JACKSONVILLE, FL - JULY 28: Cecil Shorts III takes part in training camp at Florida Blue Health and Wellness practice fields on July 28, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
The Jacksonville Jaguars special teams, especially the punting units, have been an issue all season long. Not only punting the football, but returning punts. Rookie wide receiver Cecil Shorts has been handling the punt return duties and he's done a rather poor job. On Sunday, Shorts allowed punts to drop that he should have fair caught, giving up field position. In games previously, Shorts has fair caught punts inside the 10-yard line, which is typically a standard no-no, and has also let punts outside of the 10-yard line to fall and be downed inside the 10.
On the season, Shorts has returned 11 punts for just 43 yards. That's an average of 3.9 yards per punt return, which is dead last in the league. Head coach Jack Del Rio didn't seem to indicate a change would be eminent, but it needs to improve. "No decision has been made there," Del Rio said on Monday when asked if Shorts would continue punting duties. "I think we can do a better job of giving him some blocking, giving him some room to run. He's back there; look, like anybody that's back they've got to make decisions," Del Rio added. He continued saying, "There's more to that phase that needs to be evaluated than just Cecil Shorts. I think he's clearly a young guy that hasn't made every decision perfectly, but I don't think it's accurate to lay it all on him and I'm not doing that in my mind."