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TJ Graham should be returning punts tomorrow


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#1 Webster Guy

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 07:54 PM

Yeah, I know.... I'm the guy who said TJ shouldn't even be in the NFL, but as long as he's going to be on our team we need to utilize his speed and alleged elusiveness.   Jim Leonard is sure-handed, but he clearly left some yards on the field last game with his fair catch decisions and lack of speed.

I find it unacceptable that our special teams plan for the season now has us giving full time punt return duties to a slow white guy that we signed a week before the season.   TJ has the ability to break one for us and impact this game.

I'm not worried about our defense, somehow Pettine and the boys will keep them under 20 points, but we are limping into Cleveland with serious injuries to our runners and the Browns defense appears to be the real deal.   Special teams can be the difference maker (cue the Marv Levy/Coe College fight song here...)

With that in mind, we need to bring some wrinkles they've never seen.   A short week makes that very hard to do offensively, but switching return men to someone they've never seen that has a totally different style makes sense here.  

A worthy risk/reward gamble IMO.

#2 Hopeful

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 07:55 PM

View PostWebster Guy, on 02 October 2013 - 07:54 PM, said:

Yeah, I know.... I'm the guy who said TJ shouldn't even be in the NFL, but as long as he's going to be on our team we need to utilize his speed and alleged elusiveness.   Jim Leonard is sure-handed, but he clearly left some yards on the field last game with his fair catch decisions and lack of speed.

Can we graft Leonard's hands onto TJ's wrists?

#3 HoF Watkins

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 08:02 PM

View PostWebster Guy, on 02 October 2013 - 07:54 PM, said:

Yeah, I know.... I'm the guy who said TJ shouldn't even be in the NFL, but as long as he's going to be on our team we need to utilize his speed and alleged elusiveness.   Jim Leonard is sure-handed, but he clearly left some yards on the field last game with his fair catch decisions and lack of speed.

I find it unacceptable that our special teams plan for the season now has us giving full time punt return duties to a slow white guy that we signed a week before the season.   TJ has the ability to break one for us and impact this game.

I'm not worried about our defense, somehow Pettine and the boys will keep them under 20 points, but we are limping into Cleveland with serious injuries to our runners and the Browns defense appears to be the real deal.   Special teams can be the difference maker (cue the Marv Levy/Coe College fight song here...)

With that in mind, we need to bring some wrinkles they've never seen.   A short week makes that very hard to do offensively, but switching return men to someone they've never seen that has a totally different style makes sense here.  

A worthy risk/reward gamble IMO.
I would rather have a "hands" guy back there than some guy that just runs fast. There aren't really that many opportunities to return punts.

#4 JR in Pittsburgh

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 08:04 PM

View PostMarauder, on 02 October 2013 - 08:02 PM, said:

I would rather have a "hands" guy back there than some guy that just runs fast. There aren't really that many opportunities to return punts.

I concur.

Plus, Leonard has actually looked pretty good. He's not going to break a 70-yard TD-- but he seems to do a nice job getting solid 10-20 yard returns.

#5 Bel9777

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 08:16 PM

Punts?  Did you forget we are playing the Hoyer led Browns?

#6 ganesh

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 12:12 AM

View PostWebster Guy, on 02 October 2013 - 07:54 PM, said:

Yeah, I know.... I'm the guy who said TJ shouldn't even be in the NFL, but as long as he's going to be on our team we need to utilize his speed and alleged elusiveness.   Jim Leonard is sure-handed, but he clearly left some yards on the field last game with his fair catch decisions and lack of speed.

I find it unacceptable that our special teams plan for the season now has us giving full time punt return duties to a slow white guy that we signed a week before the season.   TJ has the ability to break one for us and impact this game.

I'm not worried about our defense, somehow Pettine and the boys will keep them under 20 points, but we are limping into Cleveland with serious injuries to our runners and the Browns defense appears to be the real deal.   Special teams can be the difference maker (cue the Marv Levy/Coe College fight song here...)

With that in mind, we need to bring some wrinkles they've never seen.   A short week makes that very hard to do offensively, but switching return men to someone they've never seen that has a totally different style makes sense here.  

A worthy risk/reward gamble IMO.

The Special Teams  coaching has been  a head scratcher for the first quarter of the season.   May be Marrone erred in hiring his buddy to be his ST coach instead of going after more qualified coaches.

#7 Max997

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 12:30 AM

I don't recall TJ ever returning any punts in preseason so I would not feel comfortable putting him back there in what is supposed to be a rainy game

This is a young team that can't afford mistakes so I'd rather stick with a sure handed guy

The real option that should be asked is why isn't Woods returning punts anymore? Did they decide he is too important to the offense and didn't want to risk injury?

I fully expect Haden on Woods tomorrow not Stevie by the way

Edited by Max997, 03 October 2013 - 12:31 AM.


#8 hondo in seattle

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 01:08 AM

View Postganesh, on 03 October 2013 - 12:12 AM, said:

The Special Teams  coaching has been  a head scratcher for the first quarter of the season.   May be Marrone erred in hiring his buddy to be his ST coach instead of going after more qualified coaches.

