Every New York Giants' fan knows that Domenik Hixon is a spectacular kick return man. The Giants know this, too, which is why Hixon has returned kicks at the most important times the past two seasons.
We also know, though, that Hixon will play a key role as a wide receiver in 2009. If he isn't starting, he will still be playing a lot.
As much as I, and probably many other Giants' fans, would love to see Hixon handle all the return duties that seems highly unrealistic given his offensive workload.
So, today let's examine who -- other than Hixon -- could possibly handle punt return duties. We will look at kickoff returns another day.
Here is how I see the candidates. These are not in order of preference.
- Ahmad Bradshaw -- Bradshaw has had mixed success returning kickoffs with a 23.2-yards-per-return average in two seasons. He has only returned two punts for 7 yards. I wonder, though, if Bradshaw's skills are better suited to punt returns than kickoff returns. He isn't truly a speed guy, he is more of a slasher with quick feet who can make one or two guys miss. To break a punt return you almost always have to elude the first guy with quickness, and maybe Bradshaw can do that. The question, though, is workload. Bradshaw is slated to be the primary backup to Brandon Jacobs at running back
- Sinorice Moss -- The Giants have never asked Moss to return punts. If he is going to be on the team, though, and if he can't earn regular snaps with the offense, I would like to see him get a shot. He obviously has good hands, and this might be a way to make use of his speed.
- Aaron Ross -- This is thinking out of the box, and seems extremely unlikely. Ross, though, came to the Giants out of Texas as a guy with the reputation of being a big-time punt return guy. I don't recall ever seeing him return one even in an exhibition game with the Giants. He'll be a starting cornerback, but might be worth a look.
To me, there are no other 'obvious' candidates for the punt return gig. Did I leave anybody out? Your thoughts?