Will Special Teams performance decline without Rich Bisaccia?

Rich Bisaccia left the Buccaneers after a nine-year stint as their Special Teams Coach. He signed with the San Diego Chargers to take the same job, and the Bucs promoted Assistant Defensive Backs Coach/Assistant Special Teams Coach Dwayne Stukes to the position of Special Teams coach. 

Losing Bisaccia was a blow for the Buccaneers, as the long-time coach was one of the better special teams coaches in the NFL. He was in charge when Micheal Spurlock had the first kickoff return for a touchdown in Bucs history, and Clifton Smith was named an All-Pro as a return man under Bisaccia. While the specialists have been a problem for the Bucs recently, coverage and return units have been excellent throughout Bisaccia's career. 

So the question becomes, can Stukes continue this excellence? Stukes has been with the Bucs since 2006 and is certainly familiar with every aspect of special teams play. He knows how Bisaccia ran special teams and he has the opportunity to do it the same way if needed. In that respect, there shouldn't be much of a dropoff. 

The fact that many core special teamers are returning certainly helps the Bucs. Adam Hayward, Micheal Spurlock, Dekoda Watson and other returning players all played big roles on special teams last year, which will help the unit. The addition of Michael Koenen will certainly make it easier for the kickoff coverage unit, as more touchbacks will mean fewer returns. The only problem may be longsnapper Andrew Economos' injury, although he is hopeful that he will be ready for the season opener. 

Overall, the Bucs are in position to continue to succeed on special teams in 2011. They simply have to execute. 

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