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Bucs bring back returner Solomon Patton

Solomon Patton, returning a kick in September at Atlanta, is back after spending time on the Cardinals’ practice squad.
Solomon Patton, returning a kick in September at Atlanta, is back after spending time on the Cardinals’ practice squad.
Published Dec. 2, 2014

TAMPA — For the fourth time in seven games the Bucs made a change on punt and kickoff returns Monday, bringing back rookie Solomon Patton, who handled those duties for the first six games.

His agent, Hadley Engelhard, confirmed the Bucs signed the former Gators receiver off Arizona's practice squad. The Bucs had turned to Trindon Holliday and Marcus Thigpen for short stints, then backup RB Bobby Rainey in Sunday's loss to Cincinnati. Rainey fielded one kickoff, returning it 19 yards to the 22-yard line, and totaled 21 yards on three punt returns.

Quick hits: Coach Lovie Smith praised his punt coverage unit, which held the Bengals to minus-1 yards thanks to well-timed tackles by Rainey, Russell Shepard and Orie Lemon. Shepard also leaped to down a Michael Koenen punt at the 1-yard line.

"There were some good things that happened," Smith said of the 14-13 loss. "Special teams holding down their return game, especially their punt returner. Good coverage with it. Since the bye week, some of the coverage teams have improved quite a bit."

The Bucs gave up 143 yards on punt-returns in the first seven games of the season, but in the past five, they've allowed a total of 6 yards on nine returns.

Wear and tear: All-Pro DT Gerald McCoy played a season-low 79 percent of Tampa Bay's defensive snaps Sunday as the team is being careful to watch his snap count. For the season, McCoy has played 84 percent of the snaps in his 10 healthy games — down from 91 percent last season, when only LB Lavonte David played more on the Bucs defense. McCoy had another sack Sunday, giving him 8.5 this season. No Buc has had double-digit sacks since Simeon Rice in 2005.

This and that: CB C.J. Wilson, cut Saturday to make room for rookie C Josh Allen, was re-signed to the practice squad. … Rookie G Kadeem Edwards said he had surgery Friday for a broken right foot. He expects to recover in time for workouts next spring. … Sunday's announced attendance was 56,340, the team's lowest since 55,360 vs. the Falcons in November 2013. Actual attendance, per the Tampa Sports Authority, was 45,994, also this season's lowest at Raymond James Stadium.

Contact Greg Auman at gauman@tampabay.com and (813) 226-3346. Follow @gregauman.

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