TE Tony Moeaki is fresh off being awarded Rookie of the Week honors, but it’s fellow rookies Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas that continue to get the most national attention. The latest to give the dynamic duo credit is former ESPNer Len Pasquarelli, now at Sports Xchange.
A lot of people questioned the sanity of Chiefs’ general manager Scott Pioli when he invested successive second-round draft choices on a pair of munchkins, versatile tailback Dexter McCluster (No. 36 overall) and corner Javier Arenas (No. 50), five months ago. Well, who’s having the last laugh now? The Chiefs, who have started 3-0 for the first time since 2003, have a league-best 231 punt return yards. Only three other teams have 100 yards or more. McCluster, who has lined up just about everywhere for Kansas City, is averaging 23.7 yards per punt runback and has a touchdown. Arenas is averaging 9.9 yards. At some point, teams will quit kicking to the dynamic pair, and that typically translates into yards gained. Said the ever-confident McCluster: “We’re just doing what we were brought here to do. (Pioli) knew what he was doing.”
Of players with at least 5 punt returns, only Golden Tate has been more successful than McCluster and both Chiefs rookies rank in the top 10 for yards per return. The one thing to remember that Pasquarelli points out is how teams are going to be kicking away from these two guys and that it will still help the Chiefs win the field position battle.
Too many punters in the NFL just want to kick the hell out of the ball, something that is pure disaster with McCluster and Areans back deep. Then when you get around to asking them to try and kick it high and short, they end up netting all of 20 yards, something the Kansas City offense will be glad to take.
Even though the Chiefs have only broken two kick returns of over 20 yards (one by each rookie), they have seemed to only be missing that one block more than a few times over the first three weeks. As the season goes along, one of the two will end up taking a kick off to the house sooner rather than later.