Saturday, June 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs hope to score big returns

TAMPA — The Bucs haven't returned a punt or kickoff for a touchdown since November 2010 — only the Redskins have gone longer without one among the 32 NFL teams — and Kevin O'Dea's job is to change that this season.

The Bucs special-teams coordinator is well-equipped to help on returns. As the Chiefs assistant special-teams coach last season, he saw Kansas City return four kicks (two punts and two kickoffs) for scores, and he works to simplify the art of the return for his players.

"Really, what we're teaching is geometry and physics, but it's in phys ed," O'Dea said Tuesday. "They have to understand their angles, they have to understand their pad level, how we want it done, where the hands have to go and where they can't go. We don't want a good return brought back. We've got to get this thing rolling."

O'Dea wouldn't name any specific returners who have stood out in two weeks of practices — last year's primary returner, Eric Page, has fielded punts, as has WR Skye Dawson and rookie Solomon Patton, among others. He said the noncontact nature of drills thus far has limited the insights coaches can get about which players are ready to handle the collisions that come with returns.

"Right now, all I can tell is they're catching the ball, moving forward, they have good hands and they're being consistent," O'Dea said. "As far as the toughness part of it, as far as making people miss, I can't tell about that. … Until we get in pads, we really don't know those things."

The NFC South as a division hasn't had big plays on returns — Tampa Bay, Atlanta, New Orleans and Carolina all have gone two full seasons without a touchdown on a kickoff or punt return. By comparison, 23 of the 28 teams in the rest of the NFL have at least one score in that span.

MCCOWN PRAISE: Offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford wasn't the only coach glowing this week about new QB Josh McCown. Quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo said the 11-year veteran has already made a huge impression with the team. Arroyo praised McCown's abilities and the extra time he's spent in meeting rooms and watching film.

"He's done a great job of grabbing the group, grabbing the offense, from the O-line to the backs to the wide receivers and independently working with them," Arroyo said. "The core traits that you're looking for in a pro, he depicts exactly to a tee. He is what I think we thought he was, and that's awesome."

DOES SIZE MATTER? After Seattle won the Super Bowl thanks to a tall secondary, the thought of 6-foot cornerbacks has become an NFL trend. The Bucs have four of them, including last year's No. 43 pick, Johnthan Banks, although cornerbacks coach Gill Byrd said size isn't what matters most.

"Whether it's a big corner, short corner, you're as valuable as the plays you make," Byrd said. "The size isn't the issue. It's going out and not just being active but being productive. And that's the difference."

Byrd said one of those 6-foot cornerbacks, veteran Danny Gorrer, has been productive, lining up on the outside, against slot receivers and at nickel.

"His versatility shines when he's out there on the field," Byrd said.

Comments
Greg Auman answers your questions about NFL’s investigation into Jameis Winston

Greg Auman answers your questions about NFL’s investigation into Jameis Winston

There are many unanswered questions and unresolved discrepancies to the story of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston and the March 2016 Uber ride in Arizona that led to him facing a three-game suspension to start the upcoming season.The Bucs won't commen...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Will this be Jameis Winston’s last season in a Bucs uniform?

Will this be Jameis Winston’s last season in a Bucs uniform?

A t his introductory news conference after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Bucs in 2015, Jameis Winston said to judge him on his actions moving forward."Actions speak so much louder than words, or what they may have read or what they may have hear...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

New details emerged Friday night about the Uber ride in Arizona in March 2016 that led to Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston's three-game suspension to start the upcoming season, including the fact that Winston was in a car that night with a former Vand...
Published: 06/22/18
Chris Godwin on SiriusXM: Bucs have confidence in backup QBs

Chris Godwin on SiriusXM: Bucs have confidence in backup QBs

Bucs receiver Chris Godwin, who has had as good an offseason as any Tampa Bay player, was on SiriusXM NFL radio for a scheduled interview on Thursday night, talking about a range of subjects, including the news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start...
Published: 06/22/18
With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With news that Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of 2018, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has an interesting decision to make for training camp and especially in preseason games: How does he split reps between Winston and backup Ryan...
Published: 06/22/18
Bucs QB Jameis Winston’s suspension: What they’re saying

Bucs QB Jameis Winston’s suspension: What they’re saying

There are so many sides to the Jameis Winston suspension, and it will continue to be a major Bucs story line through September and beyond. Here's some of the reactions and notes that have already emerged in the first 24 hours since news broke Thursda...
Published: 06/22/18
Welcome back to the dark side, Bucs fans

Welcome back to the dark side, Bucs fans

TAMPA — Thursday was not the end of Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay, but it is in sight.Me? I was sitting at home. I was tired of the NBA draft, even with Tampa's Kevin Knox going to the New York Knicks.So I switched to the NFL Network. An episode ...
Published: 06/22/18
Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasn’t in car for whole ride

Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasn’t in car for whole ride

There's no telling how much detail will be disclosed in what the NFL learned in its investigation that led to Jameis Winston being suspended for the first three games of the upcoming season, but some have already been reported in the first 24 hours s...
Published: 06/22/18
Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ‘We gotcha back’

Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ‘We gotcha back’

There are many questions in the aftermath of Thursday's news that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season, but even before the suspension is officially announced, he is drawing support on social ...
Published: 06/22/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston to receive three-game suspension

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston to receive three-game suspension

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended by the NFL for three games according to reports, and that number could go up if he doesn't meet certain criteria.Rick Stroud explains that the suspension is not for a failure to report the 2016 i...
Published: 06/22/18