The Buccaneers kickoff return unit got caught with its pants down when Washington successfully executed its third-quarter onside kick and head coach Lovie Smith said as much Monday afternoon.

“We didn’t line up properly on that play,” Smith said. “I’ll just go on that. Didn’t execute it the right way. That starts with us as coaches. We didn’t have the guys lined up in the right position on that play. Kind of simple as that.”

onsidesTampa Bay’s front five on its return unit were lined up in a typical formation for a team expecting a normal kickoff. D.J. Swearinger and Jude Adjei-Barimah were at the 50 on the edges, Bruce Carter and Jeremiah George were a yard back on the Bucs 49 on the hash marks and Danny Lansanah and Howard Jones were back at the Bucs 45.

While NFL rules dictate that return team players can line up as close as 10 yards away from the spot of a kickoff, meaning they can be at the opposing team’s 45, most only press up when they’re expecting an onside kick. Being back a few more yards allows them to run back and get in position to set up their blocking scheme on the return.

But as displayed yesterday, teams can go for unconventional onside kicks whenever they please and front-line special teams players must be cognizant of that at all times. The Bucs didn’t appear to be, were slow to react to Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins’ well-struck attempt and got burned.

Hopkins went for the gap between Carter and Adjei-Barimah where Lansanah was 20 yards off. By the time the first Redskins player reached the ball, the closest Buc, Adjei-Barimah, was still three yards away.

Smith wouldn’t go into detail Monday, but said the Bucs were out of position. “We didn’t have the guys lined up right. I don’t know what else to tell you. There’s a strategy behind it. You can look at it and see we weren’t lined up right on that play.”

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About the Author: Eric Horchy

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revfish
revfish
5 years ago

The real problem is that there’s no reason to go back…people only run back about ten percent of kickoffs anyway!

Garv
Garv
5 years ago

Again, with two weeks to get ready for this game the Buccaneers, St. Lovie’s Buccaneers were totally unprepared. Hell, his team was unprepared after having MONTHS to prepare for the Titans. Totally unacceptable but part of the crap fans have to be fed week after week after week. That is all, nice as I can be.

Horse
Horse
5 years ago

If the football had bounced the way it was suppose to do, Lansanah would have recovered it, but it went left instead of right. Luck was the main player in the kick. I wonder what the percentage are for an Onside Kick after coming from 24-0 to 24-14 and over 8 minutes left in the 3rd quarter? Pretty gutsy and I give Gruden codo’s. Go Bucs!

Uncle Stan
Uncle Stan
Reply to  Horse
5 years ago

Nothing gutsy about it. The Redskins used it last week (reported elsewhere on here) so we should have been prepared.
Lovie said they were out of alignment yet they lined up the same as they have been lining up (See thread and pics showing it from Greg Auman on here.)
IF B S was worth any money Lovie would be richer richer he already is.

Pick6
Pick6
5 years ago

bucs continue to be masters of improbable failures. in addition to handing the kirk “bench-him-for-colt-mccoy” cousins-led redskins the biggest comeback in their nearly 100 year history, they also coughed up the first successful onside kick of the NFL season. at some point it’s not luck. it is being put in position to lose games instead of being put in a position to win them.