The Chiefs may have been one lost Knile Davis fumble away from potentially losing their week two game against Dallas, but special-teams coach Dave Toub says Davis remains an option on kick returns.
“I still feel comfortable with him,” Toub said. “He is very dangerous after the catch. We can’t be deterred just because he put one on the ground.”
Davis, a rookie, recovered the fumble, which came on a kick return with the Chiefs’ leading the Cowboys 17-16 with two minutes, 16 seconds left in the fourth quarter. It was his only return of the day, and he didn’t log a kick return in four opportunities during the Chiefs’ 26-16 win over Philadelphia last Thursday.
“Obviously, had we lost that ball, that would have been huge,” Toub said. “But we still have a lot of confidence in him. He keeps working, he gets a lot of kickoffs in practice and he just needs more experience in the games.
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“I think he got a little anxious, tried to take off a little bit, and that’s usually when the ball goes on the ground. We want to keep continuing to get him in there when we can.”
That didn’t happen against Philadelphia, however, as safety Quintin Demps and receiver Dexter McCluster shouldered the kick return load.
Demps, in particular, showed why he has fielded the most kicks of any Chief this season. He opened the game with a 57-yard sprint that gave the Chiefs premium field position and set the tone for the first quarter with a little trickery.
“We had two returners in the game — we had Dexter in there, as well,” Toub said. “Dexter flared out to the left as a decoy, acting like he was going to catch a throwback and drew a couple guys out that way, and then it opened up a seam for us up the middle. Quintin does what he does, which is hit it north and south.”
Toub said you’ll probably see that play again down the road, adding that he also hasn’t lost faith in McCluster, who fumbled his only return against Philly last week but managed to recover, just like Davis.
The real shame of it, Toub said, was that McCluster potentially had a chance to break a big return as well.
“That was a designed return that we had been working on for three weeks,” Toub said. “That was his return and it was going to be a big one, and he knew it. He got anxious as well and put it on the ground.”
Toub said the Chiefs were fortunate to have recovered Davis’ and McCluster’s kick-return fumbles, but apparently isn’t ready to give up on a committee approach to his kick returners, though Demps remains the primary guy.
“I mean, we’re kind of snake-bit a little bit with those other guys, but I believe we’re over it, I really do,” Toub said of the fumbling. “We talked about it, we worked on it in practice. We feel like we have some other guys that can give us a little bit more, or something different than what Quintin Demps brings to the table.”
Particularly Davis, who showed off 4.37-speed with kick returns of 109 and 79 yards this preseason.
“After the (play), you always go ‘Oh, I should have left Demps in there,” Toub said of Davis’ fumble. “But … this guy, he is gonna be a real good returner for us. We just have to get him in there in the right spots.”
For his part, Davis insists he will be ready.
“I know what I can do, coach knows what I can do, I’m just waiting,” Davis said. “So when he puts me in there, I’m gonna go get it.”