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Benjamin likely to lose return duties

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Blue Bolt, Oct 4, 2016.

  1. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Chargers may pull Travis Benjamin as punt returner
    Michael Gehlken

    Travis Benjamin may have let his last punt bounce for a while.

    This year, for the second straight spring, the Chargers signed a wide receiver with a proven track record for being a spark in the return game. Last year’s investment did not pan out; that possibility was somewhat foreseeable given the mileage on Jacoby Jones’ tires. But after four games, what seemed unimaginable is now reality: the team is considering a change from Benjamin as its punt returner.

    It’s how the ball bounces.

    The Chargers are one of three NFL teams who have yet to field a fair catch. The Lionsand Chiefs are the others. But this team has not been without opportunity, and that is part of the issue.

    The most recent example came in the third quarter of Sunday’s 35-34 loss to the Saints. Benjamin could have caught a punt as it dropped to his 18-yard line. Instead, he waved his arms sideways and shouted a call, signaling the nearby jammer to avoid contact with the ball. Benjamin then was left to watch as the punt bounced to the 4-yard line.

    Special teams is a game of hidden yardage.

    In a close game, that yardage becomes glaring.

    Coach Mike McCoy declined to commit Monday to Benjamin as his punt returner this Sunday in Oakland.

    “We’ll discuss that as a staff as the week goes on moving forward,” McCoy said. “But he knows those balls can’t hit the ground like that. It’s happened too often. We’ve got to field the ball. We’ve talked about it, we’ve discussed it, and we’ve got to fix it.”

    It is almost surreal this is a conversation at this point.

    Benjamin ranked third in the league with 11.6 yards per punt return in 2015. That included a 78-yard touchdown in Week 4 against the Chargers. By comparison, the Chargers averaged 4.2 yards per return last season, tied for the NFL’s third-worst mark since 1980.

    Running back Dexter McCluster is the heir apparent if the Chargers do make a switch. On Sunday, Benjamin had his longest return of the season. He and McCluster were split at return depth to field a Thomas Morstead directional punt. Benjamin caught the 52-yarder, faked a reverse toss to McCluster and gained 18 yards.

    There is no doubt his quickness is well suited for the role.

    But things have been a little too interesting back there of late.

    Benjamin, 26, muffed a Week 3 punt while the Chargers trailed the Colts 20-19 in the fourth quarter. The team avoided disaster, as cornerback Jason Verrett recovered the ball at the 18-yard line. Verrett, though, was injured on the play. In Week 2, Benjamin allowed a first-quarter Jaguars punt to drop at the 33. It bounced and rolled to the 23.

    His track record suggests these plays could be part of a slow start.

    For now, he is averaging 7.6 yards per punt return, good for 31st in the NFL.

    “He’s got to make some better decisions,” McCoy said. “We’ve discussed that with him. He understands that. ...We’ve got to clean some things up.”

    Notable
    • Damion Square served his time. The Chargers defensive tackle is officially back with the club after having missed the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Square technically is not on the 53-man roster yet; he was given a roster exemption. A move to clear a spot for him could be made in the coming days. Square has not practiced with the team in about a month, but he was able to attend meetings and train at the facility.
    • Left tackle King Dunlap missed his second game Sunday to migraines. His status remains day to day. “He was feeling better when I talked to him today,” McCoy said Monday. “He was feeling a lot better, so we’ll see (if he can practice) when we get to Wednesday.”
    • Sure, the Chargers blew a 13-point fourth-quarter lead Sunday. But on the bright side, for the first time this season, the team didn’t have to schedule a player surgery the next day. Inside linebacker Denzel Perryman (shoulder), tackle Chris Hairston (groin), tackle Joe Barksdale (foot) and guard Orlando Franklin (knee) were among the players who suffered injuries. None appear overly significant. “There is no major injury concern as of today,” McCoy said of his roster coming out of the game.
    michael.gehlken@sduniontribune.com

    Twitter: @SDUTgehlken
     
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  2. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    The problem isn't that he's not effective as a returner. He absolutely is good when he gets the ball in his hand.

    But jesus christ I've never seen someone completely and utterly misjudge every punt in terms of letting it go.
     
  3. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    He also avoids contact more than any returner I've ever seen.

    It's like watching Cromartie "attempt" a game saving tackle in the playoffs. :laugh:
     
  4. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

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    This needed to be done regardless. He's the defacto #1 receiver now. He shouldn't be exposed to injury on punt return duties.
     
