Jaelon Darden Knows Colts Game Is Big For Receivers

August 26th, 2022

Not thinking of Cutdown Day.

Joe is locked in like a wired border collie to the Bucs’ wide receiver room. Good receivers won’t be with the team come Tuesday afternoon.

And Joe is convinced some given their walking papers on Tuesday won’t be unemployed for long. The Bucs’ receivers room is that deep. One guy many believe will be safe is second-year receiver Jaelon Darden, who has had a nice camp.

Joe asked Darden after practice yesterday if the uncertainty is weighing on him as the Bucs play their final preseason game in Indianapolis tomorrow night.

“Honestly, I’m not thinking about it,” Darden said. “I am controlling what I can control, coming out here and putting plays on tape. Coming out here and learning and executing the plays.”

Joe asked Darden if it helped him that the Bucs are just loaded at receiver, meaning that a receiver trying to make the Bucs’ final-53 cannot take a day off much less a play. Guys have no choice but to be sharp in practice.

Darden basically told Joe his mindset is to be that way all the time. But yeah, he confessed, iron sharpens iron.

“I take that approach every day,” Darden said of striving for a perfect practice each time on the field. “So that’s kind of normal to me, if that makes sense. But it made me go 10-times harder knowing the guys I am around, how great they are.”

Competition keeps Darden’s mind sharp, he said, and gives him the right “mindset.” Darden also said a year in the NFL under his belt with the same offense makes a big difference.

“One-hundred percent!” Darden said of his comfort level compared to his rookie season. Last year “there was a lot going on. I feel comfortable now.”

And Darden noted the “lot going on” was all the little things adjusting to life as an NFL receiver entails. Last year it wasn’t just the playbook that was new to Darden. It was also new how to huddle up, where to be during practice, where to position himself at the line. Those small things are now just second nature for him.

So tomorrow is a big game not just for Darden, but also for Scotty Miller, Breshad Perriman, Devin Thompkins, and even Jerreth Sterns. One bad route, one dropped pass, one missed assignment, one special team mistake could mean the difference between collecting an NFL paycheck with the Bucs and backing up a U-Haul to your apartment Wednesday morning.

49 Responses to “Jaelon Darden Knows Colts Game Is Big For Receivers”

  1. HC Grover Says:

    Darden practice squad with Trask they can play catch.

  2. Bucanero Says:

    If Darden>Grayson why didn’t he show up last season when his name was called? very skeptic on this dude. I can only hope he turned the corner

  3. Rod Munch Says:

    The Bucs basically fully guaranteed Perriman’s contract, so I don’t see any way he isn’t on the team, if he’s not, they’re throwing away a million in cap space.

    If they keep 7, I assume it’s Evans, Godwin, Julio, Gage, Perriman, TJ and probably Miller, and they’d use Scotty as their punt returner.

    I just can’t see them cutting Miller with the timing he has with Brady on the deep ball, and Miller does in fact look healthy this year. Last year they claimed he was hurt and that’s why he looked off, so if that’s true, and he’s healthy, then it’s a no brainer.

    In fact, if they only keep 6 WRs, which is what most teams keep, then I expect they’d keep Miller over TJ, which will shock a lot of people, but TJ, when the Bucs needed him late last year, didn’t offer anything vs starting caliber defenders. He lacks speed, and that caps his upside, bigly. .

    For those that compare TJ to Godwin, Godwin ran a 4.4 coming out of college, TJ didn’t even run a 40 because it was expected it would be in the 4.7+ range which would make him undraftable.

    If they traded away Miller or TJ (probably a 6th or 7th is all they’d get), and kept 7, then I think they keep Tompkins as the dedicated return guy.

    In any situation I don’t see how they keep Darden. He just hasn’t done anything and doesn’t look special, but that’s also while he’ll most likely make it to the practice squad.

  4. Casual Observer Says:

    Agree with RM. Not seen Darden look special in games. Poor in the return game too.

  5. Rod Munch Says:

    Bucanero – Man, I haven’t even thought about Grayson, the problem with him is his age, he’s only a few months younger than Mike Evans. I’d think the Bucs would like to keep him around, but I don’t know how you do it, without eating that Perriman guaranteed money.

