FAB 4. Bucs’ Critical Camp Questions: Special Teams

Our Bucs’ Critical Camp Questions wraps up with a quick look at Tampa Bay’s special teams. Let me know what you think of these 20 Critical Camp Questions below in the article commenting. Have any additional questions you would like me to answer? Ask them in the article comments section and I’ll get to them over the weekend.

19. Will Gay Master The South End Zone At Ray-Jay?

That’s the plan. During his rookie season, kicker Matt Gay had connected on 84 percent of his field goals heading into the Week 17 season finale at home against Atlanta. Gay missed all three field goal attempts against the Falcons in the 28-22 loss, and all three were in the south end zone at Raymond James Stadium. As a result, Gay ended up hitting 77.1 percent of his field goals in 2019, including 10 games where he was perfect.

Bucs K Matt Gay
Bucs K Matt Gay – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

That south end zone has posed problems for Gay and other kickers due to the nature of the swirling winds in the part of the open air stadium. Gay had a notable 34-yard miss against the New York Giants in Week 4 that would have been the game-winner. That was Gay’s lone miss in that game, as he nailed 4-of-5 field goal attempts (80 percent) against the Giants.

After the 2019 season concluded, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said that Gay would spend plenty of time at Ray-Jay practicing kicking in the south end zone. Obviously the COVID-19 coronavirus negated those plans as the entire NFL offseason was cancelled. So I asked Arians on this week’s Zoom conference call how much work Gay would get at the stadium during training camp.

“At least two or three times a week,” Arians said. “We really don’t need lines over there; we just need a goal post. When it’s available, he will be there.”

Although the Bucs signed first-year kicker Elliot Fry as competition for Gay in training camp, Arians still has confidence in last year’s fifth-round pick.

“Yeah, I think he learned a lot of things about life off the field in the NFL and how it affects on-field performance,” Arians said. “Up [through] November he was having a heck of a year and then he had a bad December. We’ll find out if it was a rookie wall or if it’s a problem. If it’s a problem, we’ll fix it.”

Bucs K Matt Gay, P Bradley Pinion and LS Zach Triner
Bucs K Matt Gay, P Bradley Pinion and LS Zach Triner – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

What will help Gay is that his special teams battery, which consists of long snapper Zach Triner and holder Bradley Pinion, returns intact in 2020 so there will be continuity for the second-year kicker. Pinion, who serves as the team’s punter, will also continue to handle kick off duties, which will allow Gay to focus solely on field goals and extra points.

“I thought Bradley was an outstanding punter and great kickoff guy,” Arians said. “Last year he set a record for touchbacks, and our coverage units got better and better.”

20. Who Will Emerge As The Bucs’ Return Specialist?

Rookie Raymond Calais will beat out veteran T.J. Logan for the return duties, but it will be a close battle in camp. Logan emerged as the Bucs’ punt and kickoff returner last year, averaging a respectable 9.5 yards per punt return and 20.8 yards per kickoff return. He also saw a few snaps on offense, catching two passes for 13 yards, and rushing three times for 10 yards.

Bucs RB Raymond Calais
Bucs RB Raymond Calais – Photo courtesy of Louisiana-Lafayette

Tampa Bay wanted to give Logan some competition and drafted Calais, a multi-purpose weapon out of Louisiana-Lafayette, in the seventh round. The diminutive Calais, who is 5-foot-8, 188 pounds, ran a 4.42 at the NFL Scouting Combine. That speed, plus his 25.2-yard kick return average is what attracted the Bucs’ attention. Calais returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in addition to rushing for 1,845 yards and 15 touchdowns while averaging 7.6 yards per carry, and catching 17 passes for 145 yards and one TD in his Ragin’ Cajuns career.

“He’s one of those guys – he runs 4.33 and he’s a running back/receiver/kick returner – just one of those guys I love to play with,” Arians said. “Raymond is a very smaller version, but much faster version of David Johnson. He’s a heck of a little running back. I wouldn’t say he’s Tarik Cohen, but he’s kind of that style guy, that joystick type guy that can go out and play wide receiver and be a mismatch. We also have T.J. Logan, who got hurt last year. They’ll have a heck of a battle.”

