Cleveland Browns: Corey Coleman an option in the return game?
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns are in need of help in the return game and may turn to explosive wide receiver Corey Coleman to solve the problem.
The Cleveland Browns selected Corey Coleman in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft with the hope that he could provide an explosive spark to the offense.
But the team may be looking for additional ways to get the ball into the hands of the speedster from Baylor.
Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor met with the media on Wednesday and said the Browns are kicking around the idea of employing Coleman as a return on the punt and kickoff return teams.
“He’s an explosive player and he’s developing right now so we’re working on all of those things,” Tabor said in published reports. “He obviously has great speed. He has some really good short-area quickness, a make-you-miss type guy and then has a good burst to go. He’s doing a nice job for us and we’ve just got to keep developing him.”
It is an interesting idea, and one not without its merits. The idea of Coleman using his speed to rip off long gains is appealing, and working from a short field is always appealing, especially for an offense that struggles to find the end zone as much as the Browns have in recent years.
Coleman has some experience on the kickoff team, having returned 25 kicks for an average of 26 yards per return during his three years at Baylor. However, 17 of those returns came during his freshman season as his role on offense became more important to the Bears the past two seasons.
As for punt returns? Coleman returned all of three punts – for a total of nine yards – while at Baylor, which is something that, despite Tabor’s enthusiasm, gives assistant head coach of offense Pep Hamilton pause.
“You don’t learn to catch and return kicks at the NFL level,” Hamilton said in published reports. “Either you can do it or you can’t. The instincts that you’ve got to have as well as just the overall skill set, that’s something that I’m sure Corey can do and he’s probably done it in the past. That’s not my expertise, but he’s a talented kid, and he’s a guy that can score the ball.
“So however we can get the ball in his hands, returning kicks, throwing screen routes, throwing post routes, we know that he’ll score the ball.”
More from Dawg Pound Daily
- How the Browns could maximize Nick Chubb in 2023
- Can Deshaun Watson get to Patrick Mahomes level for Cleveland Browns?
- 3 Cleveland Browns who should see an expanded role in 2023 and 1 who should not
- Is Marcus Davenport on the Browns radar in 2023?
- 5 Free agents from Super Bowl LVII Cleveland Browns should target
The Browns need to do something, especially in the punt game, after losing returner Travis Benjamin to free agency. Benjamin is also an example of how a team can use a starting wide receiver on special teams, although he came into the NFL with far more experience in that role after returning 59 punts and 49 kickoffs while at Miami.
It is also worth noting that Benjamin suffered his season-ending knee injury in 2013 while returning a punt, so the Browns need to be careful here.
And if Coleman were to take on kickoff return duties, that closes what may be Justin Gilbert‘s best chance to make the roster as the first-round bust has little chance of seeing the field on defense this fall.
This is all still in the exploratory stage for the Browns, but the team does need someone to take over the punt return duties at the very least. Seeing if Coleman can add some firepower to that role will be another interesting storyline to watch during training camp and the preseason.
Next: 5 important veterans for 2016
How do you feel about this Browns fans? Should the team utilize Corey Coleman in the return game or is the risk too high?