Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Special teams decisions coming

14

December

Here's something to keep an eye on this weekend. The Bucs will have some decisions to make concerning their personnel on kick and punt returns.

They like what Micheal Spurlock did as a kick returner in Houston, especially the 45-yard return he broke. Spurlock also had to fill in as a punt returner when Ike Hilliard was injured in the first quarter, but he committed a pretty big gaffe by letting a late get by him and allowing the Texans to down the ball at the 7-yard line.

Here's where things get complicated. The Bucs aren't always able to get Spurlock on the 47-man gameday lineup because of other concerns (mostly injuries) that cause roster shuffling elsewhere. But Hilliard might not be fit to return punts this week given he still is nursing the back/neck injury. Whether Hilliard will return punts is a decision Jon Gruden and special teams coach Rich Bisaccia will make over the weekend, Bisaccia told me. Other options include Phillip Buchanon and Joey Galloway (don't hold your breath on No. 84 lining up back there).

On kickoff returns, there are issues, too. Remember, we still aren't sure Michael Pittman will make it back this week. Even if he does, there is no assurance he'll be fit to return kicks. Michael Clayton has been able to fill that role when necessary, but he isn't the first option.

Seems to me the Bucs had better find a way to fit Spurlock in this week. He might be the best answer to the many problems they're trying to solve. Whatever they decide, hopefully this gives you a little insight into why certain players are active on gameday and others not. The conversations regarding gameday inactives are some of the most intense of the week, I'm told. And don't forget, this week, fullback B.J. Askew is a question and tight end Jerramy Stevens is suspended.

So many issues to consider. So few easy answers.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:54pm]

    

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