Chiefs Team Report from Yahoo Sports:
No team among the 32 in the NFL has waited longer to see a punt or kickoff return end up in the end zone than the Kansas City Chiefs.
The last time it happened was 48 regular and post-season games ago, in the season opener of the 2010 season against San Diego in a Monday night game at Arrowhead Stadium. On September 13, 2010, rookie returner Dexter McCluster made a rookie mistake and caught a Chargers punt at his six-yard line, and 94 yards later nobody was talking about anything but his touchdown return.
The drought is the longest in the league, as every NFL team has had a punt or kickoff return for a score since that opening weekend.
In their preseason opener against the Saints in New Orleans the Chiefs did not score on a return. But under new special teams coach Dave Toub, they had the longest returns the Chiefs have seen in some time, including pre-season games:
- McCluster had a 55-yard punt return in the first quarter that helped set up an early field goal for the Chiefs. It as the team's longest punt return since his 94-yarder.
- Rookie running back Knile Davis returned a kickoff 79 yards late in the third quarter. It's the longest kick return in any game—pre, regular and post-season—since running back Jamaal Charles returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown on November 22, 2009 against Pittsburgh.
There is now hope with the Chiefs that they can get some help from the return game.
"I was really happy with the way the guys responded," said Toub, who joined Andy Reid's staff after spending seasons handling the special teams with the Bears. "We have high expectations for this group and they work their butts off. It's good to see guys work so hard and reap rewards like they did in the game."
In the 2010 NFL Draft, then GM Scott Pioli used a pair of second-round draft choices to draft McCluster and cornerback Javier Arenas. Both were on the small side, but they were known for their quickness and their ability on returns; Arenas had set several NCAA records while at Alabama.
Toub feels McCluster is a natural punt returner because of his quickness in a compact area.
"He can make the first man miss," said Toub, who had record setting punt returner Devin Hester with the Bears. "As a punt returner in the NFL you're going to have to make someone miss and he's good at that."
In his three-year NFL career, McCluster has had three different special teams coaches, and he has become a big fan of Toub and the way he handles the kicking game.
"He knows that we can be game changers; special teams can win games," said McCluster. "I think that his focus and determination to get us better and bring the best out of us is going to be key to our success. He's a guy that really, really, really loves special teams."
Davis did not return kickoffs during his college career at the University of Arkansas, but Reid and Toub see him in that role for the Chiefs. He's not quite there yet.
"You have to be able to catch all the balls clean," said Toub. "He has to be clean there. He's catching a lot of balls of the jugs machine and before practice. He has to get some confidence, and we have to have confidence in him. He's still a work in progress."
That brings free safety Quintin Demps and wide receiver Devon Wylie into the picture as kick returners. McCluster will not be a candidate.
"Punt returner, that's a full-time job," Toub said. "We want him focused on that."
The Chiefs are focused on breaking their return drought.
"We sit back and watch the film and see the spark that we can be for this team, I think everyone is going to want to go out there and do it week in and week out."
Notable Quotable: "I try to do what the coaches tell me to do. If they tell me to practice more, I'll practice more and if they tell me to play more, I'll play more. I'm just out here competing every day and trying to make the most of it."
—No. 1 draft choice right tackle Eric Fisher who has struggled at times in the start to his NFL career.