Patriots, Edelman look to improve kickoff returns
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- Catching kickoffs is the easy part for the New England Patriots. Not knowing what's at the end of the return is the big challenge.
And their returns last season usually finished not very far down the field.
Only three teams averaged fewer than the Patriots' 21.4 yards. Only two had their longest return of the year cover less than New England's 37 yards. So they're giving players other than primary kickoff returners Danny Woodhead and Julian Edelman a chance to handle the ball during training camp.
Among those who have been used are running backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen and wide receiver Donte' Stallworth.
Woodhead returned 20 kickoffs last year for an average of 21.9 yards. Edelman, the primary punt returner, brought back 12 kickoffs for a 23.7-yard average.