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Golden Tate, Jamal Agnew to split punt returns; Dwayne Washington on kick return

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X_Factor_40    9
 
Lions receiver Golden Tate is expected to share punt return duties with Jamal Agnew this season.

 

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The Detroit Lions receiver has won a share of the punt returner job, along with rookie Jamal Agnew. They are expected to both be deployed this season, and both could get looks Sunday in the opener against Arizona.

Dwayne Washington, a second-year running back, has won the kick returner job as expected.

 

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"We'll have both Golden and Agnew working in terms of our punt return," Caldwell said. "You'll probably see them both."

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Tate was one of the league's most dangerous punt returners during his days in Seattle. He had eight punt returns of at least 20 yards in 2013, his final year before joining Detroit, and averaged 11.5 yards per attempt. That trailed only Dexter McCluster leaguewide, and ProFootballFocus ranked him as the league's No. 1 return man.

But Detroit has elected to take Tate off special teams during most of his three years here, as it tried to balance the possibility of a big play with the risk of injury. But Tate did get 20 cracks at it in 2015, averaging 7.5 yards per attempt. 

 

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"I like punt return because it's your chance to go play backyard football, kind of catch the ball and make a play," Tate said. "On offense, there's a line that tells you you need to break at this depth and come at this angle. On punt return, you catch the ball, read your blocks and just go. That's what I love about it."

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As for Agnew, he's a dynamic athlete who averaged 12.7 yards per punt return last year at the University of San Diego. That was eighth best in the country.

"He's shown he can track the ball," Caldwell said. "Doesn't mean he's perfect, but when he gets the ball in his hands, he's also got quickness and speed too. He can make a guy miss, and that's what you have to do -- make a guy or two miss before you get to the wall, or the setup in terms of the blocking, and he's shown he has the ability to do that. 

"He's got a good measure of talent now. For a young guy, he's got maturity, he's got focus, and he'll be helping us out in a number of different areas."

 

 

What do you expect out of the Lions punt and kick return units this season?

Do you like the news of Tate returning punts, or do you have concerns about it opening him up to potential injury?
Where would you rank the Lions kick and punt return units compared to the rest of the NFC/NFL?

What kind of numbers do you expect our return men to put up this season?

Any other thoughts? Let us hear them!

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Louis Friend    10

No one stood out on returns in the preseason. Agnew fair caught everything but the ball he lost in the sun in Indy. Billingsley and Abbrederis didn't earn the spots. This is basically out of necessity at this point. I just hope Tate doesn't get injured because of this move. 

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X_Factor_40    9
1 hour ago, Louis Friend said:

No one stood out on returns in the preseason. Agnew fair caught everything but the ball he lost in the sun in Indy. Billingsley and Abbrederis didn't earn the spots. This is basically out of necessity at this point. I just hope Tate doesn't get injured because of this move. 

Tate getting injured is my main concern, but it'll be fun to watch. If he did go down, it would be interesting to see Golladay move into a larger role in the offense, so I suppose it wouldn't be the worst thing to ever happen. Although, it would be nice to keep all of the offensive weapons healthy and on the field together as long as possible. 

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