Devin Thomas of the New York Giants will not be returning kickoffs this Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Earlier today I mentioned the story from Ralph Vacchiano noting that the New York Giants have taken the kick return job away from Devin Thomas, likely replacing him with veteran D.J. Ware and/or rookie Da'Rel Scott. Is this the right move by the Giants? Also, what can we expect to see from whoever goes back there?
Thomas has averaged 23.7 yards per return this season and is third in the league with 17 returns of more than 20 yards. He has had an annoying tendency to muff kicks, though, and was replaced by Jerrel Jernigan Sunday against the New England Patriots after muffing his second kick in three games.
"I can be a stud back there," Thomas said. "But I'm a dud if I'm out there muffing returns."
Thomas is right on both counts. And we know coach Tom Coughlin values ball security first and foremost on kick and punt returns.
Vacchiano indicated that Ware and Scott are likely to get the first opportunities to become the primary kickoff returner. I am actually surprised that Jernigan, the third-round pick from Troy, is not at the top of the depth chart. Perhaps that has to do with the hip injury that kept the rookie receiver out of practice on Thursday, because he was a much more accomplished collegiate kickoff returner at Troy than Scott was at Maryland.
During his four-year collegiate career Jernigan returned 67 kickoffs, including 64 in his final two seasons. He averaged 23.6 yards per kickoff return, taking one back for a touchdown. In 2010, he averaged 25.2 yards on 25 returns.
Scott averaged 21.4 yards on 28 kickoff returns at Maryland. He returned only two kickoffs after his freshman season of 2007. I think everyone is curious to see how his speed might translate in this role, but his collegiate history does not indicate a great deal of success on returns.
Ware was used extensively on kickoff returns last season, returning 21 kickoffs for an average of 20.6 yards. It's a job he can do adequately, but he does not seem like a home run threat from that spot.
So, what are your thoughts on what the Giants should do at this spot, gang?