OK, here’s your NFL special teams lesson of the day.
The Detroit Lions, who didn’t re-sign Stefan Logan, are in need of a kick returner and a punt returner. It won’t necessarily be the same guy.
At rookie minicamp, Lions coach Jim Schwartz explained the difference the two return specialties:
“Well, you know, they’ve become a little bit more similar. First of all, catching a kick is a lot different than catching a punt. It’s two different deliveries of the football. Catching a punt’s a lot more difficult. Catching a kick, that’s the easiest part of being a kick returner.
“But the way the rules have gone in the last couple years, getting rid of the wedge and some different things like that, you’re seeing more man blocking, which is what you see on punt return. So, rather than just sort of running full speed and taking that one cut that kick returners used to and the emphasis was on just a straight line guy who could take one cut and explode, you’re seeing guys pick and choose a little bit more. That’s more the skill of a punt returner.
“So, the guys are on them faster. They’re line up five yards quicker, they’re returning balls from deeper in the end zones and guys are on them quicker. So, that start-stop ability becomes a little more important. I think what you’re seeing is, you know, those skill sets are getting closer together just because of the rule changes.”
Thank you Professor Schwartz.