While the most evident problem within the Miami Dolphins last season was their abysmal offensive line and inconsistent offensive production, another phase of their team that struggled was kickoff and punt returning. It would be easy to say that KR/PR Marcus Thigpen struggled as a result of a poor return team, but the games I noticed “Thiggy” struggling it was a result of his own poor decision making.
Marcus Thigpen two seasons ago was a highlight of this Miami Dolphins team. In 2012, he totaled 316 yards on 26 punt returns (12.2 avg and 1 TD) and totaled 1,040 yards on 38 kickoff returns (27.4 yd/avg and 1 TD). Overall, Thigpen had a great rookie season, and provided multiple flips of the field for the Dolphins’ Offense.
Last season, Thigpen dropped off big time. On punt returns, he had just 264 total yards on 34 returns for an average of 7.8 yards/return and 0 TD’s. On kickoff returns, he had 878 yards on 39 returns (22.5 yards/return and 0 TD’s). The statistics speak for themselves, Thigpen just did not produce as well has he did in his first year.
I was personally glad that Miami passed on FA special teams star Devin Hester. I think Hester is past his prime, and though he may still be able to produce the occasional big return, he is not worth the money. I hope to see the Dolphins draft a speedy receiver or secondary defender who doubles as a return specialist. If not, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Dolphins promote someone already on the team to compete with Thigpen as a return man. I think the competition would do both players some good. Special Teams is too important for a team to just be average at it. Arguably Miami’s most consistent and therefore valuable player on the entire roster is P Brandon Fields, who continuously pushed teams back and flipped fields.
It is worth a thought.