TAMPA — RB Jeff Demps had just two offensive touches, a 14-yard run on a sweep and an 8-yard catch, in his NFL debut Sunday against the Cardinals. But running backs coach Earnest Byner said he already likes what Demps' track-star speed brings to the Bucs.
"One of the things I talk to Demps about is that his three-quarters speed is a lot of people's full speed; so being able to govern when to absolutely turn that blazer on," Byner said.
Byner has seen the impact a change of speed can have, starting at one pace, making a cut and accelerating. He worked with the Titans' Chris Johnson from 2008-09, including his 2,006-yard season in 2009.
"I think when we get him the ball, it makes it exciting," Byner said. "(Demps) is shorter, but the speed is … instant, one-step speed. I've talked to him about (Johnson) being able to be close enough to people to touch them but they can't touch him because he's that fast. It's a good thing to have (Demps) here. He adds that level of explosive ability and playmaking."
The Bucs also used the former Gators standout and Olympic sprinter on kickoff returns. Special teams coach Dave Wannstedt said they will work with Demps on decision-making after he returned kickoffs from deep in the end zone that resulted in drives starting at the 16 and 10.
"Obviously, there's a lot of room to improve," he said. "The most encouraging thing is his attitude has not been one of a track guy playing football. I've been around a lot of those players in my time.
"He shows toughness. He wants to be good at what we're doing, and it's nice to work with someone like that."
Bye talk: OL Donald Penn said he believes the bye week is well-timed after an 0-4 start.
"We got to sit back … watch a lot of stuff; went through all of our run plays throughout the whole year; went through almost all our pass protection throughout the whole year; got to see the things we're doing good and the things we're doing bad," he said. "It was great, especially when you're 0-4 and you've lost three close games. We couldn't plan it out any better."
Fines: Two Cardinals were fined $15,570 for hits Sunday against the Bucs, profootballtalk.com reported: S Yeremiah Bell for a helmet-to-helmet hit on TE Tim Wright and DT Darnell Docket for a horse-collar tackle on RB Doug Martin.