Things that could help field position

September, 27, 2013
9/27/13
4:13
PM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Five times this season, Tennessee Titans kickoff returner Darius Reynaud has brought a kickoff out of the end zone.

The first one, as we all remember, he took right back into the end zone, giving away a safety on the first play of the Titans' season.

Reynaud is averaging 22.6 yards on those kickoff returns. Which sounds fine considering the first one was for minus-1 yard.

[+] EnlargeDarius Reynaud
Wesley Hitt/Getty ImagesThe Titans' offense might be better off if kick returner Darius Reynaud took more touchbacks.
He didn’t return another kick in Pittsburgh and he didn’t return one in Houston.

Against San Diego:

  • He gained 32 yards, and offensive holding set the Titans up at their 13.
  • He gained 25 yards, and set the Titans up at the 20.
  • He gained 32 yards, and set the Titans up at the 24.
  • He gained 32 yards, and set the Titans up at the 23.

That’s fine and all. But when an opponent kicks off, I see more potential for a special-teams penalty than I do for a big return that flips field position.

I’d be fine with him downing the ball more often. The third of those returns came from 8 yards deep in the end zone and the fourth from 7 yards deep.

That’s too deep for a returner like Reynaud to bring the ball out from. There is too much risk involved, especially with the Titans' propensity for special-teams penalties. (A punt without a flag is a mini-Music City Miracle.)

The Titans' average drive from a kickoff starts at the 20, good for 19th in the league. I know an easier way to get to the 20 -- by not leaving the end zone.

Punts are another thing that have contributed to Titans' field position problems. In Shane Lechler and Mike Scifres, the Titans have dealt with two of the top veteran punters in the game in consecutive weeks.

The Jets' punter is Ryan Quigley, a first-year player out of Boston College. He punted for the first time in an NFL game last week against Buffalo, posting a respectable 41.4 yard net average.

“He’s a youngster, so we’re hoping we get some shots,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “The guys that we’ve played against have really pinned us back the last couple of weeks. Some of that’s the field position, too, but they’ve done a great job. So hopefully we can get some returns, get some field positions, maybe get a mistake.”

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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