No, this one is on Andy Reid. Because it was Andy Reid who felt he didn't need a guy on his roster who had fielded even one punt in an NFL game. At least Bloom, who also hadn't fielded an NFL, was a guy who specialized in it in college. From what I understand, Greg Lewis had never returned punts and JR Reed only may have done it a few times in college. I just don't understand how a guy like Reid, who's been around football for as long as he has, would basically say "Meh, anyone can return punts. You, over there... You've never caught a punt but... what the hell? You're our punt returner! Oh you also looked terrible in preseason? So what?! You`re our guy!" Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to hold Lewis and Reed totally blameless... They've been in the NFL long enough to know how and when to call for a fair catch or to catch a punt. That said, when a coach put guys in positions they don't belong in he is setting them up to fail and make mistakes.
There's only 16 games in a season, and thanks to what I think was arrogance on the part of our coach we gifted one to the Packers. At least you can say on the McNabb INT that led to a FG, that the Packers' D made a play. However, the other 2 were absolute gifts. It has to be pretty heartbreaking for your defense when the opponent doesn't have to move an inch on offense to get all 13 of their points on the day.
To take it a step further and heap even more blame on the coach... He happens to have a guy standing on the sidelines who is not only proven himself capable of fielding a punt, but happens to be pretty damn good at it. Brian Westbrook. I understand why he might not be the everyday punt returner, but when the game is on the line how on earth could Andy not send #36 out there?
It's time for Andy to admit his mistake and do something about it. Lewis didn't just blow it on the first punt, he looked bad on others as well. JR Reed is not a punt returner, and frankly I'm not sure he's even a kick returner. I thought he found some holes, but looked rather slow. At this point I don't really see a place for Greg Lewis on this roster. Brown, Curtis, & Avant are your top WRs. I think Baskett is more than capable of being a 4th WR. A 5th WR who can't do much else doesn't have a whole lot of value. Get rid of Lewis and go sign anyone who has proven he can field a punt. Go down to Chickie and Pete's and get Reno Mahe if you have to.
It's a pretty sad state of affairs when a guy who can do little more than make fair catches and fall down is a drastic improvement over the current punt return situation.