Kansas City Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub provided an update on the team’s evolving return specialist situation on Thursday.
With Mecole Hardman heading to injured reserve, the team has one fewer option at punt returner. Thankfully, the team added a new option at punt returner at the trade deadline in Kadarius Toney.
Asked whether Toney would be the starter on punt returns moving forward, Toub confirmed that Toney would be the starter. He also expressed overwhelming excitement over eventually seeing him get a chance to return one.
“Yeah. Yeah, you know right now he is. I can’t wait to see him get a ball kicked to him,” Toub said. “We haven’t had that option really. They did a good job last week of using the sidelines and hanging the ball up pretty good, so you know sooner or later he’s going to get one kicked to him and we’re going to find out what he’s got. We’ve got a pretty good feeling about it, though.”
Chiefs TE Travis Kelce recently spoke on what he’s seen from Toney in practice on punt returns.
As for the situation on kick returns, even with Isiah Pacheco’s increased opportunity on the offensive side of the ball, the plan is for him to remain as the team’s starting kick returner. Toub confirmed they are, however, looking at some of their other options, should they need to take the load off of Pacheco.
“Skyy (Moore) returned one because in that scenario, he’s on the hands team, so he’s in there for that situation. Yeah, we’re going to start looking at other guys too as well, but I really like Isiah (Pacheco) back there. He’s dangerous. It’s really not bad for him to start out back there and get the game going for him a little bit rather than just start out on offense. I think in that, we’re pretty comfortable with him being back there.”
One area where Pacheco will no longer be contributing on special teams is kick return coverage. Per Chiefs Wire’s Wesley Roesch, Pacheco has lined up as L3, which is the second player to the left of Harrison Butker on kickoffs. He was taken off kick coverage duty in Week 10 and replaced by a combination of Jody Fortson and Noah Gray.
“(Kick coverage) is the first thing that we’re going to take him out on to be honest with you,” Toub said. “We’ll take him off of kickoffs and probably going forward here unless he gets less reps on offense. Because he was effective there too for us. He did a good job in there. He’s a good football player. But we’re going to keep him on kick returns, though.”