    With that said, I’m going off online reports on Perriman’s contract, so maybe the reports are wrong. It always seemed weird to me that they’d give Perriman guaranteed money, even if it wasn’t that much, it just didn’t seem like he’d go anywhere else.

    Maybe they do end finding a trading partner for Miller or TJ – I still don’t think they’ll get much of anything, perhaps even a conditional 7th, but teams always like to show they traded away a guy instead of cutting them. If Miller or TJ go somewhere decent, like, lets say the Packers, they’re going to make the Bucs look bad I fear.

  6. Buc4evr Says:

    Sorry, I don’t get why Darden is even in the picture after last season. Not elusive and goes down easily when tackled. Definitely not good as a PR/KR. What gives with this guy? I’d take Perriman over Darden any day of the week.

  7. tampabayallday Says:

    Waste of a pick

  8. D-Rok Says:

    Good nugget on Tyler Johnson’s speed, RodMunch. And now that you mention it, thinking back on some his plays/receptions, yeah, I can fathom that he just isn’t that fast. 4.7 for a WR is slow, at any level above high school.

    Heck when I was trying to fulfill my dream of playing in the NFL, at age 23, trying to make a JUCO roster, I was a 240lb fullback blazing away at 4.8. The coaches told me I could play at that level, but forget about anything above it. Too slow.

    So yeah, if TJ is “only” in the 4.7 range, that just isn’t competitive for a WR. But come to think of it, there IS a certain HOF WR that ran a 4.7: Jerry Rice.

    So who knows?

  9. lambeau Says:

    Despite last year’s performance, the coaches still seem wedded to the idea of Darden’s potential–probably because they fell heavily for him and gave up a sixth and a fourth to get him. Embarrassing. Johnson’s a keeper–possession receiver.
    I’d cut Perriman, despite the million guaranteed, and keep Scotty, hoping the rookies will get through to the practice squad. So that’s my seven.

  10. D-Rok Says:

    Speaking of 40 times, for you people who like jokes, I offer this:

    Al Davis, Seduced by Speed, Selects Forrest Gump in 2009 NFL Draft (Satire)

    Al Davis and Oakland Raiders head coach Tom Cable stunned the National Football League by making University of Alabama alumnus Forrest Gump the No. 7 selection in the 2009 NFL Draft.

    Gump made jaws drop at the NFL scouting combine by running a flat 4.0 seconds in the 40-yard dash. His speed, combined with his bizarre, robot-like tenacity as he barrels through (sometimes even dragging) defenders, had Davis drooling.

    “In addition to his blistering speed, Gump brings an almost child-like innocence to the game of football,” declared Davis. “It’s truly an honor to welcome him to the Raiders!”

    Rumors of his Wonderlic score caused concerns with many teams, leading most scouts to believe he’d drop to the third or fourth round of the draft at best. Ronald Adams has administered the Wonderlic test for the NFL for the last 12 years. When pressed about Gump’s Wonderlic score, Adams simply shook his head.

    “We’ve never had anybody score in the negatives on that test before,” stated Adams. “I’ve seen potatoes that have more brainwave activity than that kid,” he added.

    Most scouts were also concerned about Gump’s penchant for missing catches.

    “Coach Cable talked to me about catching the football,” said Gump. “He said that he was worried about my hands. I told him that he had nothing to worry about.”

    Gump stared bewilderingly at his hands. “I got two of them right here.”
    Gump flexed his fingers. “I like shrimp,” he added.

  11. Maniac Buc Says:

    These Darden takes are hilarious. Somebody said Miller will return punts. That’s even more laughable. The fact people think Miller will be kept over Darden is hilarious. The top 6 is set. Evans, Godwin, Jones, Gage, Johnson and Darden. If the Bucs keep 7, which I highly doubt, it’ll be Perriman(guaranteed money) or Thompkins(What his contract could mean in future years).

    Enjoy tomorrow’s game. It’ll be the last time Miller wears a Bucs uniform!

