Some key battles are taking place on the special teams unit this year for the Bucs. So after one preseason game, how did the players do? Let's take a look at the grades
Dirk Johnson - Taking over for Bidwell, big shoes to fill. First punt was a weak end over end effort. Got better as night progressed. Punted 5 times for a net average of 38.6 yards (gross of 41 yards). He did drop a punt on the 9 yard line (fair caught) and the 11 yard line (short punt from the Tenn 45 yard line). Not too shabby, but will need more film to evaluate. No issues on holding for PAT's or FG"s. Grade: B
Mike Nugent - With Matt Bryant out, the show was all Nugent's. He was perfect on PAT's. Went 1/2 on field goals, but both were beyond 50 yards. Nailed a 51 yarder with som room to spare, the 50 yarder was pulled low and left. Might have had the distance but looked like he mis-hit it. Averaged 68.6 yard per kickoff with one touchback (came after a penalty). Average kick ended on the Tenn 2 yard line. Hard to knock him for missing a 50 yarder, but every miss counts. Grade: C+
Anyone - Technically, only one punt returner hit the box score. Sammy Stroughter had 2 returns for a total of 1 yard. Not groundbreaking, though he did field one punt in traffic with no fair catch. Dexter Jackson did return a punt 9 yards, but it was the punt that resulted in the safety. Grade: Incomplete, though D-Jack gets an A+ for not shying from contact
Bryan Clark - 2 returns, averaging 18 yards, long of 23 yards. Not great field position here. Grade: C-
Sammy Stroughter - 3 returns, averaged 27 yards with a long of 30. Better field position, had the feeling that he can make some plays in this portion of game. Want to see more opportunites here. Grade: B
Dexter Jackson - One return for 27 yards. Didn't shy from contact but he looked like a nervous runner. Seems to be a better fit on punt returns as he likes to dance a little bit. That type of running doesn't suit kick returns as well. Grade: B-
Not much to look at here. Very average group, nothing tooe xciting or explosive, but no big mistakes either. Grade: C
The final grades are in. Nothing spectacular here, but I didn't feel like we were light years behind. I'll take the performances considering we had zero of our regular starters doing anything.
How would you rank the Special Teams?