The LA Rams need both a punt and kick returner this year. So who will return the kicks?
The LA Rams special teams are in a bit of flux right now. In fact, the only certainty for the Rams is that the punting duties will be handled by All-Pro punter Johnny Hekker. After that? It’s anyone’s guess. Well, some guesses have already been made by some of the national media, but that’s likely just based in the past players who have remained on the roster. For example, both ESPN’s depth chart for the LA Rams and CBS Sports depth chart for the Rams agree that the punt returner will be Nsimba Webster and the kick returner will be Greg Dortch.
Per Lineups.com, the LA Rams punt return team from 2019 was ranked 15th in the NFL, while the kick return team finished 30th in the NFL. That likely contributed to the team’s interest in parting ways with return specialist JoJo Natson and even wide receiver Mike Thomas, who also helped in the return game.
Bonamego is a new dealer
The LA Rams have a new dealer for special teams -John Bonamego. While in Detroit, the Lions boasted the 8th-ranked punt return and the 25th-ranked kick return squad in the NFL. Unlike the Rams election to go with smaller but fast receivers, Bonamego assigned both punt and kick return duties to Lions 5-foot-10 190-pound cornerback Jamal Agnew. For punts, Agnew split the duties with 5-foot-11 185-pound wide receiver Danny Amendola. What that suggests is that Bonamego will have a primary return specialist for both kicks and punts, but will add a second punt returner to protect either sideline.
So the Rams will likely employ the same basic principals in the return game. Two punt returners who will split the field, and one of those two as the kick returner. That is easy enough. But now comes the hard part. Who will win out the jobs for the Rams return specialist(s)? And there is where the competition will glow red-hot.