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Grading out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Special Teams

Last piece of the "Grading out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers" columns.  This one focuses on special teams and their performance. 

Short intro, short piece.  Hit the Jump for more.

Special Teams


Mike Nugent - Can't continue to go 1 for 2 and make team.  No competition at this point.  For someone with a strong leg, again, he didn't reach end zone once on kickoffs.  His field goal tries have sufficient distance, and until I see Bryant kick from the same spots, I'm still not willing to say Bryant's leg is weaker.  Grade: C


Dirk Johnson - Has been overwhelmingly average.  Punting from Jax 45 yard line, he dropped a kick at the 20.  Not acceptable.  That ball has to be on the 10 or give the coverage teams a chance to down it inside the 5.  Other kciks were decent, but not changing field position.  Grade: C-

Return Units

Sammy Stroughter - We've got several options at KR/PR thanks to SS.  Showed good agility, good vision and ability to hit the seam quickly.  Danced too much at times.  Good ball security and good speed.  If he can learn that sometimes its best to take the 5-7 yards and not dance, he will be VERY good at this role.  Grade: A-

Clifton Smith - Is a great asset on special teams.  Still had good vision and ability to get upfield.  Delivered a good hit on coverage team.  Grade: B

Maurice Stovall - I'll chalk this up to being a preseason game, but that was an idiotic move he made by not downing punt.  Not going to help his cause any, though I'm 99% sure he is one of the gunners on opening day.  Grade D-------

Overall the special teams unit was above average, thanks to a few returns.  Funny after all these years our return game may be the better part of special teams with the way the kicker/punter are performing.  Grade: B