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Who will return punts?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by bucky, May 23, 2006.

  1. bucky

    bucky 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    The Pats seem to have a hole at punt returner right now. Granted, it's not a major hole, but sometimes a big punt retrun (not necessarily for a TD) can change a game. It's been a number of years since the Pats had a really dangerous punt returner. Tim Dwight did a nice job last year, but he's gone. So who will take over? Here are the candidates:

    Troy Brown - it would be a shame if the muffed punt @ Denver is the last return of Troy's career. He's still the smartest and most surehanded and returner on the team and I think he'll get the call when the team has to field a punt inside its own 20. But he really has no explosiveness to break any return more than 10 yards and would be below average as a full time PR.

    Kevin Faulk - Faulk returned 20 punts in 2004 averaging 6.7 yards per return with a long of 16 yards. Not exactly what the team needs.

    Willie Andrews - probably the most likely candidate. But his college stats aren't overly imressive as he never averaged more than 10 yards per return against less than top notch competition. As a kickoff returner, Andrews is probably behind Bethel, Hobbs and Maroney on the depth chart and the odds seem to be stacked against him at DB. So if he doesn't show something in other parts of the game, it's hard to imagine the Pats keeping him just for PR.

    Deion Branch - Branch could probably do it, but for some reason he has never really won the job and I doubt BB would put him out there now that he's the only proven WR on the roster.

    Bethel Johnson - has returned 6 punts in his 3 years here. You would think he can do the job, but the coaching staff has been losing confidence in him.

    Hobbs/Maroney/Chad Johnson - All 3 should be in the mix as KR, but I don't know if any of them have ever returned punts.


    As far as I can see, that's the full list of candidates. Am I missing someone? As much as I'd like to see Bethel or Andrews win both the KR and PR roles, it seems just as likely to me that neither guy makes the team and Troy Brown will be our PR in 2006.
     
  2. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't like any of those choices unless Andrews shows something. Like you said, Troy lacks explosiveness now - although he looked a little quicker in 2005 than 2004 to me. No way on Branch, I'm fine with starters on ST but he's too frail for both roles IMO - not to mention the muff he had on opening night vs. Indy in 2004. This will be a weakness of the team in 2006 - or, best case, we'll be league average.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2005
  3. AllabouttheVinces

    AllabouttheVinces Practice Squad Player

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    This should be one of the key unknowns for the Pats throughout TC and pre-season. Mike Reiss touched on this in his blog when he did a Q&A with BB during the rookie minicamp:

    How many of these guys can catch punts?
    "That's a good question. We're probably looking at about a dozen of them out there today. How many would be able to do it at this level? That's one of the things that we try to take a look at...."


    The way I see it, any of these guys need to prove they are better than Troy. Look for Hobbs and Bethel to get a shot. If Andrews makes the team, this may be a big reason.
     
  4. Alk

    Alk In the Starting Line-Up

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    Didn't Bethel break a punt return for a td that was called back for a completely unnecessary holding call? I think if he has worked on his hands like he says, he might be the most likely candidate.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2006
  5. drewdagreat

    drewdagreat On the Game Day Roster

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    I wish we did have Chad Johnson, but it's Jackson. And Jackson and Hobbs have returned kicks and punts in college and both were pretty damn good.
     
  6. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I had forgotten about that "almost" PR TD.

    But IMO that helps insure that BJ has a pretty good shot at staying on the roster. With Dwight gone there is no one to handle the PR duties. Unlike many of you who are predicting his demise, he has shown KOR and "almost " PR threats. He may not have caught many passes, but his deep speed must be respected, and he does snag a long pass every once in a whiile. Who knows, if he ensures he stays around for those reasons, he might still have the opportunity to develop as a legitimate WR. There is no doubt he has the size, hands and athletic talent to do so, if he ever "gets it".
     
  7. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I returned punts for a year or two in college. To do that job, you've got to have 'nads of steel, hands like sticky tack, feet like Fred Ataire, a body like Gumby, and the luck of the Irish.
    The rules are complicated.
    Rule #1. Get to the outside, the sideline is your friend. The middle of the field will shorten your life expectancy and could get you killed.
    Rule #2. Chances for "Big Returns" are usually found by starting up the middle and then breaking it to the sideline. Coach says take one for the team, go up the middle first.

    Ideally I'd love to see a guy like Poteat win the job. He's the little guy that is entirely self made and winning the PR job, would secure him a spot on the roster. I like rooting for the under dog (unless the under dog is playing against the Pats, wears pinstripes, or dresses in red,white and blue with a big CH on the jersey front.)
     
  8. patsox23

    patsox23 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    If I'm Bethel Johnson, I would work my tail off to learn how to successfully, dependably return punts. If he can be a 5th WR and return kicks AND punts ably, he'll have eked out a spot on the 53, no matter how poorly he runs routes.
     
  9. shakadave

    shakadave In the Starting Line-Up

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    Tim Dwight was the best we've had in years. I was surprised to see him go.
     
  10. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    Returning punts is much harder than returning kicks. First you need to field it and use good judgement. Brown's by far the best.

    Next you need a real quick move. Troy's lacking in that these days.

    Seems like it's Andrews or Bethel. I don't see punt returns on Hobbs resume.

    I saw Branch look awful trying to field a punt.

    This is a sure fire way to make the team.
     
  11. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I keep telling you guys - its Monty Biesel.

    He said himself he's a PR guy.
     
  12. CrazyDave

    CrazyDave In the Starting Line-Up

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    He's Puerto Rican?
     
  13. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Public Relations.
     
  14. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I think you're mistaken... he said he was a PR guy during a locker room outburst - he was clearly frustrated that he wasn't being allowed to return punts - there's no way a Public Relations guy would make such a bad public relations decision and then boast of being a Public Relations guy

    Now given his temper I might be inclined to go along with the theory that he's Puerto Rican, as my Rican friends DO have quite a temper sometimes, but there is NO way he's a Public Relations guy
     
  15. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    He just said he's a PR guy, not that he's a good PR guy. Regardless, since we remember he said it, he'd have done his job.
     
  16. rookBoston

    rookBoston 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    I'll bet that wee Willie Andrews wins the job.
     
  17. rookBoston

    rookBoston 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Jakari Wallace maybe deserves some attention, too, as a Puerto Rican.
     
  18. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    BAM Childress anyone?!?!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2005
  19. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Matt Light.

    As also rans:
    - Willie Andrews
    - Vernell Brown
    - Zuriel Smith (if his NFLE knee injury isn't too bad)
    - Eric Davis
     
  20. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Me too. And he was a more than useful WR.

    Ochmed describes the requirements very well. But, amazingly, people with those characteristics come through in the late rounds of the draft or as UDFAs, probably because the requirements don't include size.

    I'm surprised that Bucky didn't mention Vernell Brown:

    Vernell Brown
    Played in 45 games, with 11 starts…Signed as a defensive back out of high school but began his career at wide receiver and returned to cornerback during the 2003 season…Was part of the wide receiver rotation and returned punts in 2002 as a freshman…Had seven career carries for 31 yards (4.4 avg) and also caught six passes for 28 yards (4.7 avg)…Had 59 career punt returns for 489 yards (8.3 avg).

    http://www.patriots.com/team/index.cfm?ac=playerbio&bio=32029
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2006

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