Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Jeremy Ross Keeps His Job as Returner
I’ve covered before how utterly terrible Jeremy Ross was as a third receiver, but I’m not going to beat that dead horse. No, I’m going to talk instead about his ability as a returner. After a promising 2013 that saw Ross make a few mistakes but overall show well as both a punt and kick returner, Ross regressed in 2014. His coverage was poor, which is why the Lions have a new ST coach in Joe Marciano. Ross still managed to land 10th in KR average and 15th in PR average.
Looking Closer: Ross also managed the 9th worst long punt return, never getting longer than 28 yards. Only three teams had a shorter long kick return, with Ross having only a single return of more than 40 yards. No TEAM had more fair catches than Jeremy Ross did in 2014 since the 2007 Houston Texans led by…ST coach Joe Marciano. His averages look nice in a bubble, but when you look at his special teams production as a whole it’s pretty easy to see that it was extremely poor. Bad coverage contributed, but there were moments when his cover guys were telling him to stay in that he ran out and times when they set up blocks and he waved it off. He also fumbled five times in 2014, which is inexcusable.
Who it Hurts: The Detroit Lions roster hasn’t had a viable kick or punt return option in years. They have this weird tendency to sign aging receivers as returners, with Ross being the YOUNGEST returner since 2009 at 27. The team spent considerable time and energy looking into return options during the draft period, then didn’t draft one. They were still looking prior to the supplemental draft this past week, and still didn’t pick one. It’s beginning to look desperate, but the only person really hurt by this is Detroit Lions fans who are going to be screaming at their screens for another season when they start yet another drive with poor field position.
Next: The ManRam Returns