LA Chargers News

Punt Returner: Cason or Sproles

By Ernie Padaon

Here is a comparison of the numbers:Antoine CasonCollege Career Punt Returns: 27 Ret, 271 Yds, 10.0 Avg, 2 TD2010 Punt Returns: 5 Ret, 76 Yds, 15.2 Avg, 0 TD, Long: 42 Yds

Darren SprolesCareer Punt Returns: 40 Ret, 378 Yds, 9.5 Avg, 1 TDNFL Career Punt Returns: 114 Ret, 935  Yds, 8.2 Avg, 2 TD2010 Punt Returns: 24 Ret, 166 Yds, 6.9 Avg, 0 TD, Long: 16 YdsAntoine Cason got his first opportunity to return punts against the Kansas City Chiefs and showed that he can provide a spark to the punt returning game. Darren Sproles has struggled with punt returns all season. He muffed one catch and I am pretty sure he fumbled on a return earlier in the season. His longest return this year has been for 16 yards. Cason averaged 15.2 yards on Sunday and had a long of 42 yards.

Sproles had one of his better games running the football on Sunday and I am not sure if there is any correlation from him being taken off punt return duties. Maybe he got more reps running the ball in practice (but pretty sure that he didn’t since he had to sit some practices with the concussion). Maybe he was more motivated since someone was taking over his punt return job. Maybe Kansas City just played that poorly on Sunday. Whatever it is, I liked the Sproles that we saw this last Sunday and I liked the punt returns I saw on Sunday as well.

Playing Cason would also help us determine what we have for the  future. Darren Sproles is in the final year of his contract that  pays him $7.2 million. Sproles should not be on the team next season unless he takes a dramatic pay cut. Without Sproles on the team, we would need to find the new threat to return punts. Antoine Cason may already be that guy.

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