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michael89156

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: June 24, 2013, 12:01:15 AM



Page gives Bucs another option on special teams

Stephen F. Holder, Times Staff Writer 
 
Thursday, June 13, 2013 4:31pm
 





TAMPA

 Eric Page dreamed of the perfect scenario. Get drafted, make a team's roster and get the ball rolling on a successful NFL career.
 
Instead, the former record-breaking receiver at Toledo was undrafted in 2012. Then, a torn ACL last summer meant he didn't even make it to his first training camp.
 
But after the injury resulted in Page's release from the Broncos, he found his way to the Bucs and now has a legitimate shot at adding a new chapter to his story. Coaches say Page is in the thick of things as they search for consistency in the return game, something they lacked in 2012.
 
For Page, who has seen extensive action in practice on punt and kick returns, it's about making up for lost time.
 
"Everybody has their own story," he said. "I'm just trying to live mine out and do my best."
 
Page finished his three-year career at Toledo (he entered the draft a year early) with 306 catches, 44 shy of the NCAA's major-college record. As a junior he had 125 catches, one year after he was named a Walter Camp and Sporting News All-America selection in 2010 as a kick returner, averaging 31.1 yards per attempt and scoring three touchdowns.
 
Coach Greg Schiano tapped his numerous connections in the Mid-American Conference to mine additional info on Page, and the Bucs made a push to sign him as an undrafted free agent last year. He initially committed to Tampa Bay until the Broncos offered a chance to play for a contender quarterbacked by Peyton Manning. Page ultimately settled in Tampa this spring.
 
Special teams coach Dave Wannstedt said Page is one of many return-game candidates in a fluid situation, with WRs David Douglas and Chris Owusu and RB Michael Smith in the mix.
 
"Until we get the pads on and get into training camp and get into some preseason games, then it'll start separating itself a little bit," Wannstedt said. "But it's competitive."
 
Page, though undersized at 5 feet 10 and 180 pounds, has a knack for returning. It's a skill that goes beyond physical ability.
 
"I think you have to be fearless back there," Page said. "You have guys running down who are probably two times as big as you trying to hit you. You just have to be able to move and be able to read body momentum."
 

NEW ADDITION: The team took advantage of relaxed NFL rules that allowed clubs to conduct tryouts with players during minicamps, signing former third-round pick Derek Hagan.
 
Hagan, who joined the team in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, is a receiver who spent time on the Raiders roster last season, catching 20 passes for 259 yards. The 28-year-old is joining his fifth team since entering the league with the Dolphins in 2006. His best NFL season was in 2007, when he caught 27 passes for 373 yards for Miami.
 
The decision by Steve Smith to retire last month created a potential opportunity for another veteran receiver. Like they were with Smith, the Bucs likely are interested in determining what Hagan has left.
 
Even before the addition of Hagan, the team anticipated an intense competition for the backups receiver spots. After starters Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, the team will watch Kevin Ogletree, Tiquan Underwood, Chris Owusu, Page, David Douglas and others fighting for precious few spots.
 
Five receivers were kept when the team made its final cuts last season.

zsmith22

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#1 : June 24, 2013, 11:50:04 AM

I really like this kid as a punt returner, similar to what roscoe Parrish did last season.

ufcguy32

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#2 : June 24, 2013, 11:59:30 AM

lets hope he is nothing like parrish. what a waste of a position. if you saw him in person and watched it you would see how terrible our punt return was

GameTime

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#3 : June 24, 2013, 12:09:12 PM

lets hope he is nothing like parrish. what a waste of a position. if you saw him in person and watched it you would see how terrible our punt return was
he actually compared pretty decent to the rest of the league.

\"Lets put the O back in Country\"

The Anti-Java

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#4 : June 24, 2013, 03:59:43 PM

Our special teams are nothing to get excited about right now.  But with Wannstadt, and the possibility of Demps coming in, there is hope.  Goldson plays a lot of special teams too. The Niners ran a few fake punts with him.  Hopefully the ST's  will be much improved, that was a concern of Schiano over the offseason. 


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Naismith

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#5 : June 24, 2013, 05:09:15 PM

he actually compared pretty decent to the rest of the league.

Wow, just looked that up. He was 12th overall in terms of average. I would have never guessed that.

There\'s a very real chance the Bucs waive [Revis] before next season. At the very least, it will be a discussion worth having.

captainjimbo

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#6 : June 24, 2013, 06:53:21 PM

Who needs Demps when we have Page.

VinBucFan

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#7 : June 24, 2013, 07:31:30 PM

well at least Page has a helmet on

NotDeadYet

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#8 : June 25, 2013, 03:41:19 PM

    Before we got Parrish, we were having trouble just fielding a punt; at least Parrish could still do that... in his day he was among the best. By the time we got him, he was way past his prime.  8)

GameTime

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#9 : June 25, 2013, 04:01:25 PM

    Before we got Parrish, we were having trouble just fielding a punt; at least Parrish could still do that... in his day he was among the best. By the time we got him, he was way past his prime.  8)
and yet he was still reliable and better than league average.

\"Lets put the O back in Country\"

NotDeadYet

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#10 : June 25, 2013, 11:39:07 PM

    Yep, but we haven't re-signed him, and went out of our way to bring in beaucoup PR's and KR's. Apparently Schiano wants more...

youngone

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#11 : June 25, 2013, 11:43:00 PM

Don't we have DJ Monroe? He was pretty good returning kicks at Texas.

And Braden Smith can be an option there.

VinBucFan

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#12 : June 25, 2013, 11:45:46 PM

we need options
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