Thursday, August 2, 2007
2007 TSR Bucs Preview: Special Teams
Whenever you think of special teams and the Bucs, you think about the one thing that has never happened in Tampa history: a kickoff return. I find it hard to believe that after 30 years, we have still not returned one kick in a regular season game. Could this be the year? No, probably not, but we can wish can't we? We will break down the special teams position by position, and give our expectations.
The Bucs will still have leading return man from last year Michael Pittman. We don't think Pittman is a very good return man, he is a straight runner, and isn't the best at making cuts. If Chad Owens makes the team, look for him to take over return duties. Chad can be the spark plug this team needs on special teams.
Prediction: If Owens makes the team, he will return a kickoff for a touchdown, and become a Tampa Bay Legend.
The Bucs will most likely use Mark Jones, Chad Owens, or Ike Hilliard. We would like to see Jones or Owens, although Owens may not make the team. Jones has proven to be effective in the return game, and would be welcomed back to that position this year.
Prediction: If Owens makes the team, him and Jones will most likely share duties, with the hot hand taking the majority of the returns.
Matt Bryant was 17-22 last year, but perfect from inside of 40 yards. He was also perfect outside of 60 yards, as he made his only attempt: a 62-yard game winner, in the most memorable moment of the season. Look for Matt to be his ordinary self, not the best kicker in the league, but also not the worst. He can be counted on for those clutch kicks, which is a highly underrated quality.
Prediction: Bryant goes 21-26, with 1 miss inside of 30 yards. He will however kick 2 game winning field goals.....thats right, were gonna win at least 2 games.
Josh Bidwell may be the most underrated player on this Buccaneers squad, as he is so consistent. Bidwell is a great athlete for a punter, and it shows through his continued good health. Last year he averaged a solid 43.5 yds/punt. He only recorded 7 touchbacks last year to go along with 20 inside the red zone.
Prediction: Mr. Consistency keeps it up, by averaging 44 yards, and continuing to be a top punter in the league.