KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Among offensive players for the Kansas City Chiefs, few have big-play ability like rookie running back Knile Davis. He returned one kickoff 109 yards and another 79 yards during the preseason, an indication of what he can do once he gets the ball into his hands.
That's been the trick for Davis. Between his botched kickoff returns, dropped passes and fumbles, Davis has tested the patience of the Chiefs. At no time was that more in evidence that Davis' fumbled kickoff return in the final moments of a recent game against Dallas, with the Chiefs holding a one-point lead.
Davis eventually recovered on the play. But he wasn't asked to return a kickoff in last week's game against Philadelphia. Special teams coordinator Dave Toub said the Chiefs haven't given up on Davis as a return specialist and that he could get some chances in Sunday's game against the New York Giants at Arrowhead Stadium.
“I still feel comfortable with him," Toub said. "He’s very dangerous after the catch. We can’t be deterred just because he put one on the ground. We still have a lot of confidence in him. He keeps working. He gets a lot of kickoffs in practice. He just needs more experience in the games. He got a little anxious, tried to take off a little bit and that’s usually when the ball goes on the ground.
“He’s going to be a real good returner for us. We just have to get him in there in the right spots."
That's the key. The Chiefs need to be using Davis when they need a big return. Their offense doesn't generate a lot of big plays, so the field position he can generate is something they can frequently use.
But the Chiefs don't need to use Davis when ball security is the only thing that matters. When they're leading a game by one point in the fourth quarter, it's the only thing that matters on a kickoff return. At that point, the Chiefs should go with Quintin Demps, Dexter McCluster or someone other than Davis.