USA TODAY Sports
The question has been asked of Bengals special coordinator Darrin Simmons. Why is Adam Jones not returning more punts?
Let me recreate what you experience every weekend.
Brandon Tate takes a punt, jumps around and gets tripped up after a minimal gain. Shaking your head in resignation, you watch the offense face fields of green before the bright lights of a touchdown breaches the fog through an aggressive defense. The opposition punts again. This time it's Adam Jones. He jukes left, summersaults right, plays the clarinet with a harmonious rendition of Valjean's Death, giving Cincinnati's significant field position.
You stomp your foot, crush a beer can and chase the cat around the house with a wicked twinge in your left eye. Why is Brandon Tate returning kicks?
Paul Dehner with CBSSports.com breaks it down.
- Jones: 18 attempts, 0 fair catches, 275 yards, 15.3 yards per return, 1 touchdown
- Tate: 19 attempts, 6 fair catches, 170 yards, 8.9 yards per return, 0 touchdowns
The reasoning is simple, and probably should have been applied to the common sense lecture at frustration hall. When asked why the split, special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons said:
"(Jones) is out there a lot when we are playing nickel, and we've been fortunate enough to be ahead in some of these games when he's playing a lot of defense,” Simmons said. “I want a guy back there who is fresh."
The Bengals currently rank fifth in the NFL, averaging 12.0 yards on 37 returns (which is third in the league).