Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have their eye on blocking punts, despite the risks presented by an aggressive stance.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are open about how much effort they put into blocking punts, reports the Tampa Bay Times. Dekoda Watson blocked one against the San Diego Chargers in Week 10, and Adam Hayward scooped it up for a 29-yard touchdown run. That's exactly what they're going for, said Hayward:
"We really go after punt blocks. And other teams know it. It's not a secret."
The aggression on display on punts fits well with head coach Greg Schiano, who called the effort "part of who we are," and "an extension of our defense." The players are taking note. Watson noted the psychological effect blocking a punt has on another team, and credited the coaching staff:
"That's something he wants to [instill] in us and show through us. Coach Schiano is just doing his thing. And just because it's special teams doesn't mean we have to lay down. No, that's a part of the game. We can be aggressive there, too. It definitely can make or break a game."
That aggression can be costly, like when Hayward was called for roughing the kicker and fined $7,875 by the league. It can also leave opposing gunners unblocked, which makes things rough on the return man if the kick isn't blocked. So far the Bucs have found the cost/benefit comes up in favor of going after the punter, and that doesn't look to change anytime soon.