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Former Pitt QB Thinks Justin Fields Returning Kicks Makes Sense



Pittsburgh Steelers QB Justin Fields Super Bowl Odds

Justin Fields on kickoffs? Jaylen Warren’s quote on a podcast has picked up some steam after he suggested that special teams coach Danny Smith said they could use Fields on kickoffs, even though that seems unlikely.

“Our special teams coordinator was talking about Justin Fields being back there. We were like hold up. We looked at him like, ‘Justin Fields about to be back there?’” Warren said during an appearance on the Not Just Football podcast with Cam Heyward at the Steelers Draft Party a few weeks ago.

I’d imagine that Smith was joking or said that in jest. The Steelers signed All-Pro Cordarrelle Patterson for a reason, and that’s to return kicks. That move was made, coincidentally, on the same day where kickoff returns are being brought back to prominence.

The rule is based on one the XFL used for the last two springs. The ball is kicked off from the 35-yard line, like it is now, but instead of the kick coverage team being placed alongside the kicker, they are on the opposing 40-yard line. The blockers are lined up between the 30 and 35-yard line, 10 to 15 yards away.

Kicks must land inside the 20-yard line, and balls kicked into the end zone will now come all the way out to the 30-yard line, incentivizing teams to try to get the ball returned. Players can’t move until the ball is caught or hit the ground. Here’s an example of a touchdown returned by the San Antonio Brahmas last year.

With the new kickoff rule in place, former USC and Pitt quarterback Max Browne thinks Fields returning kickoffs actually makes a lot of sense. He did an extensive breakdown on how it could work, even providing analysis on how the Steelers could utilize Fields on a throwback play on returns.

“Because the field is more condensed (on the new kickoff format), guys backside away from the returner are going to have to make more aggressive angles to get involved. And this allows for the three dudes backside (on the kickoff team) to be extremely viable throwback options,” Browne said. “‘Well, Max what if they just don’t take aggressive angles?’ Well, that’s why you have Justin Field back there. He’s an electric runner. If they elect to stay at home, that’s just fewer dudes that Justin Fields has to run past.”

Since 2022, Fields has the most rushing yards by a quarterback with 1,800 yards and 6.3 yards per carry. Both figures are higher than Lamar Jackson’s. Fields is a dynamic runner, but it would be risky to put him on kickoffs, as he could be exposed to an injury. But former Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor views it as something that makes little sense to do.

“Me personally, I wouldn’t use Justin Fields as no damn kick returner, man,” Taylor said on the Bleav in Steelers Podcast. “We’re talking about a potential starting quarterback in the league.”

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Edward Carmichael
Edward Carmichael
May 10, 2024 9:15 am

as a true Steelers only all of the sports media groups and Steelers haters with their rat poison would come up with a stupid idea of having Justin Fields returning kicks