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Dolphins' Jarvis Landry And Walt Aikens To Compete With Thigpen?

Miami Dolphins return specialist and running back Marcus Thigpen is entering his third season with the team, and struggled at times last season.  He averaged 5 yards less in both punt and kick returning than he did his rookie season (complete stats can be seen here), and often made poor decisions on whether or not to field a ball and which way to run.  He did not look as comfortable as he did two years ago, and I think it may be time for the Dolphins to give him some competition.

The Dolphins recently drafted WR Jarvis Landry from LSU and CB Walt Aikens out of Liberty, and both players had some (albeit little) experience returning kicks and punts in college.  While Aikens possesses the ideal speed (he ran a 4.49 forty yard dash), it is Landry who arguably has the surest hands from this year’s draft.

I would like to see Jarvis Landry work towards getting some reps as Miami’s punt returner, and would like to see both Landry and Aikens given a chance at competing with Thigpen on kickoff returns.  Landry’s good hands would come in handy when fielding both punts and kicks, as there were times last season when I cringed and wondered if Thigpen would cleanly field high arching balls coming his way.  As for Aikens, I don’t think it would hurt to see what he brings to the table on kickoffs.  When its all said and done, a little competition never hurt, and would either light a fire under the mediocre Thigpen, or provide the ‘Fins with a new spark at the return man position. FINS UP!

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  • Pygskyn

    While I like Landry and believe that competition is a good thing, I just can’t see him taking return duties with his physical skillset. Yeah, he’d be surehanded, but in a returner you really need to couple that with some blazing speed. I like the Idea of Aiken pushing Thiggy though. Honestly, I don’t mind Landry seeing some reps as well, but I would seriously temper expectations from that experiment.

    • Eric Roddy

      good thought, but D bess wasnt very fast for the dolphins, and yet was a great punt returner! I agree with the speed but I would also like to know for sure that our returner will field the punts accurately every time! Now on kickoffs, I say we go for a burner!

      • Pygskyn

        Fair enough on Punt returns… but yeah, on Kickoff returns we definitely need somebody that is blazing fast.

      • Paulmatthew22

        Bess was TERRIBLE as a punt returner,.I DONT KNOW WHAT YOU WERE WATCHING,.He muffed a TON of punts as well,.Really>?

        • Eric Roddy

          He muffed a few, but he also knew when to field the ball and when not to. Bess had solid hands, which is my point. Landry has even better hands than Bess, and is quicker. But you are right Bess did muff a few….doesnt mean he was AWFUL though.

  • Gregory Hutchinson

    Your punt returner @ kick off returner can be 2 totally different players. You want your punt returner to me more quick than fast, & your KR the opposite. When returning kicks you usually have a good 10 r 15 yds. before you have to account for anyone & when returning punts you can get blasted as soon as u catch the ball. Your punt returner needs great hands & to be fearless. You are usually trying to make 2 or 3 players miss you instantly.