Is Dexter McCluster The Chiefs Punt Returner?

We have seen plenty of highs and (mostly) lows for the Kansas City Chiefs over the last few years. Few of those highs were higher than Dexter McCluster’s punt return touchdown on national TV in the rain against the San Diego Chargers back in 2010.DexterMcClusterReturn

Seeing McCluster back on special teams in the rain on Monday instantly brought Chiefs fans back to that game.

Unfortunately for the Chiefs, they (McCluster individually and the return units as a whole) haven’t been able to recreate that magical moment. Quite the opposite, the Kansas City special teams have been anything but over the years.

Over the last two seasons, McCluster has returned eight punts to a paltry average of 8.9 yards. Even that number is inflated by a 22-yard return.

Certainly those sort of numbers wouldn’t inspire confidence in the new coaching staff that the offensive weapon could be the answer on punt returns… or would they?

Special teams coach Dave Toub told reporters after Monday’s practice about a talk he had about McCluster with head coach Andy Reid when he was hired.

“I told him that I thought Dexter is our best punt returner, looking at them all right now, and he (Reid) feels that Dexter will be our punt returner, if he is our best guy. He’s going to be the guy. Dexter is really buying into it and he wants to be that guy. We want to take advantage of that.”

Toub was talking specifically about the potential for McCluster to burn out, but Reid’s offense should spread the ball around enough that shouldn’t be a problem. Potential overuse aside, would McCluster be the right choice or will we just be disappointed again?

I wasn’t feeling good about McCluster’s chances of recapturing the role, but when someone like Toub endorses a guy, we would be silly not to pay attention. After working with one of the best punt returners the NFL has ever seen. That’s not to say we should expect Dex to turn into Devin Hester, but it should help ease any doubts about his ability to get the job done.

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