What we know, the good
Holliday is the fastest man on the field with the ball in his hands. If he finds a crease or a little bit of daylight, he is capable of returning the kick for a touchdown or even setting up the Broncos offense with great field position.
On the season he's averaged about 27 yards per kickoff return. He has returned a kick and a punt for a touchdown.
What we know, the bad
We know Holliday has issues with muffs and fumbling, in fact his overall punt numbers are down about a yard and a half per return this season. Here are the fumble/muff numbers just from this season.
Holliday has 5 fumbles on 81 returnable kicks (6.17%), 2nd highest in the league, he has 9 muffed punts, leads the league. Combined Trindon has 14 fumbles/muffs on 81 returnable kicks (15.7%) and averages a muff or fumble once every 6.7 returns.
(Many thanks to Topher Doll for compiling the data, note that those numbers include touchbacks that weren't kicked out of the endzone)
What we know, affect on offense
There have been several instances where Holliday has returned a kick for a touchdown, and the opposing offense gets two drives in a row. More importantly our offense gets to sit on the sideline and get cold. We witnessed it against the Ravens in the playoffs last year, against the Giants earlier in the season, it is a real phenomenon.
Can he be trusted?
The Broncos will be in tight games during the playoffs. It's the nature of the beast. Just like during the season when they played tight for a while only to pull away. Do I expect fast starts? Doesn't matter. Question is in a tight game, can Trindon Holliday be trusted not to muff a kick? His stats tell us it's only a matter of time.
Holliday is more of a liability to the Broncos, well, on punts that is. This is the area by far where he struggles the most. I am far less worried about him fumbling the ball on a kickoff than I am him muffing a punt. Even though the Broncos are the most prolific offense in NFL history, and his TD returns have made the offense sit for longer periods of time, I will not make the argument that his return touchdowns are a detriment to the team. You take scores anyway you can get them. It's on Peyton and the offense to stay checked into the game and on rhythm.
If I were the Broncos, I would allow Holliday to return kickoffs only. He will get more opportunities now in the cold weather altitude aside. Any mistakes he makes handling the kick can be mitigated and solved with the longer time for coverage units to cover the field on a kickoff.
As far as punts? Don't know if the Broncos have anyone else that could handle the responsibility, but hopefully someone else has been getting reps. And no, I do not want Wes Welker or Eric Decker returning punts. Anyone have Jim Leonard's number?
What do you think MHR, is Trindon Holliday an asset or liability?