Thursday, September 5, 2013
Knile Davis worth risk as kickoff returner
By Adam Teicher
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Rookie Knile Davis returned three kickoffs during the preseason. He took one back 109 yards for a touchdown, and another 79 yards to provide favorable field position for the offense.
Sounds like a no-brainer that the Chiefs should use him as their kickoff returner in the regular season, beginning with Sunday’s opener on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was, unless you saw Davis wrestle with and fumble several kickoff returns in training camp.
But not everyone has the potential to deliver 109- and 79-yard plays, so the Chiefs will work Davis into the returning mix on Sunday.
“We don’t know if he’s going to get the first one or the second one, but we’re definitely going to work him in there,’’ special teams coach Dave Toub said.
It’s a risk to use Davis, who didn’t return kicks in college at Arkansas, but he might be worth it. Davis is solidly built at 227 pounds, but he’s also fast and can get through a hole quickly.
The Chiefs figure to need help from their special teams. They don’t have a dynamic, quick-strike type of offense, so if the Chiefs have to go 80 yards each time they get the ball, they might be in trouble.
That’s where Davis comes in. The Chiefs have more reliable options in terms of securing the ball. Quintin Demps, who also brought back a kick for a touchdown in the preseason, and Dexter McCluster can also do the job.
Davis was a notorious fumbler in college. The Chiefs also watched Davis mangle enough returns in training camp that when the preseason began they weren’t yet comfortable with the thought of him doing the job in a game that counts. Recent developments changed their minds.
“One hundred nine yards helps,’’ Toub said. “When he has the ball in his hand, he’s pretty dynamic. We just have to get him in situations where he’s relaxed and maybe he’s in the tempo of the game."