barner understood the key to returns is running north and south, not east and west. Teams that have a real goal of repeating as Super Bowl champions should not be handing a job to a guy for on-the-job training like it sure appears with Darden.

Maybe find something wrong with Darden to put him on injured reserve. You know, like a mystery ankle sprain or a toothache or a three-week case of the flu.

Joe has seen enough of Darden (for this season) and his non-production. And Joe has seen enough of Barner to realize his ability.

And speaking of which, the immortal Cyril Grayson has shown so much more as a receiver than Darden. No doubt in Joe’s mind Grayson deserves playing time on offense more than Darden.

That 62-yard bomb today from Tom Brady? Joe thought at first it was Antonio Brown. No joke! And Joe can promise you that at no time has he mistaken Darden for Brown.

This is not to sh!t all over Darden. But damn it, the Bucs are trying to win a Super Bowl. They need players who have demonstrated they can produce, not guys you hope maybe can grow into a trusted player.

32 Responses to “Your New Punt Returner Should Be…”

  1. Bird Says:

    And brady seems trust grayson more then the other backups

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Definitely agree. Special teams looked a lot better today

  3. alaskabuc Says:

    Agreed. Send Darden to the practice squad. He has been a weakness for too long, playoffs on the horizon, no more Darden.

  4. Pewter941 Says:

    I miss Mickens

  5. crazybucs_CL Says:

    @”….For Joe, it’s simple. Your new Bucs punt return man should be Kenjon Barner….”
    If TV 🤡 permit it. Know his stubbornness, I doubt.

  6. firethecannons Says:

    Yes agree completely, was not freaked everytime the ball was punted, Darden should be cut next year, nothing worth keeping him for–showed NOTHING! all season.

  7. geno711 Says:

    Darden is injured. It is a hammy, it is turf toe, it is a knee sprain, it is an abdominal strain.

    Whatever it is, I agree Joe. Don’t need to see anymore. Get the experienced guy back there.

  8. Swampbuc Says:

    Darden blows and will be gone before July. He is irretrievably horrible.

  9. HomerSimpsonRocks Says:

    100% agree. I was excited when the Bucs draftee Darden, but he looks like a guy who needs another year of practice.

  10. captivajim Says:

    since the 1st aints game Brady has trusted Grayson –who is hungry to perform.. Don’t kno or understand why BL & BA kept trying trippy Darden ??

    Credit to oue D -who have not allowed a TD in 8 qtrs..Playing like we did in last season’s run into playoffs..Although not against the best offensive teams–it was without a lot of our starters

  11. kgh4life Says:

    Can’t agree more Joe, Barner managing to stay upright was a big upgrade.

  12. Bob in valrico Says:

    Couldn’t agree more, Joe. He finds a hole and hits it, Darden couldn’ t find a hole if hit him. Grayson has also proved his worth as a deep threat.

  13. Coburn Says:

    Barner looked pretty solid

  14. DaBux Says:

    Keep this man.

  15. Rod Munch Says:

    Again… Darden is the #16 punt returner in the NFL. He’s completely average, he doesn’t suck, returners across the league are just not all that good anymore as the NFL continues to destroy the return game because of big hits, and they think by playing flag football it will get a few more skirts in the seats and watching on TV.

    I don’t have an issue making a change if you got something better, but for the love of God stop with the fake news that Darden sucks, it’s literally not true.

  16. R.O. Says:

    Cant send him to the PS would have to Waive him which the Bucs Will not do. Darden wiil NOT be gone before July either. SMH!!

  17. Buczilla Says:

    Well said Joe, I agree completely.

  18. Listnfrmafar Says:

    BA likes Darden, he will be back unfortunately. He just blew smoke up his arse during on of his 30 weekly interviews. How can he bench him while saving face?

  19. SB Says:

    “or a three-week case of the flu.”


    LOL we all know there is no ‘flu’ anymore!

  20. adam from ny Says:

    barner didn’t do sh!t in the return game today but yes, he looks worlds better than darden…

    imagine he actually has a good game…

    maybe someone can explain to darden that toting the rock is like carry a christmas ham out of the supermarket…

    high and tight buddy…high and tight!

  21. Beeej Says:

    I members the play from last year where Brady hit Grayson in the back of the helmet with a perfectly thrown pass…he’s come a ways since then

  22. Brandon Says:

    Barner wasn’t good either. He also tripped over imaginary tacklers. Still better than Darden.

  23. unbelievable Says:


  24. orlbucfan Says:

    Punt returner has to be the most dangerous position on a NFL team. The returner is not protected like a kickoff returner. Amazed that more of them aren’t killed.

  25. Show Me the TDs Says:

    Darden sucks.

  26. Miller5252 Says:

    Need to give that 4 time all american receiver we have back there to give it a try. He can’t do no worse than what we’re used to over the years.

  27. lambchop Says:

    With a track guy like Grayson, what exactly does Darden bring to the table? He’s too small and looks like the NFL is too big for him. Cyril Grayson has paid his dues and it looks like he has better chemistry with Brady.

  28. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Your last paragraph summed up the situation for me as well. Its how you are performing by the end of the season that should show how you can contribute to the kind of team effort needed during the playoffs. We have seen all who have been tried for the past two years.

  29. David Says:

    I like Darden and want to continue giving the kid a chance… Next year.

    I totally agree that moving forward he should not be back there on punts and Grayson should be in there as a receiver. Wouldn’t mind seeing Grayson try kick returns

  30. Rod Munch Says:

    David – Darden is #16 ranked punt returner in the NFL, why shouldn’t he be back there? Half of the NFL has worse punt returners.

  31. teacherman777 Says:

    Great point.

    Darden is a high schooler.

    Why would we draft him when we had Scotty Miller and Grayson?

    Kenyon Barner looked WAY better and he can actialky break a tackle!

    Trask Pick? Should have been D-Line

    Darden Pick?- Should have been D-Line

    Go Bucs!

  32. LakelandSteve Says:

    Joe, you are on point with this assessment. I, couldn’t agree more.