Special Teams Wasn’t Grant Stuard’s Issue

August 31st, 2022

Linebacker chatter.

Bucs coach Todd Bowles harped he wasn’t getting good enough preseason special teams play from his receivers, specifically at gunner on the punt team.

So since Bowles seemed to be emphasizing special teams, one player Joe thought was safe from getting cut was Grant Stuard, Mr. Irrelevant from last year’s draft. He was turning into a special teams warrior and a fan favorite because of his hair.

Joe was wrong and really surprised Stuard got traded to the Colts, especially since he was drafted specifically to play special teams. And he was good at it.

Consider Stuard was the opposite of Tyler Johnson. Bowles said today that Johnson’s inability to play special teams did him in. Stuard could play special teams but he couldn’t play linebacker and Bowles said that was when Stuard became trade bait.

“Grant was a good player on special teams, but we’ve got some guys who can play special teams,” Bowles said. “[Olakunle] Fatukasi can play, [K.J.] Britt can play – we have some guys who can play special teams, plus they play linebacker.

“They were a little bit better at linebacker, but Grant was outstanding on special teams, and we needed help at both.”

What does this tell Joe? Well, the Bucs once again had a poor showing on special teams last season. And without adding anyone today who happens to excel at special teams, and trading away one of their best special teams players, it is safe to assume the Bucs will be rotten on special teams this fall. Again.

Still, props to Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht for turning the productive final pick of the 2022 draft into a sixth-round pick in 2023.

42 Responses to “Special Teams Wasn’t Grant Stuard’s Issue”

  1. Cobraboy Says:

    I suspect the special team problem is not the players.

    It’s personal loyalty.

  2. DBS Says:

    No doubt they will be bad again. When it is a long streak they are this bad it is time to look at the coach in charge of that unit. And the people who should be looking at him.

  3. mark2001 Says:

    In other words, Grant was a fine special teams player. But he couldn’t play linebacker very well in the NFL.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Mark. Exactly!

  5. Goatfarmer Says:

    Keith Armstrong, you’re fired.

  6. David Says:

    I was surprised he made the team last year, because he was so slow side to side as linebacker. He showed up on special teams though. But the new guy, #53 FATUKASI, showed a lot and I am sure that’ll show up on special teams

  7. lambeau Says:

    If you’re going to just play special teams, you better be All-Pro.

  8. Casual Observer Says:

    Mark – Exactly.

  9. sasquatch Says:

    Olakunle Fatukasi is what made Stuard expendable. The guy can play ST, but has looked really good at LB. We’re stronger now at LB than we were at this time last year. Hopefully Fatukasi and Britt can pick up some of Stuard’s slack on ST.

    Hopefully we can figure out the core teams group and let them gel together a bit in the early part of the season. I suspect real improvement won’t come until next offseason when Bowles has a chance to decide who stays and who goes on the staff. Keith Armstrong needs to hit the street unless there’s some amazing magical improvement this year.

  10. Bird Says:

    Fatukashi has way more upside playing actual linebacker. Not even close.

    I dont get the whole these guys cant play special teams…when they can play football at the NFL level as their dang jobs.

    Maybe its time to blame the coach who hasnt done jack to justify his coaching existence over the last 3 years. Stop with the he is my friend/ we have history BS. Armstrong needs to go bye bye. Him And lovie should start a
    Bed and breakfast business. Losers

  11. Goatfarmer Says:

    The special teams travel on the short bus. They are an embarrassment. Way to go, Keith.

    Hey Keith you should start looking at porn on your Bucs computer in the office.

  12. Capece is Kaput Says:

    Preseason results did not look good for any of the special teams other than Succop. I am not crazy about this punter, but my hope is that they were telling him to knock the crap out of the ball to force the camp meat and JAG’s to have to make plays and not use the punter as a crutch. So far over the last 3 years, the coach (Armstrong) has had a good enough to not lose a game for you (except when a kicker blows it) type of squad. I only hope for that again and we will be okay. I pray for mediocrity.

  13. CrackWise Says:

    Drama sells,

    This Joe is becoming hard to read!!!

    But we know some in the crowd will flock to this kinda reporting.

    90 may enter but 53 will leave.

    “Simple as that”.

  14. CrackWise Says:

    TBH. I would be ok if we never returned a punt/KO. I want to see the Offensive control the ball and TOP all year. No better way than to have a LONG field to do it on.

    It favors a run first O.

    Additionally, keeps that D fresh LATE into the season.

    As far as stopping the return. Prety sure we have a punter and kicker that can get it through the endzone and hit the side lines.

  15. jimm Says:

    well, with this punter, tell him to kick it out of bounds and even if he outkicks the coverage, there won’t be any long returns … and with his leg if he gets directionally solid, good defensive field position.

  16. unbelievable Says:

    I think cobra nailed it.

    Special teams has not been special since the Arians regime started. The Buc stops at the top (Armstrong).

