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).