All three Kansas City Chiefs coordinators spoke to reporters on a Zoom call Tuesday and conducted their weekly chat with the media due to the Thanksgiving holiday a few days early.
Last week, special teams coordinator Dave Toub told us new wide receiver Kadarius Toney would start returning Kahne in place of rookie wideout Skyy Moore — but that only lasted until Toney suffered a hamstring injury over the weekend Football on Sunday night Matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. Moore showed up for a couple of punt returns after Toney left the game.
Toub said the team is again considering using rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie – who missed six games with a hamstring injury of his own – to return punts.
“There’s a lot of thought going into this,” Toub confirmed. “He’s a lot closer than he is now [was] last week. We bring it back in during training – and get it ready for use. He’s not far away.”
Toub said that while Moore was the “next guy” after Toney’s injury, there’s another wide receiver who could fill the role.
“Justin Watson [is] another guy who can do that,” Toub noted. “We’re comfortable with some of the guys we have – McDuffie is definitely one of them – but we need to bring him up to speed and get him ready.”
However, using McDuffie for returns introduces an additional set of problems.
“He’s also a corner on punt returns,” Toub said. “He starts there for us now [because] I took [L’Jarius] Forget that. Sneed did a great job for us. Now McDuffie’s in there [as] the left starting corner at punt returns.
“So if you knock him out and use him for a punt return, you’ve got to find someone on the corner. So for now, he’s going to be that guy — but he’s also going to be a backup punt returner.
Toub also appeared eager to set the record straight over rookie running back Isiah Pacheco, who stirred controversy by scoring a break-off right off the touchline during Sunday’s game.
“There were three things he could have [done]’ Toub explained, ‘and one of them was bad. He knows it; he knew immediately.”
As a result, Kansas City launched its next drive at its own 6-yard line. But his coach still appreciates what the rookie running back brings to kickoff returns.
“I want him to chase every ball,” Toub said of Pacheco. “He does. He sped after it at 100 miles an hour. He just sort of lost track of where he was on the field.
Toub said Pacheco had noticed how close he was to the touchline just before he made the catch – but then mistakenly pretended he was trying to catch a pass inside the bounds rather than a break-off near the touchline to place.
“Once he noticed it, he tried to tap his toes and get it down,” Toub said, “but that’s really not what you want to do in this situation.”
“He has to sprint there – but recognize where he is. He could have put one foot out, left one foot on the field, touched the ball, and we could have gotten the ball at 40 – or just let the ball go out because I think that’s where it went.”
Toub said the rookie was embarrassed by the play – but would benefit from the experience.
“Tell you what,” Toub explained. “He will learn from it. These young players will learn from those mistakes – and not make the same mistake twice. [Pacheco’s] already done a lot of good for us. That was just a negative game.”
Kansas City’s young special teams players were a common topic of conversation during the 2022 season, which saw several issues during the special teams snaps. But while it’s hard to spot, Toub insists his young players keep improving.
“You don’t necessarily see it on the field,” he noted. “[But] I see it on tape. I see different things happening [like] the blocking [and] the little details that pop up — maybe in big returns, stuff like that — that fans don’t see.
“I think we’re making good progress. We have a lot of young people. We’re improving. We improve every day, every game and every training session. We just have to keep infecting.”
If Toney and Hardman aren’t available, who would you like to see return punts for the Chiefs?
CB Trent McDuffie
WR Justin Watson
0 votes in total