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Mailbag: Who Will Return Kickoffs and Punts?

Posted Jun 5, 2014

The popular fan mailbag returns to answer your burning Chargers questions.

Q: Who is impressing at OTAs? Who have you taken note of? – Paco L.

A:  First off, it’s great to see the team back on the practice fields at Chargers Park!  There are far too many impressive players to single out just one, but a player I have taken note of is David Johnson.  Every time he’s on the field he’s being used in a different way.  The free agent acquisition not only lines up as a traditional tight end, but is also in the slot, in motion and even in the backfield as a fullback. So I’ve been really intrigued by the new tight end and what he brings to the table.  I spoke with him last week, and he said he embraces his hybrid role.  Johnson considers himself a throwback player who enjoys the dirty work that often goes unnoticed.

Q: I believe the most important improvement my Chargers need is in the return game.  Do we have explosive enough players in kickoff and punt return? – Larry Isom

A: Excellent question.  The competition for returner may be the one I’m most eager to see come training camp and the preseason.  General Manager Tom Telesco added a number of dynamic returners this offseason, and he addressed it during a recent live chat on Chargers.com:

“It was and is a high priority. Being able to flip field position with a great return game is a big part of winning and losing. We think we have some really good candidates this year, and our hope is that someone emerges.”

So who might that person be?  It appears rookies Tevin Reese, Marion Grice, Brelan Chancellor and Javontee Herndon will all get a crack at it, as well as returning vets Eddie Royal and Keenan Allen.


Q: What’s a cool part of practice fans might not think is cool? – Tamir Kuthra

A:  I’m fascinated with punting!  Of all the athletic feats accomplished on the field, I’m always impressed by a player’s ability to punt that ball so high, far and accurate with long hang time.  That’s especially true for a guy like Mike Scifres who is one of the best in the business.  If you’re coming to training camp this year during one of our 10 open dates, devote some time to watching Scifres.  I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Q: How is King Dunlap doing? We need him to dominate this year. – Paul Zamarripa

A: My first impression from watching Dunlap in practice is he looks the same as he did a year ago.  The left tackle was a huge success story for the 2013 Bolts and was a major contributor on a formidable offensive line.  Like many of his teammates, Dunlap is also a tremendous presence in the locker room.  He’s taken some of the younger members of the line under his wing, and is often in the ear of Johnnie Troutman.   Dunlap is a guy I’ve been meaning to check in with so hopefully I will have a story on him in the coming weeks. 



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