The punt return is quite possibly the most exciting play in all of football. The combination of space, potential and anticipation as the punt soars 50 or 60 yard downfield is unique. Add in the fact that the fastest/shiftiest player receives the ball with room to maneuver and it easy to see why punt returns can easily become highlight reel plays.
Kansas City fans know exactly what am I talking about here as they have had the pleasure to watch the best punt returner of the past 20 years. No not Devin Hester but Dante Hall. And while the Chiefs said goodbye to Hall nearly a decade ago, a new face, Dexter McCluster, has revived Kansas City’s return game.
Let’s look at how McCluster ripped through the Giants’ coverage team for an 89 yard punt return that sent Arrowhead in a state of euphoria.
Game Situation: 3rd Quarter, 2:06, 4th and 1 at the NYG 30, Chiefs 10, Giants 7
Offensive Concept: Punt Return
Defensive Scheme: Punt Coverage
Summary: Giants fans are well aware of how dangerous punting can be having witnessed DeSean Jackson’s game winning and season ending punt return in 2010. Similar to that fateful afternoon in the Meadowlands, the Giants out kicked their punt coverage and put the onus on their coverage unit.
After giving McCluster time and space, the Giants coverage team failed to maintain their lane discipline and allowed a massive lane between the hashes to develop. That crease was all McCluster needed to break into the open field, albeit with serval impressive jukes and a nasty spin move, and turn a seemingly harmless punt into 6 points.