  12. dmatt Says:

    I prefer Deven Thompkins over Miller n Darden. DThompkins is consistent, has heart. determination, n is a natural. He catches everything comes his way n doesn’t fear contact, as a matter of fact, he embraces it. On the other hand. Miller is fast but one is dimensional, n does not do well with contact. Darden still play timid n tends to flinch when anticipates contact. The td he caught in preseason game against Miami was right in the gut but he flinched as he went in the endzone. Rookies Geiger n Stern are still learning n will be on the Bucs or another team’s practice squad. DThompkins play as if he’s a veteran in the nfl. He doesn’t flinch when facing contact n will catch the ball at its highest point over taller corners. He just has the”it” factor. Just watch the energy of DThompkins, he has hands n heart of a miniature Larry Fitzgerald.

  13. firethecannons Says:

    I am leaning Devin Thompkins over Darden, over Scotty Miller-a fav, def. over Perriman hope we get a different PR/KR than Darden–that kid has a long way to go to give me any comfort/confidence

  14. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Maybe Darden can also help our LBs how to speak proper English?

  15. Maniac Buc Says:

    @DMatt, you should be Thompkins agent. He’s signed just off your comment. Lol

  16. Maniac Buc Says:

    Stated multiple times, if Darden don’t make this roster, it’ll be because of Thompkins, not Miller. Thompkins is a very good player.

  17. Bird Says:

    Yah. Still dont get the perriman obsession

    You think bucs are worried about a mil. 1 million guaranteed?
    Plus i honestly dont know if anyone signs him if cut. He could possibly make to practice squad since vets can be put there now. He was cut from detroit for crying out load. He was wondering the street until we signed. He was ok first go around with jameis but dude fell off a cliff since.

    The guy made one big play last year. Grayson made 1 big play and a few others and he is gone.

    They talk about perriman speed but you dont see it on the field. On top of that, he was practically injured all offseason. Maybe bucs do a solid and do the waive injured ? And make him the highest paid practice player. Sure he knows the system but eeeessshhhh. Dude has no real upside over a younger up and comer like thompkins who can be return guy as well

  18. JimmyJack Says:

    The last reciever slot might just come down to punt return. Worth paying attention tomorrow to see who gets the looks and how they perform.

    And thats why i dont see Perriman making the cut. Not a contributor on ST. You keep him thats 6 WRs who dont contribute on ST(dont think Tyler does) Not a good recipe for a team that has lots of room to improve on ST.

  19. JimmyJack Says:

    Kick return should be Rashaaaaaard Whites job. Hes looked better then anything we’ve had there in years. Barring a really terrible game from him I expect him to be fielding the opening kick in Dallas.

  20. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Here’s my two cents worth:

    Given……Evans, Godwin, Gage, Jones….

    Tyler Johnson is in…

    They will either cut, trade, injury settlement or stash Perriman on IR…..They’ll eat the million.

    Darden will make the team….

    That leaves Scotty, Thompkins & Sterns of the last spot of 7 & I believe they’ll keep 7….

    Conventional wisdom would be Scotty….and place Thompkins & Sterns on the PS….(lots of luck keeping them there)

  21. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Note that the above from TBBF predicts all 3 draft picks…..Johnson, Miller & Darden make the team…..the key is what to do about Perriman,

  22. #8 Says:

    Dmatt, suh says he’ll hire you as his agent. We need a write up.

  23. sweaty_yeti Says:

    Bucanero Says:
    August 26th, 2022 at 5:53 pm

    If Darden>Grayson why didn’t he show up last season when his name was called?
    very skeptic on this dude. I can only hope he turned the corner

    Uhhh, he was a rookie last year. Most rookies outside of the 1st rounders take a good year to adjust to NFL play, NFL life… The expectations of some of you people is kinda ridiculous.

  24. Bucanero Says:

    My expectations are based on what I’ve seen before. In this case, I don’t expect much but sure hope he contributes greatly to the team.

  25. Crunchbuc Says:

    B U S T

  26. Bird Says:



  27. sweaty_yeti Says:

    Perriman is gone… you gotta get on the field to earn your spot. He’s been hurt. He also might be able to slide onto the PS since he’s been unproductive everywhere he’s been except Tampa.

  28. SOEbuc Says:

    So they traded up for Darden and now they’re going to cut him year two looking much more fit and a good camp (from what I read in Joe’s highlights)??? Highly unlikely.

    If anyone thinks Brady is playing his last year (in Tampa)than there is no reason to not get a trade for Scotty in his contract year.

