Tutu Atwell has been ‘much better’ on punt returns, ‘work in progress’ on kickoffs

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The Rams likely have their primary punt returner already on the roster after Brandon Powell excelled in that role last season, but Tutu Atwell is another player they like in that role. Though he struggled a bit on special teams last season, he’s working to improve as a return specialist in 2022.

Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said this week that he can see Atwell improving on punt returns, saying he’s looked “much better” and “much more comfortable.” However, Atwell is still a work in progress on kickoffs, where there will be plenty of competition.

“I would say on punt returns, much better. Much more comfortable, making better decisions. Kickoff return wise, still a work in progress,” DeCamillis said of Atwell. “We’ll see how that goes but we got a great competition there. There’s a lot of guys there. Ray Calais is coming back. (Kyren Williams) is not out here yet but he’s going to be in the mix. I think we got some guys to compete with Brandon for sure.”

Atwell returned 10 punts for 54 yards last season, with a long return of 17 yards. He wasn’t great on kickoffs, only gaining 87 yards on five attempts – an average of 17.4 yards per return.

It was actually on a punt return that Atwell injured his shoulder last season, causing him to miss the rest of the year after playing just eight games. If the Rams have plans for him on offense, keeping him off special teams and out of harm’s way might be the best option.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire