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How Do You Explain The Late-Career Success for Steve Tasker on Offense?


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I was listening to OBD yesterday and started thinking about Steve Tasker’s career.

 

How do you explain his brief career resurgence as an offensive weapon during the 1995 and 1996 seasons?

 

At that time Tasker was a special teams who rarely played on offense.  So little that he never had double digits receptions.  He also was about 33 years old at that time and his best years physically were behind him.

 

Yet he became a solid contributor on that Bills as a kick returner, receiver and even an effective rusher on reverses.  While he was never a star, you can argue that he was the difference maker in a playoff win versus Miami.  
 

I know there is a story of Jim Kelly lobbying to use Tasker on offense, only to get shot down by Marv and Bruce DeHaven.  I was never sure if that was entirely true or just

and exaggeration.  
 

Either way, why do you think Tasker was had these blips after hardly ever playing offense in his previous 12 years in the NFL?

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Here’s an easy explanation…not enough footballs. Andre, Thurman, Lofton, McKellar, Beebe, Early, Metzelaars, etc

They gave him more opportunities on offense. Simple as that. 

By 1995 we had to use Tasker. Lofton and Beebe were gone. Reed only started 6 games. That left us with guys named Bill Brooks, Russel Copeland, Justin Armour, Lonnie Johnson, Tony Cline and Steve Task

2 minutes ago, Bills fan since 87 said:

He also had some huge plays in the 29-23 playoff win vs the Raiders after we went down 17-6 in 93.  Guy was just an all around warrior.

Right…and this was all after he spent more than a decade sitting out every offensive play

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Easy here guys.

 

#1 Steve Tasker was a pretty athletic dude and a decent receiver to boot

#2 Nickel corners in those days weren’t any good. 

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11 minutes ago, K-9 said:

They gave him more opportunities on offense. Simple as that. 

Yup.

If they had been willing to work outside the box and take a chance on it earlier, I think he'd have been an effective offensive player his entire career.

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I could understand DaHaven not liking Steve play regularly on O. It’s still possible-and personally think likely- Steve eventually becomes inshrined in Canton as a Special Teamer. Yes, we had ‘official’ WRs during his time that we’re ahead of him, but Steve seemed to always shine when called upon -even back in ‘90. 

Ill never forget that crazy weather game vs the Cardinals, when he caught his 1st TD. Team benches literally blew onto the field as a savage, early Winter storm blew through WNY.

 

The guy Still has a baby face!😆

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1 hour ago, JohnNord said:

I was listening to OBD yesterday and started thinking about Steve Tasker’s career.

 

How do you explain his brief career resurgence as an offensive weapon during the 1995 and 1996 seasons?

 

At that time Tasker was a special teams who rarely played on offense.  So little that he never had double digits receptions.  He also was about 33 years old at that time and his best years physically were behind him.

 

Yet he became a solid contributor on that Bills as a kick returner, receiver and even an effective rusher on reverses.  While he was never a star, you can argue that he was the difference maker in a playoff win versus Miami.  
 

I know there is a story of Jim Kelly lobbying to use Tasker on offense, only to get shot down by Marv and Bruce DeHaven.  I was never sure if that was entirely true or just

and exaggeration.  
 

Either way, why do you think Tasker was had these blips after hardly ever playing offense in his previous 12 years in the NFL?

 

 

Tasker has said that there simply wasn't enough time in the day to prepare for both STs and offense both. They had to pick one. And in that one room, whichever one it was, he had to work and prepare like crazy to perform at his best.

 

He was always capable of being a good WR, and probably a McKenzie type of gadget guy as well. But he was more valuable on STs.

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By 1995 we had to use Tasker. Lofton and Beebe were gone. Reed only started 6 games. That left us with guys named Bill Brooks, Russel Copeland, Justin Armour, Lonnie Johnson, Tony Cline and Steve Tasker.

 

We used him more because we had too.

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The guy had sneaky old man smarts and deceptive football speed, paired with can’t miss hands—just an all around good football player with a nose for the big hit and the end zone—exemplified so much of what I liked about the 90’s Bills. Oh, and he takes way too much crap from the Board for OBD—sure he may not be the most polished broadcaster, but he more than makes up for that with his football IQ and color commentary, imho. 

