“We’re Going To Put An Emphasis On That”

April 11th, 2024

Fading fast.

It sounds like the Bucs might be looking for two capable returners in the NFL Draft thanks to the new touchback rule that’s part of the wild new kickoff legislation voted in by NFL owners last month.

Touchbacks will now come out to the 30 yard line, so the thinking is a lot of teams won’t want to blast balls into the end zone. There’s also a host of new restrictions and rules that Joe won’t outline here in detail. Simply put, two returners will be employed and they’ll have more room run free because blockers and coverage teams won’t be allowed to move until the ball is caught or hits the ground.

“It’s going to become more of an offensive play the way teams are going to scheme it,” Buccaneers Ring of Honor general manager Jason Licht said today.

Licht didn’t hide that he’s searching for a returner. No surprise considering Deven Thompkins wasn’t special last season and Joe doubts the Bucs’ new offensive coordinator and special teams chief want him in their units.

“So it’s going to put a premium on that type of returner, whether it’s going to be a punt returner or a kick returner or, like I said, it’s going to be kind of an offensive play. … We’re going to put an emphasis on that [returner position].”

Joe will note the word “Thompkins” never flowed from Licht’s mouth.

Joe 99 percent expects the Bucs to draft a running back with enough juice to be a factor on kickoff returns. Can Trey Palmer do it? Probably.

22 Responses to ““We’re Going To Put An Emphasis On That””

  1. SB~LV Says:

    Don’t NASCAR my game of football!

    All this will do is cause confusion, flags and more commercials in between talking heads blathering about this and that!
    Say where is the OJ tread?
    We need something to distract us from the draft roster drama

  2. gofortheface30 Says:

    I like the new kickoff rule. People have clamored for more returns and they’re going to get it. It’s no longer a ceremonial meaningless play. There is give/get in a negotiation. Absolutely no f’ing way was it going to revert back to kamikazee sprints with a 50 yard head start. This is the compromise, both sides win. But im sure people being people – there is still whining and complaining, because no one is ever happy about anything and you can’t please everyone like reading a yelp review. In any case, this rule could actually allow for creative return design and could potentially make it an important component to building a winning team.

  3. SB~LV Says:

    Special team coaches better start studying Australian football and practice lateraling trailing runners

  4. Fred McNeil Says:

    I don’t quite know what to expect. It could get pretty interesting. I can’t wait to see it.

  5. Beeej Says:

    As far as kickoff returns go, I am not seen how Thompkins and Palmer would be much different?

  6. Boss Says:

    I like it.

  7. Pickgrin Says:

    Sean Tucker….

  8. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Lots of scoring potential with the rule change

  9. Ugotrobbed Says:

    DeJean with the 1st! You got your corner and returner in one pick!

  10. Roland Says:

    Sean Tucker was our best between the tackles back last season… If you’re using a wedge, straight ahead approach to the return, he seems perfect. As Gruden would say, “he’ got juice”.

  11. MadMax Says:

    Thats why I wouldn’t mind Dejean if powers and barton aren’t there.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Trey is fast but I hope he cleans up his fumbling issues. That would scare me when considering him for this competition at returner

  13. Ed Says:

    This is a very big change. It adds a lot more chunk plays to a game. If there are more kickoffs in play because of the 30 yard touchback, along with the gunners having to wait until the ball is caught or hits the ground, those returners will have a lot more daylight and teams will be getting returns to the 40 or 50.

    Good move for the NFL. With all of the domes, most kickers were getting touchbacks 80% of the time, minimum. If they are in situations where they feel they have to kick in the field of play, then there will be opportunities and more big plays.

    This isn’t a backward move, it makes the game more strategic and favors players who can burst and cut.

  14. Bradinator Says:

    Watch a UFL game and see how much more fun it is on the Kickoffs. A return every single time. Much better than the current kick it through the end zone 90% of the time. They should look at some of the UFL return guys too. They’ve been doing it already.

  15. View from 132 Says:

    Love the new kickoff. Get fast men the ball and let everyone block and tackle. That’s football. Can’t wait.

  16. Saskbucs Says:

    Speed is great, but it means next to nothing if you choose the wrong lane. Bucs definitely need a threat back there but I hope they don’t go reaching for a returner in the draft that can’t contribute elsewhere. Bucs need a guy with vision that can break a couple tackles. Agility and speed would also be nice, hopefully this is the year Licht can find a decent RB. I like White but agree with Joe, that he’s basically a slot guy.

  17. Bucsfan Says:

    We have a exciting returner-his name is Trey Palmer-why are Bucs not using him?????????

  18. SenileSenior Says:

    Been watching the UFL recently. The new return phase will be interesting and even fun to watch once you get used to it. One more thing to speculate about for the time being.

    You know the drill. . . . Go Bucs!!!

  19. Rod Munch Says:

    Thompkins wasn’t special, but he wasn’t terrible – he was basically the Baker of returners, very middling, right around 18th to 20th in returns.

    Obviously if the Bucs can get an upgrade, they should.

  20. PSL Bob Says:

    I’m not sure I agree with the general assertion that teams won’t want to have kick offs go into the end zone. If the coverage can’t move until the ball is caught or hits the ground, returners are going to have a lot of real estate to run free. It seems like returns often get out to the 20 or 25 YL before being tackled, and that’s with coverage coming down field from the moment the ball is kicked. Under the new rules, I can easily see players getting out to the 30 or 35 yard line before contact. I have a feeling, many teams will still want touchbacks on kick offs.

  21. ATLBuc Says:

    There will definitely be more squib kicks

  22. BringBucsBack Says:

    I have wondered for years why the kicker doesn’t kick the ball short & very high on kickoffs. Use a place-holder if he must. The ball is live after 10 yards. The kicking team (had) a running start & the receiving team would be more stressed & confused by having an up-back or another less-apt player attempting to catch the ball as the kicking team arrives, almost simultaneously. The ball may even hit the ground at times.

    BTW, With the new rules, how does an onside kick happen?