Rookies still at the front of Broncos' search for a kick returner

Kalif Raymond is open to play wherever the Broncos put him. "You just want to make the team any way you can," he said. AP Photo/David Zalubowski

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- It certainly isn’t the most-talked-about job opening on the Denver Broncos' roster, but the defending Super Bowl champion is still looking for a returner, or returners, who can give the Broncos’ special teams some big-play pop.

While the quarterback question has overshadowed everything in and around the Broncos so far in the preseason, even that issue may be far closer to a resolution than the dilemma they have on special teams.

Rookies Kalif Raymond and Bralon Addison got the first looks as the punt and kickoff returners in the preseason opener last week in Chicago. Both flashed a little more in their limited work in punt returns than they did in two combined kickoff returns, but the Broncos saw enough to keep looking at them.

“I think it was solid," said Broncos special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis. The word I would say is ‘solid.’ I thought both of them had shown good returning mechanics. I thought they both caught it well, made good decisions. I also thought that they both showed some juice, so hopefully we can get some more holes for them Saturday night.”

As of Thursday afternoon, DeCamillis said he hadn’t formally decided how the return duties would be divided against the San Francisco 49ers Saturday night, but Raymond and Addison are expected to get another look.

It has been an issue for some time given the Broncos have not had a player finish among the top 10 in the league in punt returns in the same year they’ve made the playoffs dating back to 1999. They have had three players finish in the top 10 in kickoff-return average in a season they’ve also made the playoffs, but only once (Trindon Holliday in 2013) in over a decade.

“You just want to make the team any way you can," Raymond said. "I’ll do whatever they need me to do."