The Kansas City Chiefs have been searching for a new primary return specialist since 2007, hoping to have the consistency that Tamarick Vanover and Dante Hall delivered during their time as dominant returners. After two preseason games, the Chiefs have already seen multiple players make an impact on special teams.
Special teams coordinator Dave Toub, who coached Devin Hester since he entered the league in 2006, has to be happy with the production he’s seeing from his return specialists.
In Week 1 of the preseason against the New Orleans Saints, rookie running back Knile Davis used his speed and ran 79 yards to bring the Chiefs to New Orleans’ 27-yard line, which translated into a field goal.
The following week against the San Francisco 49ers, safety Quintin Demps gave the Chiefs an early 7-3 lead with a 104-yard kick return touchdown. Wide receiver Devon Wylie showed off his speed early in the second half with a 52-yard punt return, which allowed the offense to start at San Francisco’s 39-yard line.
The Chiefs also have Dexter McCluster on board as a candidate to return punts and kickoffs and had flashes of greatness during his rookie season in 2010. Demps, who took a kick return back for a touchdown during his rookie season with the Philadelphia Eagles, finished fourth in 2008 in kick return yards with 1,314.
Kansas City is leading all teams this preseason for most kick return yards with 340 and most punt return yards with 167. While these numbers do come in the preseason, players who are likely to make the 53-man roster create the league-leading production on special teams.
While the Chiefs did trade away their primary punt returner and contributor on kickoffs in Javier Arenas, they have other players stepping up this preseason and hoping to carry their impact over to the regular season.
With McCluster, Demps, Davis and Wylie all proving that they can be the main return man on special teams, Toub has to make a tough decision as to who his primary punt returner and kickoff returner will be, which could be the same person or two different players.
Toub has two more games before he has to figure out who he wants as his primary returner for punts and kickoffs. For now, there is a lot of optimism that the Chiefs could get some attention on special teams this year.