Though special teams is an often-overlooked facet of the game, its importance can’t be understated. We as Chiefs fans know how important special teams were in 2003, when we watched Dante Hall set the world on fire as the primary punt and kick returner. Nothing can change a team’s momentum like pinning an opponent inside their own five with a well-placed punt, or taking a kickoff to the house for six. With a new coordinator calling the shots, we don’t quite know what to expect from the Chief’s special teams unit, but here are some things you should expect to see on Sunday when the Chiefs take on the Jaguars in Week 1:
A Well-Coached Unit
Andy Reid has put together quite the staff. In addition to coordinators Doug Pederson and Bob Sutton, Reid hired former Vikings head coach Brad Childress as “Spread Game Analyst,” and convinced Chris Ault – the inventor of the Pistol Offense – to sign on as a consultant. Reid’s best hire, however, may very well have been his Special Teams coach, Dave Toub. Toub held the same position for the Chicago Bears from 2006-2012 (9 seasons). According to Football Outsiders, Toub’s units ranked first in the NFL 4 times. Additionally, his units ranked in the top 5 for six of those years, and in the top 15 in eight of his nine years in Chicago. We may not know much yet about the special teams, but you can bet that this unit will be well-coached.
A Solid Kick Returner
Quintin Demps won the starting kick return job, and at first glance it was a mild surprise. After all, Knile Davis did a very good job returning kicks in the preseason, and Dexter McCluster was listed as the starting returner until very recently. But Demps may have had this job all along. As a rookie in Philadelphia, Demps was the main kick returner for Andy Reid’s Eagles. He ended that season with 52 returns, 1,314 yards, a 25.3 average, 33 returns over 20 yards, and 1 TD. To put that in perspective, Devin Hester’s best season returning kicks was in 2007, where he returned 43 kicks for 934 yards, a 21.7 average, 20 returns over 20 yards, and 2 TDs. I’m not saying Demps is better than Devin Hester, but I am saying that he’s more than capable of being a threat as a returner. Combine that with a well-blocked scheme, and we could see some big things in the return game on Sunday.
A Punter in his Prime
Dustin Colquitt is the man. Period. Last year Colquitt set a team record with 42 punts inside the 20 yard line, was the AFC starter in the Pro Bowl, and averaged 45.89 yards per punt. Call me crazy, but I see Colquitt having an even better season this year. What does that mean for the Chiefs? Simple. It means winning the field position battle. Now that the Chiefs have an offense capable of getting a first down, Dustin becomes even more of a weapon. I expect Colquitt to be a weapon on Sunday, and expect the Jags to be playing with a long field all afternoon. In fact, Toub spoke about his kickers and specifically Colquitt, per a press release from Chiefs Communications:
“The punt coverage has been good. I mean, we have the best punter in the league. The kicker and the punter, they make the coverage units. When you have those two guys, you’re going to be pretty good.”
Addicts, chime in. What do you expect from Kansas City’s special teams on Sunday?