Arians has been fond of Logan since his days in Arizona in 2018, and he can’t be counted out of the battle. The fact that he’s a veteran might give him an advantage since there won’t be any preseason games for Calais to acclimate himself to fielding punts and kickoffs at the NFL level.

“T.J. Logan was making great progress until he broke his thumb last year as a returner,” Arians said. “I thought he did a great job.”

Bucs ST coordinator Keith Armstrong
Bucs ST coordinator Keith Armstrong – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

What concerns Arians and Bucs special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong the most is not having a preseason to work out some of the kinks in the kicking game and on special teams. Without any offseason OTAs or mini-camps, the Bucs will have very limited time to work on special teams during training camp as they will need to spend the majority of reps on offensive and defensive work instead.

“That’s one of the areas I’m really concerned with missing practice because of the few reps you’re gonna get,” Arians said. “And having to open up with a team as good as the Saints are on special teams because that can decide the outcome of the game. … As injuries occur it affects your special teams more than anything, but I think our return game can get better.

Do you like this edition of SR’s Fab 5? Please donate to PewterReport.com today to help our business overcome the financial hardship due to COVID-19. One-time donations start as low as $10 – or you can donate monthly for as low as $3 per month. Thank you for your support! CLICK HERE TO DONATE

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Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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Horse

This season has so many “what if'” questions because of Covid-19; it’s all a wild guess as to how it plays out as to team performance. I have a lot of confidence in our coaching staff. Go Bucs!

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drdneast

Reynolds writes, “The rest of America has learned how to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic to reopen the economy with precaution.”  To which I reply, BS. I know Reynolds was a Trump supporter, but to continue to spout misleading propaganda without a reply is dangerous and extremely misleading. Florida is currently registering around 10.000 new case of Trumps Virus every day for the last month. At the same time we are averaging nearly 200 deaths a day from this alleged “hoax.” Florida is now ranked second to California in the nation with the number of Trump Virus cases despite being… Read more »

Dbuc63

To people who think independently, another words, people who are not part of a flock or herd, read your posts and lose 20 IQ points. You are laughable to anyone who actually exhibits critical, logical, and rational thinking. I went to speak at my daughter’s classroom (3rd Grade) this past January. It all came to be because her teacher and I discussed at parent/ teacher conference before last Christmas topics she wanted me to share with the children. It is one of the most amazing experiences in my lifetime and I’ve seen a lot. The questions afterwards were a delight… Read more »

Horse

President will be at the Pelican Golf Club in Belleair soon. I live on the 4th fairway and the helicopters have been buzzing around here since yesterday and today.
Tell Scott to come over here and he’ll be able to meet him. Oh, I forgot the fundraiser is $100,000 a person. Maybe some of you can chip in for Scott to meet him?
This Vietnam Veteran will never shake the hand of that Bone Spurs coward!

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drdneast

Thank you for your service Horse, especially during a very unpopular war. I voted for Dick Nixon in 1972, my first vote in a Presidential election and when the Watergate investigation began I was completely on his side. But by the time it ended, I had changed my mind and vowed to never give anyone my loyalty when they didn’t earn it and when it was proved they had acted in such a way to betray my trust. It was difficult for me to admit I was wrong for defending him at the onset, but I would rather admit that… Read more »

Horse

Don’t feel alone I voted for Nixon too because he said he was going to get us out of Viet Nam as quickly as possible. That took another additional 30,000 American lives to happen. Also voted for Reagan; just to let some know that I’m not Party affiliated with any. Belleair is loaded with Aristocrats and many had no empathy or understanding how people are suffering especially for someone who is not white. I grew up in this area; there are many good people living here, but there are also a lot of naive selfish people around too. Rate this… Read more »

matador

Another 30k dead Americans was a mortal sin back then. To Trump supporters today the loss of five times that many AMERICAN LIVES is something they wake up deciding to pretend doesn’t matter, is a deep state fake news conspiracy, etc. Until it happens to someone they care about or themselves, after which the hypocrisy playbook says to go radio silent. Pathetic.

