The Miami Dolphins have a few above average options that can be their return guy this season that are very interesting.
I know at this current point in the offseason that question is about as likely to get answered as what really landed in Roswell (it was aliens), but I was thinking about it.
The return play is one of those things that no one really pays attention to until a huge play is played in your favor or the guy returning the ball misses it. Every other game pretty much boils down to “well, okay, I’m glad you didn’t mess anything up.” Now let’s get the attack going.
But to believe that the back game isn’t something that requires maximum effort and diligence is beyond naive. Every team, including the Miami Dolphins, has been on both sides of a comeback that won or lost a game. So it’s very important to find the right guy who is reliable, who does his job and who can possibly change the direction of a game. I realize this is not breaking news, but it was necessary when even say it.
Last year we had a few guys picking up kicks and punts. Jaylen Waddle, Jevon Holland, Jakeem Grant, Tommy Lee Lewis, Phillip Lindsay, Albert Wilson, Myles Gaskin and Noah Igbinoghene returned a punt or kick at some point last year. Please let me know if I missed anyone.
Looking at this list and even though there are a few guys who are more than capable of doing it, I don’t want them to. I don’t think I’m saying anything too crazy when I say I don’t want Jaylen Waddle or Jevon Holland returning kicks unless it’s a huge moment in a big game and Waddle is there returns for a punt return. Other than that, he shouldn’t be close to a comeback.
I’m not too keen on the starters being the comeback guy. So unless the game is in one of those unique moments where the team absolutely needs a big play from the returning squad, Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and for now Chase Edmonds shouldn’t. not even be in the plans to be the returner. We saw what happened to Preston Williams when he was on the rise. I will always argue that this is what really derailed it and I won’t be convinced otherwise.
That leaves Iggy and Gaskin. I honestly don’t like any of these prospects of being the punt returner. I don’t trust Iggy with the ball in his hands and I just don’t think Myles Gaskin is made for this place. He goes down too easily and doesn’t have that quick first step I want from my returner. Yeah, I know your returning guy won’t be a Derrick Henry type of specimen, but I just don’t like Gaskin there.
The Miami Dolphins ranked 30th in punt returns average and 31st in punt returns average. To say the Miami Dolphins could use an upgrade or focus more on that element of the game is like saying an alien craft has landed in Rendlesham Air Base in England in 1980. We already know that.
Some of those guys on this list may not even make it to the final roster. Being the returning man might be the only reason they make the team. That suits me. If coaches have to teach a guy or two to be a returner because they’ve never done it, that’s fine with me too. If Christian Wilkins can be placed in NFL games as a fullback and score multiple touchdowns, then receivers or running backs can learn to line up a kick.
I do however have a list of guys that I hope will get the opportunity to be the returning guy. Also, it has to be said that as I write this, I almost solely think of this question from a kick return perspective. Most kickoffs are touchdowns, but I’d like to have the same returner for punt and kick returns if possible. Let’s go to the list.