The Kansas City Chiefs haven’t had a consistent threat in the return game since trading Dante Hall in 2007. After drafting both Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas high in April’s draft, the team hopes that one or both will finally be a part of the answer in the return game.
“I haven’t done it in a while, but coming out here doing it every day is making me more comfortable in each phase,” McCluster said. “I want to make sure I’m ready for either one.
“It’s been natural for me. Coach kind of pulled it away from me in college, but right now they’re giving me the opportunity. If you’ve got it, you’ve got it.
“Punt return is more exciting. You get the ball and you have to use your instincts right away. With kickoff returns, you have time to analyze the field and set up your blocks and make a play.”
Meanwhile, Arenas was used extensively as a returner at Alabama. He scored seven touchdowns as a punt returner in college.
While the selection of Arenas fills a need for the Chiefs on defense, his return ability was a big reason they grabbed him in the second round.
“They told me that’s part of what they wanted me for,” he said.
During today’s scrimmage, McCluster struggled during special teams work when he muffed two straight punts from Dustin Colquitt. To be fair, Colquitt’s punts are known to be difficult to catch which is something to keep in mind as McCluster tries to get comfortable with returning kicks again.
With that being said, McCluster has received more “oohs” and “aahs” during training camp, but Arenas has the pedigree. You don’t set the SEC record for career punt return touchdowns by accident. His instincts on returns (kick, punt, INT) is something you can’t teach and should give him a head start in the race to find the Chiefs primary kick returner.
Yesterday I wondered if the player handling the most returns ends up being the one with the least amount of snaps on offense or defense. Also, could McCluster and Arenas turn the live portion of special teams practice into must see football.