Countdown to Cannons: Special Teams Boost

With 26 days to go, we countdown the days until the Bucs' 1st preseason game, and discuss a different Bucs player at length every day.

While the Buccaneers have had a couple reliable return men during their nearly 40 years of existence, rarely have they had a legitimate threat returning kicks. The hope is that 6th round pick Kaelin Clay becomes that very soon.

"With Kaelin Clay, he was a guy that we targeted early," Bucs GM Jason Licht stated immediately after drafting Clay. "We were hoping to get him right about where we did, so it worked out for us. Another fast, explosive guy, (he’s) got a great background in terms of his speed and his production. He was I think third place in California coming out of high school in the 100-meter (dash). Out there, they have fast guys, so that’s pretty fast. Right now, it’s his job to lose, combo punt/kickoff returner. He’s got a little value on offense as well."

Saying that the return job was Clay's to lose right after selecting him shows how high the Bucs are on their new speedster.

In 2014, Clay averaged 15 yards per punt return and 25 yards per kickoff return, while returning a total of 4 kicks for touchdowns.

“It helps our offense, it helps our defense, it helps our entire team," Licht said. "He’s going to be a fun guy to watch here in training camp and OTAs. I think he’s a guy that you’ve got a chance every time he gets it in his hands.”

Lovie Smith had arguably the best return man in history while with the Bears. While no one is expecting Kaelin Clay to be the next Devin Hester, if he is able to add splash plays within the course of a game, the Bucs will have a much better shot at a respectable record in 2015 and beyond.

27 Days: No More Gilkey Please

28 Days: Sims City

29 Days: Johnson's Goodbye?

30 Days: Melton's Impact

31 Days: Murray's Big Leg

32 Days: Bell Brings Speed to Bucs Offense

33 Days: Glennon in His Proper Role

34 Days: Murphy Bonding with Young Bucs

35 Days: Masifilo Will to Do Anything to Stay

36 Days: More Focus on Fatinikun

37 Days: Verner's Quiet But Productive

38 Days: Big Hitting Swearinger

39 Days: Stocker Emerges as Top Blocker

40 Days: The Ambassador of Kwon

41 Days: Competition for Koenen

42 Days: Kadeem Edwards' Growth is Key

43 Days: Vincent Jackson's Importance

44 Days: Jacquies is Underrated

45 Days: McDonald Believes Bucs D is Close

46 Days: Questions on the Blindside

47 Days: Carter Is the Defense's Glue

48 Days: Tandy's Versatility Keeps Him Around

49 Days: Gholston's Year to Reach Potential

50 Days: Conte Brings Experience to Bucs Defense

51 Days: James in Short Yardage

52 Days: Mike Jenkins' Return from Injury

53 Days: Logan Mankins' Impact

54 Days: Lavonte David's a Star


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