Unequivocally so, Mike Tomlin confirmed Jacoby Jones will continue to return punts for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“Jacoby Jones,” was the short, sweet, and to the point answer Tomlin gave when asked directly who would return punts. Though not asked about kicks, it would be reasonable to expect him to continue to get work in that area, too.
Jones has had a well-documented rough beginning to his time in Pittsburgh. He’s averaged under 21 yards on for kick returns and has gained three years on three total punt returns. He has struggled with catching the ball cleanly, dropping one kick and muffing a punt against the Cleveland Browns.
Though he does not appear on ESPN’s qualified list because of his work with two different teams, his 13 kick returns in 2015 makes him qualified. And his 21.2 return average would rank him 15th in the NFL, dead last in the league. For comparison, Dri Archer is still in eighth place with a 25.3 average. His long return of 30 yards also ranks last among qualified candidates.
Still, I’d imagine the hope is that Jones will get better with time and one excellent return will swing the numbers – and popular opinion – in his direction. As the weather gets worse, his opportunities will continue to grow. Seattle Seahawks’ kicker Steven Hauschka has a 54.9% touchback percentage in 2015.