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Onterio McCalebb, Adam Jones and others try to unseat Brandon Tate

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The Bengals want more explosive plays from their return unit. They're looking at a handful of players to give them that.


If the Bengals want to improve off of an 11-win season that saw them win the AFC North, it might be time to start demanding more from the return unit on special teams.

While he rarely produces explosive returns that gives the offense a short field to work with, the one thing Brandon Tate has done well is not turn the ball over.

Still, the Bengals are going to try and find a better option, and so far, they've given a handful of players the chance to pry the job away from Tate

Of the names mentioned, it's become pretty clear what Sanzebacher, Jones, Manning and Peerman bring to the table if you've watched their careers. Only Jones clearly has more ability than Tate, but he still could be more valuable on defense, depending on how well Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard progress.

McCaleb is the real wild card. After playing running back at Auburn, he moved to cornerback as a rookie in 2013, and was later signed to the practice squad. At Auburn, McCalebb was one of only players in SEC history to gain more than 2000 rushing, 1000 kick return and 500 career receiving yards.

He was an explosive return man, and it will be interesting to see what he can do at the NFL level if he's given more chances during the preseason this year. During his college career, McCalebb averaged 25.7 yards on 53 kickoff returns, including touchdowns of 83 and 100 yards

In today's NFL, which is slowly phasing out kickoff and punt returns and the high-impact collisions that come with them, just catching the ball and not turning it over is becoming an accepted requirement to be the full-time returner.

That's what Tate is, but the Bengals need and appear to want more than that.