  17. Richard Says:

    Like I said yesterday…why didn’t we pursue Rich Brassagia (?) WITH HASTE!!!!!

  18. GOB Says:

    Special teams just isn’t as important as it once was. Most great returners (very few exist anymore) can be neutralized by a halfway decent punter. It’s no longer 1/3 of the game. The Rams ranked 28th in special teams last year. So long as you have a kicker, who can hit consistently inside 45 yards, a bad special teams is in no way an impediment to a title.

  19. Netwalker Says:

    Seems to me that McCollum is built to be a gunner.

  20. Rocket Man Says:

    Ryan Griffin to the practice squad. He has led a charmed life – an NFL career since 2013, with only taking 4 regular season snaps.

  21. HC Grover Says:

    New coach please.Thje one we have is unable to produce a decent result and has been given too many chances. El Blundo need film….more film.

  22. sasquatch Says:

    Richard Says:
    August 31st, 2022 at 5:11 pm

    Like I said yesterday…why didn’t we pursue Rich Brassagia (?) WITH HASTE!!!!!

    Google is your friend.

    The reason is that BA is loyal to his guys, so he wasn’t going to look to replace Armstrong. Bowles hopefully has no allegiance to Armstrong and will look to upgrade next offseason.

  23. Goatfarmer Says:

    Seems to me that Keith Armstrong sucks and the Bucs returns and return coverages are at laughing stock level.

  24. gotbbucs Says:

    Special teams has been weak since the beginning of time with this team. This is nothing new.

  25. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Strange comment, Goatfarmer.

  26. gotbbucs Says:

    Honestly, I don’t care that much about the return game anymore. Fair catch kickoffs and get it at the 25, don’t get negative yardage on punt returns. Who’s hands do you trust the ball in, Darden or Brady?

    I care about the kicking and punting and the coverage units.

  27. 99 55 47 20 Says:

    53 strong armed his spot

  28. JimmyJack Says:

    I think part of the ST problem is the way we build the roster. Taking away from ST could be the price you pay to have a loaded offense.

  29. Coburn Says:

    I figure fatukasi was a guy you had to keep. Britt I dunno. Is he actually better at linebacker even than stuard? Can he actually play special teams? I honestly know nothing about him and have no seen anything to suggest either. I know he’s a higher draft pick and that’s about it. I thought this might be a case where the special teams guy has the edge, but might have been a close call.

  30. SB~LV Says:

    Oh bull hockey Joes !
    Stuart had injuries AND could never play LB
    ST coverage will be just fine without him.
    Now McClaughin (sp) Sam Wyche era or early Dungy was a kick coverage maniac !
    His pre game under jersey tee shirt was donated and labeled “Tampa Homicide”

  31. George Says:

    Fatukasi was a very active and effective linebacker . If one of our top guys gets injured I am very comfortable with him as a replacement . Stuart was not an NFL quality linebacker , however he did have special teams value . A player really needs to have both. So TJ and Stuart are gone to other teams

  32. HC Grover Says:

    Sunday Sunday…will be the tell. We clobber them or they clobber us. It will set the season. I am less confident post camp than pre camp. Will El Blundo Bloom or Doom? Seems like the herd is restless and uneasy.

  33. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    I will miss his hair.

  34. Jerry R Jones Says:

    I have ZERO faith in Keith Armstrong. Maybe some of these coaches have far too much loyalty to one another to let someone walk.

  35. Bucschamp Says:

    Our ST didn’t improve.

  36. Eckwood Says:

    Kami koshi great play cost Grant his spot !! Kind of like when Shelton Quarles came in from the CFL

  37. Rich Brassagia Says:

    My name is spelled JUST FINE!


    George Says:
    “Fatukasi was a very active and effective linebacker . If one of our top guys gets injured I am very comfortable with him as a replacement”

    Agreed, man. In those Preseason games, I was just watching for players that jumped off the screen, and man… HE did. I agree with your assessment, and feel that the kid brings something to the table.

  39. Goatfarmer Says:

    In other words, Keith Armstrong sucks. Punt coverage sucks. Punt returns suck. Kickoff coverage sucks. Kickoff return sucks.

    Less strange hopefully.

  40. matthew veal Says:

    We have calculated that special teams get no resources. Who knows. Armstrong may b e underrated but we just don’t prioritize special teams

    I can argue that wisdom all day but it’s too late to chsnge.

    O b e day we will know what Bowles thinks. Now it’s just minimizing the pain

  41. View from 132 Says:

    Doesn’t a salary cap mean that a team full of stars SHOULD be bad at special teams? The NFL is designed so you can’t have everything and must concede somewhere.

  42. Goatfarmer Says:

    So, the Bucs were bad at covering kicks, but at least had one dude who was consistently excellent and proved himself. Yeah, let’s get rid of him and let the unproven get out there to strut their inner Kenny Bell stuff. Awesome.

    Can’t wait to see Dard-on tearing it up on punt and kick coverage. Since he’s already proven beyond a shadow of a doubt he can’t return a punt or a kickoff.