This is the one coaching hire I really didn't like.

#9 bowery4

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 03:05 AM

View Postganesh, on 03 October 2013 - 12:12 AM, said:

The Special Teams  coaching has been  a head scratcher for the first quarter of the season.   May be Marrone erred in hiring his buddy to be his ST coach instead of going after more qualified coaches.
http://www.footballo...om/stats/teamst
14th?? What is the ST issue you guys are talking about?

#10 ganesh

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 03:34 AM

View Posthondo in seattle, on 03 October 2013 - 01:08 AM, said:

This is the one coaching hire I really didn't like.

With the speed we have on this team, you would think the ST coach would be able to figure out a better return yardage on Punts.  Agreed that the Bills have faced some really good kickers who have kicked pretty much touch backs against us.

#11 thebandit27

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 07:20 AM

I'm absolutely fine with Leonhard back there; he makes smart decisions, gets his 10 yards, and holds onto the ball.

Once Goodwin is healthy I might change my tune though.

#12 C.Biscuit97

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 07:58 AM

Jim Leonhard is our 2013 punt catcher.

Honestly, has Graham ever returned a punt?  It's not as easy as it is in Madden to just plug guys in back there.  A mishandled punt can change a game.

#13 jboyst62

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 08:11 AM

He is already supposed to be starting at LG... what more do you want of this guy?

#14 Turbosrrgood

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 08:11 AM

Have you ever seen TJ Graham try to catch a pass? He is completely unable to locate a ball and haul it in. The last thing I want to see is TJ muffing punts. I want to see less of him, not more. I wouldn't mind seeing Woods return punts, I'm not sure why he isn't.

#15 dollars 2 donuts

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 08:28 AM

View PostWebster Guy, on 02 October 2013 - 07:54 PM, said:

Yeah, I know.... I'm the guy who said TJ shouldn't even be in the NFL, but as long as he's going to be on our team we need to utilize his speed and alleged elusiveness.   Jim Leonard is sure-handed, but he clearly left some yards on the field last game with his fair catch decisions and lack of speed.

I find it unacceptable that our special teams plan for the season now has us giving full time punt return duties to a slow white guy that we signed a week before the season.   TJ has the ability to break one for us and impact this game.

I'm not worried about our defense, somehow Pettine and the boys will keep them under 20 points, but we are limping into Cleveland with serious injuries to our runners and the Browns defense appears to be the real deal.   Special teams can be the difference maker (cue the Marv Levy/Coe College fight song here...)

With that in mind, we need to bring some wrinkles they've never seen.   A short week makes that very hard to do offensively, but switching return men to someone they've never seen that has a totally different style makes sense here.  

A worthy risk/reward gamble IMO.

I'm sorry, but this is where our stunted, timid passing game needs to show up.  I know we are a run first team.  I know EJ is a rookie and love the guy, but we have got to find a way to start pushing teams a bit more in the mid range (10-20 yards) passing area.

I am not talking about the deep throws, although it would be nice if we connected on just a couple of those.  I just want the Browns to be a little worried that if they stack the box when we are at the 20 yard line that they have to give some consideration about Woods, Stevie, Scott or anyone else at about the 35 yard line.

Edited by dollars 2 donuts, 03 October 2013 - 08:29 AM.


#16 RuntheDamnBall

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 08:38 AM

All the speed in the world can't save you if you panic and drop the ball or misread its arrival.  I am sure there is a good reason that Leonhard is trusted out there while others are not.

Would be nice if Goodwin came back soon, though.  It would be nice to have another dimension to the scoring potential.

#17 Captain Caveman

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 09:25 AM

I fully expect tonight's game to come down to mistakes and field position.  Don't know that TJ is a guy I trust to play mistake free football doing something he hasn't done before.

#18 Captain Hindsight

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 09:31 AM

Id rather have a guy thats gonna catch it. Maybe Jimmy could catch it and hand it to TJ?

#19 Captain Caveman

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 09:34 AM

View PostCaptain Hindsight, on 03 October 2013 - 09:31 AM, said:

Id rather have a guy thats gonna catch it. Maybe Jimmy could catch it and hand it to TJ?

See, that's what our coaching staff needs, some real creativity.  I think we should totally run the end of the game lateral drill on EVERY kickoff and punt return.

#20 Cash

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 09:40 AM

Agreed with the "no Graham" sentiment -- Leonhard is sure-handed and unlikely to muff or fumble, even if it's unlikely he'll get you much more than 10 yards.  He actually had a few nice moves to avoid tacklers last week, but unfortunately couldn't quite get going quick enough to make anything out of it.  On the one return, he broke 3 tackles but only got an extra 5 yards.

If we're looking for a spark, the better option would be Nickell Robey, who actually showed some nice speed and PR instincts in preseason.  He also showed a severe tendency to muff punts, so I don't expect to see him on the job when games count, and I'm fine with that.