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Jim Kelly had been lobbying for Tasker to play WR more for a long time.  He ran great routes and had sure hands.  Kelly said, numerous times, no one in practice could cover him. 
 

I think back to SB XXV, Don Beebe was out and Al Edwards played in his place.   Edwards was mediocre and was a huge drop off.  I wish Tasker would have got more reps even back then, but it took several years for that to happen.  

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9 hours ago, Thurman#1 said:

 

 

Tasker has said that there simply wasn't enough time in the day to prepare for both STs and offense both. They had to pick one. And in that one room, whichever one it was, he had to work and prepare like crazy to perform at his best.

 

He was always capable of being a good WR, and probably a McKenzie type of gadget guy as well. But he was more valuable on STs.

I remember hearing the same, and if memory serves as I’m not looking it up, we lost Lofton,  Beebe left on 1995 for GB, so they needed WR’s.  So Tasker finally started getting time on offense from 95-97.  His predominant role was still ST, but I remember him going in on offense much more.

 

To the OP, John I didn’t listen today, but the guys are usually pretty receptive to answering questions on air especially if framed positively.  I think Brown is out so it’s Maddie and Steve.

 

If I have time or you can do it, one of us can wait on hold and call into the show.  My words would be something like “Steve, quick trip down memory lane.  I remember hearing in the early 90’s, we were stacked with Beebe, Andre, and Lofton and you were the best ST player ever, I’m guessing you had to focus so intently on ST, which probably made you so effective at ST. Then by 95, Lofton and Beebe were gone.  Was that a contributing reason to you getting much offensive playing time?  If so, I remember how well you did towards the end of you’re career and I was asking why didn’t we do this more earlier in the 93-4 at least after Lofton left the team.

 

it might be interesting to hear his response.  I think I know his answer, but it’s just so you have time to wait on hold today.

im not sure on. My part, but I’m interested on his take as well.

Edited by machine gun kelly
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2 hours ago, NoHuddleKelly12 said:

The guy had sneaky old man smarts and deceptive football speed, paired with can’t miss hands—just an all around good football player with a nose for the big hit and the end zone—exemplified so much of what I liked about the 90’s Bills. Oh, and he takes way too much crap from the Board for OBD—sure he may not be the most polished broadcaster, but he more than makes up for that with his football IQ and color commentary, imho. 


Agreed to what you and Bob wrote.  Beasley (forget the non football stuff for now) reminds me of in spot duty what Tasker when he had his chance.

 

As far as a commentator, I’m in the minority as I enjoy listening to him and believe he does have a high football IQ.  It’s hard to blame the hosts when Brown and him on their show are employees of the Bills aren’t they?  The other shows on WGR have more latitude I thought to be critical of the Bills when warranted.

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He was just a bit ahead of his time. He was probably never as quick as Welker or Edelman but he was quick enough to be a nightmare matchup.  The coaching staff didn't know what they had, because, let's be honest a 5 ft nothing slot WR was not a thing in the early 90's.  

And as others said, who are you going to take catches away from?  Remember the Bills offense was more about Thurman running than it was about Kelly throwing.  No way they were taking a TE off the field for a fifth WR and take away the run threat.  Reed did a lot of his damage underneath which and his attempts were not going to be less.  In 2021, Reed and Tasker would complement each other just liek Diggs and Beasley do now.  Both pairs can go across the middle and Diggs and Reed could run all the routes.  

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4 hours ago, Tuco said:

By 1995 we had to use Tasker. Lofton and Beebe were gone. Reed only started 6 games. That left us with guys named Bill Brooks, Russel Copeland, Justin Armour, Lonnie Johnson, Tony Cline and Steve Tasker.

 

We used him more because we had too.

Bingo. That’s my memory. Attrition and injuries forced it. 

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Different time, different philosophies. My guess is if he would have been playing over the last 10 years or so, in the right system, he could have been as productive as a Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Cole Beasley, etc. 

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