Once again, Chiefs’ special teams grab fans’ attention
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — OK, OK, it’s a small sample size, just two games.
But whoa, there’s something truly dynamic going on with these Chiefs’ special teams. Don’t you dare leave your seats.
And those around the NFL would expect no less now that Dave Toub is running the show — Toub earned the reputation as one of the elite special-teams coaches in the league for eight years with the Chicago Bears.
Now Chiefs fans are getting an upfront view of his magic touch. On Friday night against the 49ers, Quintin Demps returned a kickoff 104 yards for a breathtaking touchdown in the first quarter. Later in the half, speedy wideout Devon Wylie nearly broke a punt all the way, settling for a 52-yard return.
In all, Toub’s troops piled up 265 total return yards in a 15-13 loss at Arrowhead Stadium.
Add that to the Chiefs’ special teams’ showing in the first preseason game against New Orleans — a 55-yard punt return by Dexter McCluster and a 79-yard kickoff return by Knile Davis.
The Chiefs picked right back up again Friday night.
“It was exciting, man,” Demps said of his touchdown. “They did a good job blocking for me. It was a pretty hole.
“When I see the hole that big, I just go. Just go.”
And it’s beginning to seem like it doesn’t matter who is actually returning the kicks under Toub — the holes are always there.
“Just great blocking schemes and great execution,” Demps said.
It’s obviously more than a welcome sight for Chiefs fans, who haven’t seen a return for a touchdown in a regular-season game since the home opener in 2010 when McCluster sloshed through the mud at Arrowhead for a 94-yard punt return.
The Chiefs haven’t had a kickoff return for a touchdown since Jamaal Charles bolted 97 yards for a score against Pittsburgh in 2009.
Informed of Charles’ feat, Demps seemed incredulous.
“Jamaal? Jamaal Charles? He’s got some return game in him?” Demps said. “I’ll have to ask him for some tips.”
Actually, Demps hardly needs much advice. He was drafted by Andy Reid in Philadelphia in 2008 and returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown that same year.
After being let go by the Eagles in 2010, Demps caught on with the Houston Texans and returned five kicks for a 33.8 average for them in 2011.
Demps, a safety, signed with the Chiefs in May and isn’t sure what his role will be here.
“I didn’t know anything when I signed here,” he said. “I just signed the paper. If (returning kicks is) what they want me to do, that’s what I’ll do. Just give me the opportunity.”
Demps got that chance Friday, taking a kickoff in the end zone, powering up the middle, then making a sharp cut to his right when he saw the sea part.
Demps sped down the right sideline virtually untouched.
“Such a huge hole,” he said. “That’s when I knew I might go. I just had to outrun everyone.”
Demps certainly helped his cause to secure a job Friday night.
“We’ll see how it goes,” he said. “I hope so.
“I just know Coach Toub does a great job. They really set up good blocking. We do have to play a little smarter at times. We had some penalties that we have to take back, that’s for sure. But we’ve got tremendous coaching.”
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at email@example.com.