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Kansas City Chiefs Special Teams Coach Dave Toub isn’t just lining players up and telling them to get after it in the return game. He’s running a system, just like Andy Reid and Doug Pederson run a system on offense, and Bob Sutton runs a system on defense. He draws up plays, game-plans for his opponent, and tries to make something happen on special teams.
Take for instance Quintin Demps’ first return in the Week 3 matchup against Philadelphia. Demps had a nice return – that we all saw. However, what you may not have noticed was that Dexter McCluster was also lined up to receive the kick. What happened next was the result of design:
“Yeah, we had two returners in the game,” Toub said on Thursday. “We had Dexter (McCluster) in there as well. Down the road we’ll do that again. Dexter flared out to the left as a decoy, acted like he was going to catch the throw-back and they drew a couple guys out that way and that opened up the seam[…].”
This is a great peek into Toub’s mindset in coaching this special teams unit. He wants to get creative and give his playmakers as many chances to make plays as possible. Yes, I said playmakers. I say that because, though Demps has been the focal point on kick returns, he isn’t the only weapon Toub is interested in using. McCluster, and rookie running back Knile Davis are two additional tools in Toub’s toolbox. They just have to catch the ball. Both McCluster and Davis have dropped kicks on attempts. Toub, however, isn’t sweating it. When asked about Dexter’s drop against Philly, Toub told the media he hasn’t lost faith in no. 22.
“Dexter (McCluster), I have a lot of trust in Dexter. We had designed that return for him. That was a designed return that we had been working on for a few weeks. He was in there for that return and it was going to be a big one. He got anxious as well and put it on the ground, but I believe we’re over it. I really do. We talked about it and worked on it in practice. We feel like we have some other guys that can give us something different than (Quintin) Demps can bring to the table.”
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And Davis? Yep, we’ll be seeing him too.
“I still feel comfortable with [Davis]. He is very dangerous after the catch. We can’t be deterred because he put one on the ground. That would have been huge if we had lost that ball, but we still have a lot of confidence in him. He keeps working. He gets a lot of kickoffs in practice. He just needs more experience in the games. He got a little anxious and tried to take off a little bit and that’s usually when the ball goes on the ground, so we want to continue to get him in there when you can.”
I like the idea of using multiple return men, and getting creative in the return game. What I don’t like is returners not securing the ball before running with it. It’s just fundamental stuff, and shouldn’t be an issue for an NFL player.
Is Knile Davis suited for the return game? He’s shown that once he secures the football, he’s dangerous – but is it worth the risk? And what about DMC? Do you still have faith in the little guy?
Sound off below, Addicts!