When a team is kicking off to the Dolphins, it will usually mean one thing: WE’VE BEEN SCORED ON.
That’s the bad news. The good news is most kickoffs also offer up an immediate chance to hit back, and hit back hard, with a huge return. Even if a kick return doesn’t go the distance, it’s great chance to hand the offense the ball in great field position, and let the opposition know that we’re coming right back at ’em.
Which leads us to the most glaring part of the newly released depth chart, Patrick Cobbs as the starting kick returner. Patrick seems like a great teammate. He’s clearly a hard worker too. But putting him back on returns is a mistake.
Patrick Cobbs has been at least a part time returner for us over the last three seasons. He has averaged just over 20 yards per return. This is a worse number than any starting returner in the league last year. He has returned just one kick for more than 40 yards in his entire career.
I am not knocking Patrick’s importance to the team as a RB. But simply put, he doesn’t have the extra gear needed to hit the hole and make the big play on special teams. Cobbs’ pre-draft 40-time was a 4.68. Yes Dolfans, our current starting kick returner’s 40 time is a hair below 4.7. Can we expect him to ever make a huge, game-changing return when we need one? Coming off a knee injury, and entering his late 20s, can we now expect him to become the next Josh Cribbs?
As the brass points out, this depth chart will change. The Bottlenose hopes like hell that this will be one of those tweaks.
On a related note, Nolan Carroll narrowly beat out Pat White in our recent kick returner poll. Carroll ran in the high 4.3s at his Pro Day. Pat ran for 4,000 yards in college, and has some speed (not to mention a very unclear role on this team). Tristan Davis (clip below) was a dangerous returner at Auburn, and also ran in the high 4.3s. They all seem like better options. It would be interesting if Nolan Carroll assumes the kick returner role, since we grabbed the kid with the pick we got in the Ginn trade.
If Ginn taught us one thing, it’s that returns can make a big difference.