There are a number of reasons to take preseason depth charts with a grain of salt, largely because they’re compiled by PR staffs and not coaching staffs.
But they’re also very fluid, as the case in Arizona shows. The Cardinals currently list fourth-year running back Kerwynn Williams as their “starting” punt returner, even though he’s never returned a punt in a game.
This might not have been a problem except for the wrist injury which will keep rookie T.J. Logan out most if not all this season, sending the Cardinals back to their perpetual search for a return man.
“It’s a rare, rare knack to return punts,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said, via Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic.
The Cardinals have some options, even if they don’t want to use all of them. For example, Arians said star cornerback Patrick Peterson was in his “back pocket,” but his value to the defense was a large part of the reason they’ve been looking for someone else to do it since 2012. Receiver John Brown‘s another option, but putting an offensive starter back there also comes with a risk not everyone’s willing to take.
The Cardinals were 30th in the league in punt returns last year, and they’ve used seven guys other than Peterson the last four years to do it. That number’s going to grow, until they find someone they can trust to be moderately productive.