    1. Evans
    2. Godwin
    3. Gage
    4.Julio/TJ rotation
    5. Perriman
    6. Darden

    Tompkins will get scooped as soon as he’s released.

  29. CrackWise Says:

    Dang them college highlights of Darden are SO FREAKING SPECIAL. Honestly, I don’t think we see Darden light it up until KT takes over. Darden and Toney look like the same guy. I think he has all the tools to be special. Including between the ears. Give his a chance to bust out like Rojo and OJ. I don’t think this young man will. He is a baller, just give it some time folks.

    That said, I think you can get Sterns and Darden on the early season Practice squad. Thompkins will take TJs spot. TJ will force the Bucs hand on Miller and BP is insurance until CG comes back.

    Week 1. Will likely see CG on PUP/IR. I think that would mean he has to stay there for 4 weeks. That leaves the top 3 plus BP. From there you have to think Scotty is on the team due to TB. HOWEVER, TJ is more valuable long term to the team.

    Sorry folks, if Scotty is on the team, we are sacrificing a bit too much of our future.

    Think about next year. UNLESS JJ wants to stay and is affordable. We are going to have to fill 3 WR slots.

    Who do you like for the future. Thats the question when it comes to the last couple spots.

  30. MadMax Says:

    Just please everyone go easy….it doesnt count! We dont need anymore injuries!

  31. CrackWise Says:

    I forgot my conclusion.

    1. ME
    2. RG
    3. JJ
    4. BP (until CG returns)
    5. TJ
    6. JD
    7. Deven Tompkins (If we keep 7)

    Practice squad.
    Jerreth Sterns and that other cat that was an UDFA that has had a nice camp. Kaylon Geiger.

    Scotty plus Cam Brate in a big Trade for the OG in NE or whoever JL deems worthy.

  32. Goatfarmer Says:

    Darden. Bwaaahaaahahahaaaaa.

  33. captivajim Says:

    Darden’s chances are better for him @ Indy ; they have artificial turf–so he will not have to worry about tripping on grass

  34. Red-sparrow Says:

    Where the hell is my damn podcast? You stinkin’ Joe’s!🤣

  35. adam from ny Says:

    they’re going to do some creative juggling as best they can…and leave 2 on the practice squad…stashing others as best they can…

    if darden makes the squad and slips and slides his way thru the first 3-4 games, he’ll be gone…

    perriman they prolly told to sit tight during the first half of the season…you are a key insurance policy…

    i say they get creative leaving maybe only sterns and geiger to get plucked…

    watch a scotty miller get hit and stay down for a bit tomorrow night and say hello to the ir if necessary for a few games…

    and with all this extra stock, they will rest godwin coming out the gate…or put him on the ir for a bit…

    why push godwin out the gate with an overstocked receiver room coming out the gate?

    it’ll be interesting

  36. Rod Munch Says:

    Bird – It’s not that the Bucs are worried about the cash with Perriman, it’s the cap space. To replace him, you’re spending $1m + the replacement player cost. When you’re talking about having cap space of maybe $6m, and needing to save money for injuries and possibly trying to lure Gronk back, yes, $1m is a big deal. The question is, if you pay $1.7m ($1m + 700k) for a replacement player, what are you getting for that extra $700k? If you’re keeping 7 WRs, which I don’t think is likely but possible, then you’re paying an extra $700k for a player who is almost certainly never going to play or be active.

    In any case, it’s just my take, I could certainly be wrong. Personally I’d keep TJ or Miller or Tompkins (as a returner) over Perriman, but Perriman has at least shown that, for at least a 3 week span, he can be an NFL starter, at least if he’s healthy.

  37. Rod Munch Says:

    D-Rok – Rice running a 4.7 is always the argument for a slow WR, but Rice was still drafted in the 1st round, with the 16th pick, people knew he could play at the NFL level and just thought he ran a bad 40, and his tape looked faster.

