2007 Bucs Gradebook: Special Teams

Bucsblitz.com offers its analysis and review of the 2007 season with our analysis of the special teams for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including player grades, salary information and an outlook to 2008. It's a premium service from Bucsblitz.com


STATISTICS: 77 punts, 43.9-yard average, 37.2-yard net average, 10 touchbacks, 30 punts inside the 20.

ANALYSIS: Bidwell had a Pro Bowl level year, and if not for San Francisco punter Andy Lee's gaudy average, Bidwell might have had his second berth in Hawaii. He excelled at directional punting and became a great field position weapon late in the year. The punts he pinned inside the 20 were key to his success. Only three punters did that more than Bidwell.

OUTLOOK FOR 2008: He'll remain the punter and will count $1.195 million against the salary cap. He's worth it.

MATT BRYANT (placekicker)

STATISTICS: 34-of-34 on PATs, 28-of-33 on field goals, with a long of 48 yards.

ANALYSIS: Bryant was the difference in two games in 2007 and was consistent all season long. The only real debit was his 0-for-3 mark outside of 50 yards. After missing two field goals against Arizona, Bryant made 15 of his final 16 attempts. He never missed field goals in consecutive games.

OUTLOOK FOR 2008: Set to count $1.4 million against the salary cap, Bryant will be the incumbent kicker when training camp opens.

ANDREW ECONOMOS (Long snapper)

STATISTICS: The Bucs had one punt blocked in 2007, but that was not on Economos.

ANALYSIS: Economos was a steady snapper all season. He never sent one over the head of Bidwell and gave Bryant and Bidwell solid snaps to work with on field goals and extra points. His name rarely came up and that's a good thing for long snappers.

OUTLOOK FOR 2008: He isn't under contract, but the Bucs retain his rights. He'll likely get a new deal, probably for one year.

MARK JONES (Punt/kickoff returner, finished on IR)

STATISTICS: 10 kickoffs for a 28.6-yard average; 12 punts for an 11.9-yard average. Finished the season against Detroit on Oct. 21 after a patellar tendon injury to his knee.

ANALYSIS: Had Jones played the whole season at his statistical level he could have been a Pro Bowler. At the very least, he'd be in line for a nice, new contract. But the injury destroyed all of that. And the Bucs really missed him on punt returns.

OUTLOOK FOR 2008: Cloudy. He's a free agent but his injury could take up to a year to rehab. Jones may be left out in the cold until he's healthy.

TORRIE COX (Punt/kickoff returner, finished on IR)

STATISTICS: Had two kickoff returns for a 20.5-yard average before blowing out his knee against Jacksonville.

ANALYSIS: The former return star did nothing flashy in his short stint.

OUTLOOK FOR 2008: Once he rehabs his injury, he'll be a candidate for the kickoff return job.

MICHEAL SPURLOCK (Punt/kickoff returner)

STATISTICS: 16 kickoff returns for a 27.8-yard average, including a 90-yard return for a touchdown. He also returned four punts for a 7.5-yard average.

ANALYSIS: Spurlock showed nice speed and quickness for a former quarterback still learning to be a return man. His touchdown — the first in team history — came when Spurlock chose to go the opposite direction of his blocking. It showed he isn't afraid to make adjustments when a hole opens up. But the fact is he's still young and learning the position and there's little track record when it comes to his return prowess.

OUTLOOK FOR 2008: Spurlock is not under contract, but probably will be soon. The Bucs own his rights. But is he the right guy for the job? He'll have the entire offseason to prove to the Bucs that he is. Don't be surprised if they bring in a veteran to push Spurlock or take his place. The Bucs crave game-changing speed and ability on returns.


STATISTICS: The Bucs covered 38 punts and gave up 7.4 yards per return, ranking them seventh in the NFL.

ANALYSIS: The average punt return in the NFL in 2007 was 9.1 yards, so their punt coverage unit performed much better that it appeared at times. Maurice Stovall was a key figure on this unit, as his work as a gunner led to several key tackles at the point of reception. Bidwell's directional punting also make the coverage unit's job easier.

OUTLOOK FOR 2008: Since many of their top special teams contributor are under contract — as is special teams coach Richard Bisaccia — there should be little dropoff in 2008. This group should remain a Top 10 unit.


STATISTICS: Ranked 10th in the NFL, allowing an average starting position of the 26.6-yard line.

ANALYSIS: At one point this unit led the NFL in this category, but allowing Andre Davis' long return for a touchdown surely affected the field position average. Overall, this group was solid, with Maurice Stovall and Kalvin Pearson the point men. They forced opponents to start inside their 20-yard line 18 times, which was third best in the NFL.

OUTLOOK FOR 2008: Since many of their top special teams contributor are under contract — as is special teams coach Richard Bisaccia — there should be little dropoff in 2008. This group should remain a Top 10 unit.

Don't miss the other articles in this series:


Running backs.


Wide receivers.

Tight ends.

Offensive line.

Defensive ends.

Defensive tackles.



Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for Bucsblitz.com and the Charlotte (Fla.) Sun-Herald. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and his coverage of the Buccaneers has won numerous state and national awards.

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