Parrish on struggling punt return game: "I know the big one is going to come"
The Bucs brought in veteran return man Roscoe Parrish a month ago to do one thing – jump-start the team’s struggling punt return game. The position had been a revolving door since the season opened, with Sammie Stroughter’s injury and WR Jordan Shipley getting cut after a key fumble in Week 3.
But Parrish, 30, hasn’t given the Bucs much of a boost, averaging just 6.1 yards on 12 returns over four games, with the longest 13 yards. He also muffed a punt against the Vikings Thursday, though he recovered it in the pile-up. With Tampa Bay still last in the league with a 5.5 yards per punt return average, personnel changes aren’t out of the question, especially with that being Parrish's primary role. But Parrish says he doesn’t want to press.
“You can’t get frustrated, you have to make smart decisions, be patient, because one return can change everything,” Parrish said. “It’s a long season, and I understand that being a veteran returner. That’s the best way I can put it right now.”
Coach Greg Schiano has acknowledged that fielding punts is “the hardest skill there is in football.” Parrish, the eighth-year pro out of Miami, entered the year averaging 12.0 yards per punt return, ranking him seven in league history among players with at least 75 returns.
“I know the big one is going to come,” Parrish said. “You don’t want to press right now. That’s something I’ve done as a young returner. But I was able to have success with that.”
-- JOE SMITH