Speed Kills

October 12th, 2022

Immediate impact.

Cornerback Zyon McCollum was a total freak at Sam Houston State. One scouting service claimed he tested as one of the best athletes in the history of the NFL Draft. And it didn’t take McCollum’s wheels long to make an impact for the Bucs.

McCollum played in his first NFL game Sunday against the Dixie Chicks. He was on the inactive gameday roster the previous four games. And when Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting both got hurt Sunday, McCollum unexpectedly logged 13 snaps on defense to go along with his 13 on special teams.

It was on the kickoff team that McCollum used his athleticism to plant his flag in the turf of The Licht House.

McCollum, per Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com, had a key solo tackle where he used his superior quicks to get the job done.

McCollum’s first NFL tackle came on the opening kickoff of the second half. Falcons return man Avery Williams elected to take the ball out of the end zone, where he had caught it one yard deep, and McCollum made sure the strategy didn’t pay off. The rookie defender lined up just to the left of kickoff man Jake Camarda and, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, ran a total of 58.64 yards on the play, reaching a max speed of 19.96 miles per hour. That was close to the 20.97 miles per hour that McCollum got up to on a different kickoff, the highest speed any Buccaneer player hit all day.

Smith noted that McCollum’s tackle at the Dixie Chicks-18 was key. Though Atlanta got a first down, it had to punt after the next series and the Bucs would convert a touchdown on the ensuing possession.

Maybe it says something about Dixie Chicks coach Artie Smith or it says something about that runaround quarterback Marcus Mariota or both. When McCollum came in after SMB got hurt, Joe thought surely Atlanta would target him. You know, a third-day draft pick appearing in his very first game?


Joe thinks Smith and his Wing-T quarterback committed sort of football malpractice.

25 Responses to “Speed Kills”

  1. gp Says:

    Perhaps they were concerned that, with that kind of speed, if he intercepted it he would house it.
    I don’t know much about Mariota, is accuracy one of his strong points?

  2. Listnfrmafar Says:

    He also snatched the Darden botched punt.

  3. Dooley Says:


    Darden didn’t botch the punt or even touch the ball tho, the ball definitely hit one of the Falcons gunners and McCollum foolishly came and touched the ball while Darden signaled “fire” with two defenders on top of both of him. Pretty sure one of those guys were McCollums’ blocking assignment.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Zion will be a good player for us

  5. Hodad Says:

    Athletic skills off the chart, that’s good, but how smart is he? All the players in the NFL have athletic skill, what seperates the greats has more to do with what’s between the ears. Look at Devin White, great MLB, but he’ll never be as good as Ray Lewis because he’s just not as smart. So I’d rather have a player who’s a tick slower, but who can process imformation really fast.

  6. D Says:

    Correct Dooley.
    Perhaps Zyon already knows NFL rules. If one of the kickoff team’s player touches a punted ball before the receiving team, the receiving team can then touch the ball and a subsequent fumble can’t be recovered by the kicking team. The play would be marked dead at the fumbled spot. Per NFL rules.

  7. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Super Mariota isn’t THAT bad of a thrower.

  8. George Says:

    If the punt hits a player on the punt team the ball can’t be muffed. The worse position is the ball gets spotted at the touched spot

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    ‘Joe thinks Smith and his Wing-T quarterback committed sort of football malpractice.’

    And yet the Falcons were in a position to win the game with over 4 minutes left IF their defense hadn’t screwed up. MAYBE there was a lot more ‘malpractice’ going on than just on the part of Smith & Mariota … from both teams.

  10. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Speaking about Speed, our new Punter Jake Camarada has 4.5 speed!
    In fact, he saved a sure TD with a tackle last week!

  11. LakelandSteve Says:

    My heart sunk when I realized McCollum was on the field when the Bucs were on defense. He may wind up being a fantastic defender one day but everyone knows what rookie corners have to go through when they first start playing in the league. I just knew the Falcons would target him on every play if they could. Nope, never happened. That’s on somebody on the Falcons in the press box. So let’s all pray that Carlton Davis can come back and play a full game. We all know the fragile SMB won’t be playing.

  12. ModHairKen Says:

    Give the kid his due. Let him play. Let’s see what he’s got.

    This team is vastly superior to Pittsburgh. Brady ain’t going to let the Offense look bad. Bowles has a natural rivalry with Tomlin. The group of Black coaches is still small and close knit.

    I think the Bucs are due for a big, lopsided win on the road.

    God I hope I’m right.

  13. Goatfarmer Says:

    Artie Smith, another one of these dudes who tries to be smarter than everyone else and then ends up losing to the Aints in a game they had cold. Or getting behind to the Bucs by 3 scores because he’s trying to beat us passing with Mariota. They compete hard and do play hard for him. We’ll see where they are in another few weeks.

  14. Bucs Win Says:

    Their D isn’t terrible but Plant High School could shut down that putrid Offense.

  15. Goatfarmer Says:

    Can the kid return punts? Can he at least catch punts? Or kickoffs? With that kind of speed and athleticism, and given our short bus teams’ performances, does anyone know if he’s being looked at for it in practice? And if not, why not?

    Oh yeah. Keith Fargin’ Armstrong. ( facepalm)

  16. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Who said Zion was not a smart player…..I haven’d seen that wrap on him.

    What we need to do is get some big leads so the kid can play against some garbage time passes……

    This would have been the game if we would have scored once more….24-0 or 28-0

  17. A Bucs Fan Says:

    We have a long way until Sunday, but it looks like he’ll get his shot this weekend against Pit. Edwards and SMB were out of practice today and CDIII was limited. Bucs also made a depth signing of another DB on their PS.

  18. Goatfarmer Says:


  19. firethecannons Says:

    Good article Joe! kind of story no one ever writes that I care about. I love the first game breakdown for this kid. We played all of our draft picks on sunday–honestly it was close cannot think of who the last couple were Very pleased with our 2022 draft so far!

  20. firethecannons Says:

    Defense Rules says:
    And yet the Falcons were in a position to win the game with over 4 minutes left IF their defense hadn’t screwed up. MAYBE there was a lot more ‘malpractice’ going on than just on the part of Smith & Mariota … from both teams.

    so true! agree completely nice we won the game but we need to have a game where we are operating well in all areas–we need to pull it together and figure it out going forward

  21. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    Great point….played all of our draft picks…..can’t remember the last time we’ve done that…..some years, all of our draft picks didn’t even make the final 53.

  22. Crickett Baker Says:

    Bucs Win, you are right. AND I graduated from Plant High. We had a great football team and raised money to put a Panther on the front of the bldg. I live in AR now. Is that Panther still there? I have often wondered. Great article, Joe.

  23. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    Actually, Andre Anthony didn’t make the team but we did play all of our picks that made it.
    I looked back and it’s been a long time since we have done that…..maybe never.

  24. Joe Says:

    Thanks for the kind feedback guys.

  25. MadMax Says:

    He was off my radar, just because I work so much…but then they picked him and I researched him and said “NICE” now granted, it was followed with “we’ll see”….so far so good.