Scotty Miller In The Mix As The New Return Man, Seemed Surprised To Learn This

December 7th, 2022

New returner?

Joe may have broken news to Scotty Miller today he wasn’t expecting.

Today was the first time Bucs coach Todd Bowles was available for the local pen and mic club since news broke yesterday that Tampa Bay finally reached its fill of running out of bounds or fair catches from Emmanuel Sanders Jaelon Darden.

Great guy but a one-trick pony. And he wasn’t so great at his one trick, return man.

As a receiver, Darden had two targets all year. Two! To his credit, Darden caught both. One was for 25 yards. Darden finished his days with the Bucs with a grand total of 69 yards receiving on 8 catches over two seasons.

Bowles admitted part of Darden’s demise was his inability to get on the field and produce on offense. He hadn’t quite developed like the team thought he would. Bowles said the Bucs have other players who can return and do more things than Darden.

Bowles specifically cited Giovani Bernard and Scotty Miller in the mix to replace Darden, and Bowles said those two, and others unnamed, will audition this week for the gig.

When Miller showed up in the locker room today, Joe asked Miller about this and he seemed very surprised.

Miller stared at Joe with his eyes wide open, his face just blank and completely silent.

JoeBucsFan: Is that news to you?

Scotty Miller: Yeah, ah, I never really talked about it. But yeah, I’ve been doing it [practicing returns] all year, really kind of practicing. Really, whatever they ask of me, I’m ready for it. It’s another chance to make plays and get out there [on the field]. … Somebody has to step up.

Miller also mentioned “D.T.,” along with Bernard, as two other guys who could return punts and kicks. Joe didn’t get a chance to clarify (yeah, bad follow-up move on Joe’s part) but Joe is thinking “D.T.” is practice squad receiver Deven Thompkins, the speedster from Fort Myers who played at Utah State.

Thompkins did return some punts in college but not since 2018, where he averaged a modest 10 yards a return, less than Darden did this season.

Thompkins only returned one kickoff in his four years at Utah State but it was for 45 yards.

35 Responses to “Scotty Miller In The Mix As The New Return Man, Seemed Surprised To Learn This”

  1. Jack Sparrow Says:

    the way he caught the ball last monday night, he deserves to be promoted.

  2. Tim Says:

    Now that Darden is gone, BRING UP THOMPKINS

  3. Bobby M. Says:

    They freed up a roster spot by releasing Darden…..curious who they add?

  4. DmanTX Says:

    I think Scott is to valuable as a backup WR to risk as a returner as he has been making some clutch catches for us as of late. Don’t we have some other guys that could handle returning?

  5. R.O. Says:

    Thought they added Ryan Smith?

  6. Yucs2Bucsr Says:

    Scotty will get hurt real quick and bring back Grayson !! I like his energy and seems fearless, but Miller Time is starting to become a reliable target for TB12, but just imagine if they play like they do in the last 3 minutes for 4 quarters? It would be amazing !! Glad to see JD get picked up by the Browns and wish him nothing but the best. This San Fran game scares me because Bosa and others are going to have a field day with Donovan “Holding” Smith and Wells unless Brady plays from the gun, but really hoping he plays great for his audition to become the 49ers next QB

  7. Redeemer Says:

    I’ve been calling for this all year. He has the speed.

  8. R.O. Says:

    Check that.. brought up Britt.

  9. mark2001 Says:

    RO.. thought they cut Ryan Smith.

  10. Crickett Baker Says:

    I just heard Darden has been claimed by the Browns. I am so glad he’s gone!

  11. NEfan Says:

    Another great coaching move, tell the press before the player. What would be funny as shat is if he didn’t know and scrambled for an answer and just threw out names.

  12. Manny Says:

    Why wouldnt miller be the returner? Hes fast as hell with pretty good hands. Bernard makes no sense. Hes a rb in his 30s lol. Miller>bernard

  13. Jmarkbuc Says:

    The punt returns that Scotty has done, haven’t been very good. That’s why he wasn’t doing them.

  14. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    There’s a special skill in Punt Returning……and little Scotty doesn’t have it!

    This dude is gonna get hurt.

