Deji Karim: The Emergence of a New Weapon

ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 10: Deji Karim #35 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York. Jacksonville won 36-26. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Yes, it was the Bills that Karim made his debut against, the worst team in the NFL at stopping the run. Crowning him as a star would be premature, but it's hard not to get excited about the rookie.

After just 15 carries and 4 kick returns, Karim is the talk around the water cooler amongst Jaguar fans after a 215 all-purpose yard performance. 145 of those yards came on 4 kick returns, including a 51 yard return to open the 2nd half. Deji was quick to give credit to his blockers and said that even Mark Long (the AP reporter he was talking to) could break off a nice return. While most would agree the Jaguars have a strong special teams unit that ranks among the league's best, Deji's impact was noticeable in the stat books.

Going into the matchup against the Bills, the Jaguars had 19 kick returns for an average of 23.3 yards a return. Deji averaged 36.3 on his 4 returns of 31, 22, 51 and 41 yards. That ballooned the Jaguars' kick return average to 25.6 yards/return and 9th in the NFL.

As bad as the Bills are in so many aspects of the game, special teams is one of their stronger units. Coming into the Jaguars game the Bills had allowed a 22.3 yards/return average on kickoffs. Following the 4 kick returns by Deji, the average is now 25.4 yards/return.

It was an eye-popping performance and that's not even mentioning his 4.7 yards per carry rushing.

The 2010 Bills are not the best team to grade the performance of running back against, but teams like the Titans, Chiefs and Cowboys will be. For now, I'll try to remain cautiously optimistic although it's difficult not to go to full-blown optimistic.

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