    With TJ, I’m not rooting against him, but when he was drafted in the 5th round, the reason everyone said he fell was that he did not look fast enough to be an NFL player, that he’d probably just hang around the edges of a roster. As for him running the 40, again, that’s the rumor of the day, and he does look pretty sluggish by NFL WR standards. With that said, he does have very good size, is an excellent blocking WR, and has shown a nack for making big plays. I’ve always thought the Bucs should have him add weight and maybe a Tim Wright style of WR/TE. Although, with that said, to my eye he looks a bit leaner this year, so maybe he’s running faster than ever. He’s still young so it’s possible to add a little bit of speed with some really intense training.

  38. Rod Munch Says:

    CrackWise – If you want to see an incredible college highlight film, go check out
    Kaylon Geiger highlights. I’ve been surprised they haven’t tried him as a returner, he looks like Devin Hester in college with the ball in his hands. Although I have no idea who he’s doing most of those jukes against.

    Also, another great highlight film is Tompkins, but again I have no idea who he is playing in most of his highlights. But he reminds me a lot of D-Jax, just without the elite straight speed/quickness, which is why he was undrafted – well also because of his size, he’s a tiny 5′ 8″ 155lb. I mean he’d be looking up at Warrick Dunn.

  39. FrontFour Says:

    I just don’t get the whole Darden thing other than we expended draft capital on him. Of all the WR’s we think will get scooped immediately after we release them does anyone here believe Darden is one of those guys? Nah. Keep Miller, drop Perriman, keep Tompkins and maybe TJ. Re-sign whoever we can to the practice squad.

  40. D-Rok Says:

    Good counter-points, Rod.

    People also forget that Rice had serious issues with drops his first year. He fixed that in year 2 and off to the races (and Hall) he went! It’s funny because although considered slow, Rice routinely blew by people, especially with YAC.

    I think TJ is getting better each year, and I’m excited to see his progress this year. We’ll see if he makes the team this coming Tuesday.

  41. Marine Buc Says:

    @ TBBF

    I agree. Perriman to IR (shelve him until week 7 0r 8)…

    I believe Thompkins may make the final 8 over Miller. Godwin might also land on temp IR which would clear space for Miller during the first few weeks.

  42. SOEbuc Says:

    Rod Munch…Must have not seen TJ this year. Far from looking sluggish if you watched game one and much more clean cut. No one cares about the 40 time unless it’s a constant deep ball threat like Scotty or Darden.

  43. mark2001 Says:

    Grayson is just a little too old to look at him as a guy beyond a couple years. He is 28. And if he starts losing that speed, he is at best an average receiver. I think we keep Tompkins on the active. He has shown too much to clear waivers. Maybe we trade Scotty to an AFC team, for a lower round draft pick. Miller might be arguably better than Tompkins now, but in a trade, I think he might have some value. Tompkins wouldn’t.

  44. Goatfarmer Says:

    When has Darden ever done anything impactful? His one TD catch in preseason was a 15 yard play over the middle on which he was uncovered and Miller was just as wide open. I’ve never seen Darden open deep. This Darden love is puzzling to me, and apparently I’m in the minority that don’t see this Tyreek Hill Junior that others see.

  45. mark2001 Says:

    The coaches obviously see a future in Darden, as he keeps growing in the system. He is 23, and if he can put it together, could have a good future. IF….if…

  46. Infomeplease Says:

    IMO, ME,GC,RG,JJ,TJ,SM,and DT. If they go 6 wr then DT over SM. I think they can hide Darden on the practice squad! DT will be scooped up if put on practice squad. Try to trade SM. Sorry Scotty!

  47. Rod Munch Says:

    SOEbuc – I was talking more about last season, I said in my comment that he looks leaner this year and maybe a tad faster. Again, I’m not rooting against him at all, I’d love to see him do well, and he’s shown enough that he’d get picked up by someone. That’s what I fear most with dropping TJ or Miller, that one of them, in particular Miller, ends up going to the Packers or Saints.

  48. Rod Munch Says:

    mark2001 – Darden hasn’t shown anything so far. I doubt if the Bucs cut him, that Darden would get picked up by anyone else, because, remember, they’d have to add them to their active roster. So the Bucs should be able to keep him around on the practice squad, I’d think, and see what happens.

  49. Z31 Says:

    Maniac Buc Says:
    “Enjoy tomorrow’s game. It’ll be the last time Miller wears a Bucs uniform!”

    It’s hilarious how much you hate this guy.
    When did he piss in your Wheaties?