  15. Tucker Says:

    Maybe gio can return some punts would not want to see Scotty doing them and it doesn’t seem like he wants to see himself doing that either. Really would like to see Devin thompkins return some maybe run some routes but they really don’t have anyone thought darden wasnt ranked that bad on returns but probably lack of versatility got him cut.

  16. Craig Says:

    I just wish someone would teach Scooter how to catch with his hands.

    You can’t jump up and get your body into it like a pass. He’s going to leave a couple on the turf.

    Bernard might be the best bet , but only for a short time, he is getting fragile n his old age.

    There is an opening on the 51 man squad, so maybe Thompkins can figure it out.

  17. Smashsquatch Says:

    I’d keep Scooter as a backup returner. He’s more valuable on offense, and fresh legs are important for his role.

  18. D-Rok Says:

    Am I wrong to assume the one of the coaches did not properly communicate, in this instance? Maybe they just missed each other in the hallway and there wasn’t time to tell Scotty.

    Not sure if this a recurring theme (lack of communication) or an isolated incident?

    Either way, Scotty has the speed, that’s for sure. We’ll see if he has the hands.

  19. mg Says:

    hope he doesn’t jump to catch a punt

  20. Redeemer Says:

    Just run fast in a straight line, and hold onto the ball.

  21. SB Says:

    Info says they are bringing up Britt.

  22. HC Grover Says:


  23. SB~LV Says:

    Devin Thompkins did fine in preseason

  24. Beeej Says:

    Grayson is on somebody’s practice squad, I think the Browns

  25. Uncle Urk Says:

    How about Tinner or Nelson? They seem to love them on special teams. My god, please do yourself a favor and rewatch those two on special teams. Number 97 and 98. OMG! WHO THOUGHT THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA? Why is JTS not on kickoffs and punts. He would be perfect for that. He’s nothing but a big free safety.

  26. adam from ny Says:

    things have been weird all year…

    and this is more weird stuff…

    darden cut way after the fact…almost at the end of the season…

    at some point you just gotta start to ride with what you’ve got…and i’d say in week 14 that should be the case…

    and scotty’s baffled and clueless to the whole scenario…

    there are major disconnects on the 2022 bucs top to bottom…

    let’s see who comes in or is brought up

  27. captivajim Says:

    I’m not sure Bernard makes any sense . Go with Tompkins

  28. firethecannons Says:

    Probably didn’t know Daeden was cut.

  29. Ed McSherry Says:

    It’ll be great to see some decent field position on returns for a change.

    Happy to see they didn’t give-up on Gio, and he’s still around for the opportunity; watch his “YouTube highlights,” on some open field running plays; Gio could be well suited for this job.

    Scotty Miller’s a good candidate, too; and by participating with returns, he won’t be coming-in cold off the bench for late-game targets as a WR.

  30. Day 1-76 Says:

    Since when is averaging 10 yds. per punt return modest? 10 yds. is what you strive for on average but rarely reach. It’s one extra 1st down per possession.

  31. AbucAway Says:

    I’m willing to bet that whomever steps in as the returner will be well rehearsed in not aiming for the sidelines.
    As to Dardone, glad he’s gone and wish him well. He has some abilities (good hands) but he doesn’t have the coaching to become more than a sideline seeker. Maybe the Browns ST coaches can coach him up

  32. AbucAway Says:

    I’d keep Scotty as backup returner. Keep his legs fresh and ready for the 4th quarter.

  33. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Really strange to cut a guy that is number 1 in return yards and number 6 in average yards per return and he is sure handed in fielding those punts. Ask yourself who benefits the Bucs more Jaelon Darden or Kyle Rudolph?? I sure hope the next punt returner does not muff one at a crucial juncture in a critical game.

  34. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    BucsFanSince1976 Says:
    “Really strange to cut a guy that is number 1 in return yards and number 6 in average yards per return and he is sure handed in fielding those punts.”

    It is a strange move this late in the season. Darden still doesn’t look like much as a punt returner, but at least he is sure-handed and hitting the over on return average. This cut would have made more sense last season.

  35. brooks Says:

    To small