Denver Broncos rookie punt returner Isaiah McKenzie is heading back to the bench after another fumble in their 35–9 loss to the Miami Dolphins last Sunday.
During a press conference on Monday, Broncos head coach Vance Joseph has confirmed that Jordan Taylor is going to be their punt returner for the remainder of the season after McKenzie committed his sixth fumble of the season.
McKenzie was benched for two games prior to Sunday’s game due to his inability to field punts cleanly. He likely won’t get another chance to prove his worth this season, but the Broncos are not giving up on him just yet.
“With the ball in his hand, he’s a special returner. Obviously he’s had trouble catching the ball and taking care of the football, and I thought personally that two weeks [inactive] would help him overcome that. That wasn’t so,” Joseph said, via the Broncos’ official website.
“He needs more time. I’m not giving up on Isaiah. He was drafted to be our punt returner,” he continued.
As Joseph has noted, McKenzie has the skill set to become a productive return man. He possesses elite speed and this allows him to dodge defenders, but he has to hold on to the ball if he wants to help his team win. He can’t keep on giving it away to the opposing team because these miscues are costly.
Still, McKenzie showed a lot of potential during his time at the University of Georgia. That’s why the Broncos selected him in the fifth round of this year’s draft. This setback should inspire the rookie to improve his game.
“[I'm hoping to show] that I can be better. Lay low on the fumbles — no fumbles. Just cut off on the mistakes [and have] better decision-making,” McKenzie said, according to the team’s official website.