ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – Dave Toub has been fortunate to work with some great return specialists in his years as a special-teams coach. Toub has another such candidate this year in Chiefs rookie De’Anthony Thomas.
Thomas is fast and quick but has more going for him than that as a punt returner.
“His ability to make the first person miss, he’s got that,’’ said Toub, whose returners over the years have included Devin Hester in Chicago. “It’s the same thing Devin Hester had. The thing we need to work on with [Thomas] right now is his catching and his ball reads. You’ll see him in practice occasionally have to run late to make a catch. It’s just a matter of him seeing the ball where it’s going to be and have the ball chase him and not him chase the ball.’’
The presence of Thomas and Knile Davis as their leading kickoff returner has the Chiefs thinking they can match or surpass the four kick return touchdowns they scored last season. Davis returned one kickoff for a touchdown, as did Quintin Demps. Dexter McCluster scored twice on punt returns.
Demps and McCluster now play for other teams, but the Chiefs are in a good spot with the addition of Thomas. He had five returns for a touchdown in his three collegiate seasons at Oregon.
While Davis will be the main kickoff returner, the Chiefs plan to use Thomas there on occasion.
“There might be a situation where you might have Knile and him in the game at the same time and have a special return designed specifically for De’Anthony,’’ Toub said. “He can do a lot of different things that Knile can’t. Knile is more of a power, speed, straightahead [runner]. That fits our scheme but you can do other things with De’Anthony.’’