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Dave

So because Florida sucks, and is run by a clown who couldn’t be bothered with preparing his state to handle covid properly? That means that Scott’s comment about the rest of the country learning to live with covid and opening up safely is false? I live in Massachusetts, and we’ve opened up the state just fine. Every store has mandatory mask rules, social distancing marks on the floor, no large gatherings, and we’ve had low cases, deaths, and hospitalizations since april. There are PLENTY of states that have opened up safely and are doing fine. At some point, life has… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Dave
drdneast

The rest of the country encompasses Florida. Sounds like MA. has some legitimate leaders but the Bucs don’t play or practice in Boston. We also don’t have mandatory mask rules or anyone who will go into a bar and shut it down when they are still serving liquor and not enforcing social distancing. Unemployment rates will continue to skyrocket not because we are doing the necessary things to quell the virus, but because we don’t have leaders who insist on the public doing the necessary things. Why is this such a difficult concept to grasp. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit… Read more »

Dave

So you pretty much proved my point. Florida is 1 out of 50 states. Florida handling covid poorly doesn’t mean the entire country can’t open up and do it safely. The state has nothing to do with the Bucs. The Rays play in Florida, and have had ZERO covid cases. The Panthers, Lightning, Heat, and Magic all play in Florida, and also have had ZERO covid cases. The Marlins, had their entire team get it, because they’re treating covid like a joke. Point is, the Bucs can play their games, even at home, and have a covid free season, if… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Dave
e

You’re absolutely right, drd. Scott likes stir the pot, but facts are facts. Florida has been the model for how NOT to beat back a pandemic. Sadly, the rest of the world, including out enemies, now how to beat us down without dropping a bomb or firing a bullet…Back to football, If the season is completed; there are going to be major roster adjustments because of covid and it’s anyone’s ballgame at this point. Certainly, the team that practices the most safety precautions will have an advantage over other teams as the season wears on. I can’t say that I… Read more »

drdneast

Dave, you better check the map of the US again, over half the states in the nation have seen a dramatic rise in Trumps Virus case.
You are right about the states that haven’t though. Many of those followed the guidelines of the CDC and are wearing masks.
And you are also right about a good deal has to do with personal responsibility.
By the way Horse, I voted for Reagan too.I also voted for Ford.

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Dave

This is why I can’t take you, Naples, BuccaneerNW, and a few others seriously. What about any of my post or any of this conversation, has to do with Trump. Yet you find a way to bring him up in EVERY single one of your posts. This isn’t a political conversation. It’s a conversation about how misguided your post is, by trying to claim that everything should be cancelled, and nothing should ever open up again because Florida can’t get their act together. And I’ve seen the stats. Not every increase is the same. You have a small handful of… Read more »

drdneast

You are entitled to your own opinion Buc63, but not to your own facts. Especially when they affect the health and welfare of others. Speaking of facts, I see you didn’t address any of the ones I cited, instead you resorted to a personal attack which is a favorite tactic among weak minded individuals without a platform to work from. As far as speaking to third graders, even a third grader with a basic limited understanding of science would follow the guidelines of medical professionals who have a vast knowledge in the field rather than an idiot who suggests they… Read more »

BigSombrero

It’s the same situation for all teams. The Bucs are a veteran team with Brady at the front.

There are no excuses why this team can’t be ready and beat New Orleans week 1.

I’ve got my popcorn ready.

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surferdudes

Horse, you didn’t want to play a round of golf with him? Don’t blame you, he cheats! Thanks for your service Horse. If your daddy was rich, you could’ve danced away the war at studio 54 like commander and chief bone spur! To bad Scott can’t see the man for what he really is. The antichrist!

