KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kickoff return specialist Quintin Demps admitted to being more than a little envious last week when he noticed that the Minnesota Vikings’ Cordarelle Patterson brought back a kick 109 yards for a touchdown.
"I wish I could go 110," Demps said.
That’s not possible. But that hasn’t stopped Demps from attempting to return kickoffs from deep in the end zone. Generally speaking, he’s been rewarded for his fearlessness. Demps is fourth in the NFL in kickoff return average and the Kansas City Chiefs are fourth in the league in average starting field position after a kickoff.
Occasionally, Demps will get caught inside the 20 on kickoff returns, but his decision-making is generally solid and he should continue with his bold choices on returns.
Demps said he’s following the orders of special teams coordinator Dave Toub.
“Coach told us to be aggressive, me and (punt returner Dexter McCluster)," Demps said. “That’s what I’m doing, being aggressive. It’s kind of the flow of the game. Sometimes I won’t bring it out, sometimes I will, depending on whether we need a spark or not.
“With the new rule, you have no option. Otherwise, you’d be taking a knee every time."
Demps was referring to the rule that put the spot of the kickoffs back to the 40. Many kickoffs go into the end zone, some deep into the end zone. Some teams aren’t shy about bringing some of those out and the Chiefs are one of them.
“If it’s nine (yards) deep and he’s chasing the ball or going backward or he has to run laterally far for the ball and he knows that’s taking too much time, he’s going to stay in," Toub said. “But if it’s a low trajectory ball and he’s getting it sometime eight or nine yards deep, he knows the coverage is not all the way down there, we’re going to come out with those.’’
Occasionally, Demps hasn’t made it out to the 20. Short of that, the decision to leave the end zone is a bad one. The Chiefs started last week’s game against the Cleveland Browns on their 12 after Demps returned the kick from six yards deep.
"That was because of (lousy) blocking," Toub said. "That was not because Demps came out. It wasn’t his decision that hurt us."