Bucs excited about rookie punter Brent Bowden’s directional punt skills. Bowden who played collegiately at Virginia Tech, where they emphasize special teams finished with a career net average of 36.4 and a gross of 42.2 while downing 72 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Special team’s coordinator Rich Bisaccia told CBS Sports.com “Your gross gets you to the Pro Bowl. But your red zone and net gives you a chance to get to the Super Bowl. Guys that have gotten good at this have learned to dominate field position based on where we are on the field. If we’re backed up, you’d like to hit you a pretty good hit where we can play the field a little bit. But if you’re punting out of your own end zone, you’re not going to get all the steps you need to hit one of those.”
The mere fact that the team only has one punter in camp and he’s a rookie, is a testament to the organizations confidence level in Bowden’s abilities to handle the rigors of the NFL as a first year player. It helps that Bowden played for Frank Beamer, who is notorious for fielding standout special teams units. Bowden’s ability to dramatically change field position in games has many thinking he could, have a profound impact in determining how many wins the team is able to reach.
In Other News
With his job on the line, running back Derrick Ward guarantees great game. Ward didn’t live up to expectations last season after signing a four-year, $17 million contract as a free agent from the Giants. In his first season as a Buccaneer he rushed for 409 yards and a touchdown.
But after a disappointing showing against the Dolphins in which he rushed for 20 yards on 12 carries and two fumbles. Raheem Morris told the Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times “I was disappointed in his body language. That’s the mental demons you’ve got to fight as a player. Those are the things you’ve got to be ready to deal with. You’ve got to have a mentally tough attitude. I’ve got to be a mentally tough coach. I didn’t have time to go cry about the fumbles. It was my job to try to stop them and get the ball back for our offense and give them another opportunity.”
Morris who previously stated he wouldn’t through Ward under the bus, is clearly sending the veteran running back a message. Morris who has continually stated he want’s mentally tough players. Is clearly telling it like it is. By questioning Ward’s mental toughness. Especially after Ward tried using the field conditions as an excuse. “The field position we were in when I was in was just terrible,” Ward said. “The mud was up to my ankles.”