One of owner Dan Snyder’s first awful moves was essentially cutting Brian Mitchell to make way for Deion Sanders in 2000. Twenty years later, the team still doesn’t have a good returner.
Mitchell put in 10 solid years with the Redskins before forced to spend three seasons in Philadelphia and one with the New York Giants until retiring in 2004. He retired second in NFL career combined yardage behind only the immortal Jerry Rice.
Mitchell should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame if for no other reason Washington can’t seem to find his successor. Oh, there have been a couple of decent seasons over the year, but watching Stephen Sims botch punt returns in the opener shows how good Mitchell was.
Sims typically look left and right before moving forward on punts and get little yardage. The first move has to be straight ahead and then seek a path. Mitchell would often be five yards upfield before the first person was near him, then bully his way for a few more yards.
Mitchell’s kickoff returns were about average, and nowadays with new rules, there are few chances for them. But, Mitchell would jaw at opponents to grab another 15 yards when someone smacked his helmet. Mitchell would laugh knowing he suckered the guy. I’m not saying Sims should do that because it has to be someone’s natural style that can’t be taught. Sims’ speed is better suited for kick returns. Agility is more useful on punt returns and quick wits work anywhere.
You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD
Log in, if you are already a subscriber
Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories, newspapers and 5,000+ magazines
READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE