Rod Black

What's with his comment that Hamilton's been looking for a return man every since Marcus Thigpen? What about Chris Williams...was he chopped liver? Duane Forde doesn't even correct him. He should stick to figure skating.

In defense of Rod ... And believe me I thought about doing this long & hard ... I do believe Mr. Black's comment about Hamilton looking for a return man ever since Marcus Thigpen ... was in reference to kick-off returns ... since he said it after a good kick-off return by Kendial Lawrence.

I've always wondered what is the big difference between returning kickoffs vs. returning punts? I know the coverage is closer on punts, but why can't someone handle both?

It's very different. Some guys can do both. Others can't. It's not a simple black & white, yes or no kind of question. But generally, most do not do both. And before someone corrects me with an exception or anomaly, I know there are exceptions and anomalies.

Kick off returns tend to much more violent. Much, much, much more violent! (hence the NFL changing the rules to de facto eliminate them). Kick coverage is coming at you with a real full head of steam and load. The guys covering kicks don't have to do anything other than run downfield in coverage. They don't have to block at the LOS like on punts. They don't have to hold before being released when the kick is away. On punts, you usually have a few waves of coverage. You have the gunners for the edge. You have the centre front line wave. You have the second personal protector wave. On Kick Offs ... its a single wave coming at you all at the same time. No blocking responsibilities. All coming at you. Yes, there are contain guys and wedge busters and gunners etc, but they all have 1 responsibility ... get the returner.

Punt returners tend to be more creative since there's a lot more variability in punt returns. Ie; good punt, bad punt, short, line drive, shank ... As well as the coverage is not always as uniform. Ie; a cover guy gets a good release or gets held up or stays in to block or releases cleanly. Combine those variabilities or kick and coverage and you get a lot more opportunity to "free lance" or "create" or "play make".

Kick off returns are very scripted. It's called before hand. The return team will call either a boundary, middle or field return. It's much more scripted than punts. But much more violent.

Found this on a NFL Team (NO Saints) Fan Forum Board and thought I'd copy/paste it here since it's a great explanation upon the differences between kick-off & punt returns.

"While the two facets require the application of different skills, they do not necessarily require players with differing skill sets. An athlete is an athlete, and vision is vision. If a player has quickness, speed, vision... he can apply it and be effective at either of these. Yes, some players are more adept at one vs. the other. But there is no universal truth when it comes to skill sets. In fact, the primary differences have to do with scheme and a player's ability to maximize his abilities within these schemes.

A punt returner has to create space. He does this by hesitating, changing direction, setting up blocks, and navigating through the coverage before he fully accelerates. Bush's highlights last season came when he followed this formula to a T. However, there is no one set style. Rod Harper, in the preseason, ran like a kick returner on punt returns (was very one cut, ran through arm tackles, attacked the coverage rather than picking his way through it) and still scored TDs.

On the other side, a kick returner has to take space. He does this by finding a crease and accelerating through it. He accelerates once he's into the kick coverage (much like RB accelerates into the defense), rather than once he gets through it as a PR does. It's like the difference between executing an off tackle run (kick return) and executing a screen pass (punt return).

Kick returners don't set up their blocks like punt returners do. They simply follow them. It is much more scheme-oriented than punt returning. Blockers on KR have assigned targets whereas blockers on PR are more "seek and destroy." They go to a certain area of the field and attack the first threat. Often times, in the PR game, the idea is to simply get your body into the cover man's path, between him and the returner, and literally BLOCK him (a lot of big blocks on PR come when the blocker is standing still, but was able to get into the cover man's path while he's in transition... turning or changing direction to pursue the returner).

From a philosophical/strategic standpoint, PR is oriented much more toward deception and economy of force, whereas KR is very man-to-man and the execution of brute, overwhelming force (how else would you describe a 'wedge'?)."


The phrase that resonated with myself is/was ...
It's like the difference between executing an off tackle run (kick return) and executing a screen pass (punt return).

thanks for that, Fenderguy :thup:

You mean Rod Black was right? Maybe some posters in here should stick to figure skating. :smiley:

Figure skating In Latvia with the RedBlacks.

Thanks for the clarification FenderGuy69

I may be wrong, but didn't Chris Williams return punts and kick offs? Even if he didn't, to not even mention Chris Williams who lit up the league setting records and winning special teams player of the year is mind boggling.

If Skater Guy was in fact speaking specifically about kickoff returns then there's a bunch of us who owe him an apology.

A broken clock is right twice day.

Blind squirrel...

Chuckled when Black called Cox's two selfish penalties down near the goaline in the fourth "uncharacteristic" .

The other thing you have to keep in mind, your kickoff team is generally always faster and more mobile then the punt team, on both sides of the ball. The punt team still has at least 4 linemen participating, and they simply aren't going to get down the field as quick, or be as effective at containing the returner. Conversely, your blockers suffer the exact same problem, and their ability to get back and offer protection is more limited.

I nearly choked on that one!

He did return some kickoffs two years ago, teamed up with Thigpen. But not after Thigpen left. So again, technically, Rod Black was not incorrect. Assuming he was talking about kickoff returns only. :expressionless:

There are differences, however, many similarities too....

I wouldn't say most don't do both...in fact, the opposite is true. Most returners do both. It's not an anomaly.

[url=http://www.cfl.ca/statistics/league/stat/Combined/year/2013/type/reg]http://www.cfl.ca/statistics/league/sta ... 3/type/reg[/url]

My mistake. Thanks for the correction & the link. That surprised me. A lot more guys doing both than I thought there were. It'd be interesting to see if that's a trend that's been increasing over the years or what.

Thanks for the info TommyBoy

Maybe something that's related to larger rosters....most teams have a DI who is a dedicated returner. If that's basically all a guy does, then it makes sense to have him do both, or you're wasting a spot. If a player is trying to make a team strictly as a returner, he better be able to do both.

I think one other difference between punts and kicks, is that punts are tougher to catch....so you might be more likely to see a receiver like Jones rather than a RB like Walker....I guess Walker is unreliable catching punts, so he sits.

We all want big returns, but coaches are more concerned with possession......

You also don't have guys sprinting at you while you field a punt. KO returns give you about 25-35 yards cushion to catch the ball.

What's with the love fest for cris carter? I am so sick of this man.