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  5. Chaincrusher

    Chaincrusher BoltTalker

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    That is also a problem. Tyrell Williams needs to be the #1 WR. He has the size that has worked well with Rivers in the past. He has all of the physical tools. He has the ability to emerge as the #1 WR, but he needs reps to get there.

    Benjamin reminds me of Royal, a quicker but smaller WR that lacks the catch radius needed to make some catches. He can be effective, but he is not a #1 WR.
     
  6. jackfrost

    jackfrost Well-Known Member

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    Damian Square BACKKKKKK Baby..... Whoop woop.

    Problems solved, Super Bowl bound.
     
  7. jackfrost

    jackfrost Well-Known Member

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    Adjusted accordingly ..... Welcome. :tup:
     
  8. Lawyers guns & money

    Lawyers guns & money BoltTalker

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    He's a little thin guy. Punt returning and going over the middle arent the smartest ways to use him
     
  9. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    He's been a top returner, so I don't know why you'd say that. He's held up fine so far. However, he is an outside WR, so he wasn't really used to running in the slot. That probably didn't help when it came to the turnover. It was still a totally unacceptable play though.... fumbling without contact is never justifiable.
     
  10. Lawyers guns & money

    Lawyers guns & money BoltTalker

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    You're right he was good at Cleveland but I cringe when I see him back there with our injury luck. We're too thin at wr to risk it. Charger luck.
     
  11. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    The simple truth is the season was ****** when Allen went down in the 1st game...... The team knew it, that's why they collapsed.
     
  12. ShowYourBolts

    ShowYourBolts Offering free samples.

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    Antonio Brown scoffs at your opinion.
     
  13. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

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    Mr. Antonio Brown has my permission to do whatever he wants with my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2016
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  14. ShowYourBolts

    ShowYourBolts Offering free samples.

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    He's average size for a punt returner. Hell. McCluster is even smaller.
     
  15. jackfrost

    jackfrost Well-Known Member

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    Yeah he's small, but he does have the "FARG factor" in his favour that others merely dream of.
     
  16. ShowYourBolts

    ShowYourBolts Offering free samples.

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    To be honest, those undersized guys in the league don't worry me all that much. They've gotten to where they are because they're tough and have been able to reach the highest level despite their lack of size. And nearly all of those guys have to have that "Farg factor" as you put it, since those little dudes need to run away from or avoid everyone possible.
     
  17. jackfrost

    jackfrost Well-Known Member

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    C'mon Sybil, there have been plenty of "little guys" who have left their mark on the NFL over the years, couple of Charger champs come to mind immediately in Lionel Little Train James and Sprolsey ofcourse, tough as nails, quick feet and great balance, a necessary recipe if one is to stay around in this league.

    But only Dexy has the "McClusterfuck factor" my friend. ;)
     
  18. Pointyearedog

    Pointyearedog I only put idiots on ignore...

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    ^^^ Dexy's Midnight Runners also comes to mind... Come on, Eileen!!!
     
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  19. ShowYourBolts

    ShowYourBolts Offering free samples.

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    I was referring more to the truly little guys. Dude's like Desean Jackson and Antonio Brown or McClusterfuck and Benji.
     
  20. ShowYourBolts

    ShowYourBolts Offering free samples.

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    I don't count short guys as automatically being "small". Sproles was short, there was nothing small about him. Steve Smith and MJD also come to mind.
     
  21. jackfrost

    jackfrost Well-Known Member

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    Exactly ..... :tup:

    No way you can hear the word "Dexy" and NOT think of that song.

    p.s .... it was "Come on Eileen" by the way Pointy, but who the McClusterfuck gives a rat's toss bag, right. ;)
     
  22. jackfrost

    jackfrost Well-Known Member

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    Oh NO, they were built like mini sherman tanks, well at least MJD and Sprolesy were.

    Dude's like Desean Jackson and Antonio Brown, McClusterfuck and Benji are all under 185 and light frames, but have brilliant evasive skeeeeeells.

    And that Trindon Holliday dude is like 5' 5" 165 wringing wet .............. and a return specialist to boot, bastard's crazy !!! :confused:
     
  23. Pointyearedog

    Pointyearedog I only put idiots on ignore...

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    Fixed it.
     
  24. Lance19

    Lance19 BoltTalker

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    I'd agree.
    Though, with Sproles, it seems to me that he decided to add muscle for protection as his career developed.
    I remember meeting him in '06, the year he lost the whole season to the ankle problem,
    and he was a lot slighter than the stud most people think of....
     

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