The Pittsburgh Steelers’ kickoff return woes look to end as new addition Knile Davis looks to spark the team to new heights in the return game.
In the game of football, field position can prove to be the difference between wins and losses. Starting a drive at the 30-yard line as opposed to the 20 can work miracles for an offense. While the Pittsburgh Steelers have possessed one of the more potent offenses in the last five years, the same cannot be said about the kickoff return unit.
That’s not to discredit the team, however. Pittsburgh has noticed a problem and gave an honest effort to fix what has been broken since Antwaan Randle El departed some six years ago. To the dismay of Steelers faithful, the likes of Jacoby Jones, Dri Archer and Felix Jones were brought in and failed, miserably. Knile Davis can help remedy.
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Brought in via free agency on a one-year veteran minimum contract worth $775,000, Davis was brought to the steel city with special teams as the main agenda. Davis currently sits in a crowded Steelers backfield with star running back Le’Veon Bell and freshly drafted rookie James Conner, and likely will see little action with the offensive unit.
Kickoff returns may be the only action Davis sees, as even Knile himself acknowledges this in a recent interview via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
“That’s part of the reason they brought me here,” he said. “I definitely think I can help this team with that.”
Help on kickoff returns is certainly what the doctor ordered, and Davis is the prescription.
Davis’ track-star speed and ability to accelerate through a gap is what makes him stand out as a returner, something the Steelers need when the ball leaves the tee. While not reaching Devin Hester-level heights while running kicks back, Davis has proven himself to be a threat when the ball is in his hands, and has flashed his assets on one of football’s biggest stages in the NFL Playoffs.
Special teams are often overlooked until they are needed the most. Pittsburgh, fresh off a division title and an appearance in the AFC championship game, has as prevalent opportunity as ever to return to the Super Bowl for the first time in seven years. Knile Davis as a return man won’t single-handedly bring the Steelers back to the promise land. Yet should the return struggles get under control, that puts Pittsburgh one step closer to their goal, and Knile Davis is ready to play that role.