Buccaneers preview: Special Teams
Josh Bidwell (Getty Images)
Josh Bidwell (Getty Images)
bucsblitz@mac.com
Posted Jul 21, 2008
Matthew Postins


BucsBlitz.com begins its preview of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp in Orlando with a breakdown of the Bucs' key special teams performers. Look for breakdowns of every position for the Buccaneers leading up to reporting day in Orlando on July 26.

Which five Bucs have the most to gain — and the most to lose — at training camp? Bucsblitz.com has the scoop for you in this exclusive analysis Just click here to find out who made the list.


SPECIAL TEAMS

Punter: Josh Bidwell.

It’s pointless to put anyone up against Bidwell. He owns the position in Tampa Bay and for good reason. Bidwell continues to kick at a Pro Bowl level. He put 30 punts inside the 20 a year ago (tying a team record) and had a 43.9-yard average. The Bucs love his ability to control distance and accuracy with his kicks, which comes in handy in bracketing coverage to one side of the field.

Placekicker: Matt Bryant

Bryant had a career-high 28 field goals and was quietly one of the league’s top scorers at the position last season. He may not have elite foot strength, but he’s highly accurate, quickly forgets the few kicks he misses and can make the occasional 50- (or 60) yarder. One of his best assets is an ability to make directional kicks, like Bidwell. The Bucs love to herd coverage to one side and Bryant’s accuracy makes him the ideal kicker for that strategy.

Kick/punt returner: Micheal Spurlock, Dexter Jackson.

Both might make the team. Spurlock is more experienced with kickoffs and Jackson is more experienced with punts. Both has a track record of being productive. Spurlock returned the first kickoff return for a touchdown in Bucs history and despite only 20 returns had a solid return average. He did fumble in the playoff game, and that could hurt him if he suffers a similar case in training camp. Jackson averaged close to 9 yards a punt return in college and has elite track speed to elude defenders. He’s on the small side, but you can’t hit what you can’t catch (or at least that’s what the Bucs hope). The Bucs hope that Jackson can make both jobs his own, which would open up a roster spot.

They were the nine biggest stories of the offseason for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. How did the Bucs do in the magnifying glass of hindsight? Did they do the right things to attack their team needs and keep the team on the winning track? Matthew Postins of bucsblitz.com examines those storylines and their impact on the upcoming season in his exclusive group of articles:

Vol. 1 — the coaching staff.

Vol. 2 — the secondary’s future.

Vol. 3 — is Jovan Haye a future star?

Vol. 4 — the precarious state at running back.

Vol. 5 — who will eventually replace Joey Galloway?

Vol. 6 — Jon Gruden’s contract extension.

Vol. 7 — What should the Bucs do at center?

Vol. 8 — re-signing a key tight end.

Vol. 9 — assessing the return game.

We’re gearing up for training camp at Bucsblitz.com. Today we’ve posted our first Mailbag feature, with answers to questions on Greg White, Jeff Garcia and a potential breakout player. Just click here to check it out. Part 2 will include an answer on Brett Favre and be published later this week.


Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla.


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