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Jordan Taylor to replace Isaiah McKenzie as punt returner

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‘We need to get the ball caught,’ says the head coach in announcing his decision.

NFL: Preseason-Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos are turning a light on their punt returning darkness by hoping that a little Sunshine is going to do the trick.

Vance Joseph announced Wednesday that third-year wide receiver Jordan Taylor would replace rookie Isaiah McKenzie for that special teams assignment.

McKenzie muffed his fifth punt of the season Sunday night on what would have been the Broncos’ first drive of the game. Instead, he gifted the Patriots an easy start inside the red zone after the Broncos’ defense had held Tom Brady & Co. to three-and-out.

The rookie wide receiver had been named the returner midway through training camp. His speed and elusiveness made him an early favorite by coaches, averaging 9.3 yards on his 20 returns so far this year, which is 12th in the league. McKenzie’s 44-yard return during the Eagles game was also impressive, but his propensity to cough up the ball was just too much for the coach to keep him listed as starting returner.

“I want to get the ball caught,” Joseph said, noting that’s the first job description for a punt returner. “We want a 10-yard average — that’s a decent average — and after that it’s up to a guy to make a play, but we have to get the ball caught. ...Jordan is going to be the guy until Isaiah can come out of not catching the football.”

Taylor has been a regular on special teams this season when active, but he has only tried returning punts in preseason games. Known as much for his locks as for his help getting Peyton Manning ready for a playoff comeback, Taylor has been a pretty sure target, catching five of his nine targets.

“He’ll do it right for us,” Joseph said.

Poll

Do you like the choice for new punt returner?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    What kind of ridiculous question is that?
    (162 votes)
  • 44%
    Sure, but it’s a few muffs too late
    (434 votes)
  • 38%
    I don’t care who it is, just catch the dang ball!
    (372 votes)
968 votes total Vote Now