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matador

Nailed it. Draft dodger. Racist. Congenital liar. Fake Christian. Cheated on his wife, well one of them anyway, with a porn star right after his son was born. Then bribed her to stay quiet. Likely a tax fraud. Clearly a fraud in business with multiple business bankruptcies leaving others holding the bag. At least he has the support of people like DucheBag63 and Scott to cling to.

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Last edited 2 months ago by matador
76bucsfan46

Just wanted to thank you guy’s for ruining our football conversation’s with your politics.

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Naplesfan

There is nothing that is not political when the politician in chief decided to treat a worldwide pandemic as a political event and therefore refused to do his job to protect America and as a result ruined all of our lives and our economy and killed off hundreds of thousands and gave hundreds of thousands more permanent organ damage that they will never recover from.

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scubog

Once again, I awake, but not sure if that qualifies as being “woke” early on Saturday to read the Fab 4 plus self-pimping. I enjoyed the article, but sadly, one little remark about COVID-19 and that opens the lid of the cesspool for you people so intent on spewing your political views instead of your thoughts about the football team you profess to love.

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Dave

It’ll never end. I said this a few weeks ago, and I’ll say it again. PR is every bit as responsible for the constant political posts. Because they throw the bait. In their line of work, they’d rather 50 comments be about political bs, than have 10 comments be 100% about football. It’s sad. They throw in covid talk or questions in almost every single article. But the political bs apparently will never go away from this site. It got old 3 months ago. Like you, I’m just tired of it. Talk football or don’t talk. If you want to… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Dave
Naplesfan

What you call “spewing” is what normal people call serious discussion of live altering events and policies that caused them to be literally thousands of times worse and more harmful than was ever necessary You are welcome to keep living in your Trumplican bubble of unreality. More than likey you are old and retired and collecting a pension and Social Security so you don’t need to worry about losing your job and your home and many tens of millions of Americans are forced to do now because of political malpractice that you preferto ignore. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00… Read more »

scubog

You’ve never read anything regarding my political views. I don’t care what you politically focused people think. I just want to discuss football on this forum.

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Horse

scubog, I usually like your comments, but you live in a different bubble than me. Scott lives in your bubble too and see nothing wrong about his world. i have much concern we are heading in the direction of a police state and dictatorship. I am concerned when the head of sheriff departments forget there purpose. We all want law & order and to continually to promote the fear otherwise for political reasons is dangerous for our democracy. Many of us are no longer going to be silent! Scott might take me off this site as I have no intentions… Read more »

scubog

Me writing that I don’t want this to be used as a political forum has nothing to do with my own politics. Don’t know what “bubble” you think I’m in. Probably similar to yours. I even go to work every day right in your neighborhood there in Belleair.

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Naplesfan

Scott still cheerleading for the COVID-deniers, all of them being Trumplican reality deniers. If the nation is learning to live with COVID, it is also learning to die with COVID. Every day this week Florida broke its all time death record. I live in southwest Florida, which is the Trumpiest part of the state (Trump by 26 points in 2016). Yesterday, I went to my local favorite pizza parlour/Italian restaurant to pick up our usual takeout order. Since COVID I have refused to dine in at any restauraunt. I wore a mask, and 100% of the restaurant employees were masked.… Read more »

Horse

The same is still going on in this area too. I went to Verizon Wednesday and was shocked to see some customers not wearing a mask. I said something to the employee who was helping me about it, and he just shrugged his shoulders. I will no longer go to Verizon on the corner of East Bay and Belcher in Largo again. I was wearing a real certified N95 mask too, but it’s still not right for people who don’t wear masks think it’s okay for them to spread the virus unknowingly. Yes Scubog, even on this sight, this has… Read more »

scubog

I have three Bucs masks that I wear when I’m out.

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matador

Well said Naples.
If you support a racist, or play a role in enabling him, then you too are a racist. If you fail to take precautions and help spread the virus, you too have the blood of dead Americans on your hands, whether or not you have the guts to acknowledge it. If you don’t care about that, go the heck to Mother Freaking Russia.

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