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Could the addition of Sammy Watkins mean more kick returns for Tyreek Hill?

The addition of wide receiver Sammy Watkins (on paper) looks like it will make the 2018 Chiefs offense one of the best in the league.

But is there an important aspect of the move that we may be overlooking?

The idea was first presented by AP analyst Shawn Barber on this week’s Arrowhead Pride Podcast:

“Special teams, now [Tyreek Hill] can do more return stuff because you’re not worried about your No. 1 receiver getting hurt.”

Andy Reid has gone on record in saying that Hill will remain the “Z” receiver in his offense with Watkins starting as the “X.”

While this means Hill will still be the No. 1, it is well known that Reid moves his receivers all across the line of scrimmage. This could happen even more now with Patrick Mahomes at the helm.

So are we dealing with a No. 1 and No. 1a situation? And if so, could the Chiefs allow Hill to get back to some of the kick-return duties we saw during his rookie season in 2016?

Though Hill remained the Chiefs’ punt returner in 2017, Akeem Hunt and De’Anthony Thomas took over on kickoffs as Hill was more involved in the offense.

But Watkins’ abilities offer somewhat of a security blanket when it comes to Hill.

In case you forgot (and seriously, how could you?), Hill’s return numbers in 2016 were historic.

Hill had 39 punt returns for 592 yards and two touchdowns for a league-leading 15.2 yards per return. He also had 14 kick returns for 384 yards and a touchdown for 27.4 yards per return. The three return touchdowns were part of Hill’s 12 total touchdowns on the season.

Hill being back for every kick in 2016 felt like the Chiefs could score seven at any time.

There’s also a strong case against this. You could also argue that even with Watkins, Hill is working his way toward becoming one of the top five receivers in the league. You couldn’t say the same about Watkins, at least yet.

So the question: Is the constant home run ball worth the risk?


Should the Chiefs put Tyreek Hill back on kickoff returns full-time?

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