KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- After Dave Toub arrived as special teams coordinator in 2013, it took the Kansas City Chiefs until their fourth game before they scored a touchdown in the kicking game. Dexter McCluster returned a punt 89 yards against the Giants that day.
The Chiefs would go on that season to score three more touchdowns on kick returns, and two more last season, all the while never going more than nine games without getting one.
The Chiefs are nine games into this season and are without a special teams touchdown. Combined with two games without one at the end of last season, that’s 11 straight, which is a drought for teams coached by Toub. He was special teams coach for the prolific Devin Hester and the Chicago Bears before he joined the Chiefs.
“Touchdowns are hard to get," Toub said. “They don’t just come. When you get one it’s a special thing. I think we’re getting closer. The guys are working hard. We’ve got a lot of season left."
The Chiefs are 16th in the NFL in average kickoff return at 24.0 yards, and 21st in average punt return at 7.8 yards. Knile Davis has their longest kickoff return, 54 yards, and De'Anthony Thomas their longest punt return, 37 yards.
Davis was inactive for last week’s game against the Broncos. Assuming he is inactive again for Sunday’s game against the Chargers in San Diego, Thomas will be the primary kickoff returner as well.
The Chiefs liked Davis returning kickoffs because at 227 pounds he’s big and strong enough to break tackles as well as being fast when he’s in the open field.
Thomas is much smaller, at 176 pounds, but is also fast.
“I think De’Anthony is good, or as good," Toub said. “He’s a different style."