Jeremy Ross making strong case to take over permanent return duties

Posted Dec 2, 2013

Jeremy Ross has given the Detroit Lions' return game a spark the last few weeks

Jeremy Ross gave the Detroit Lions special teams a huge boost on Thanksgiving.

Ross had a 35-yard punt return late in the second quarter that set up a Reggie Bush 1-yard touchdown run. He also had a 60-yard punt return down to the Packers 10-yard line in the fourth quarter called back because of a holding penalty.

Ross also chipped in a 30-yard kickoff return and caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford in the game.

All that was a against a Packers team that cut him after only three games this year.

“I was just trying to go out there and make a play,” Ross said after the game. “It was good to be out there and play my (former) team, the team I got cut from.”

Ross took over return duties from Micheal Spurlock, who was inactive for the Green Bay game.

The Lions have used Ross over Spurlock a few times this year on the active 46-man roster on game day because of what he brings to the table on offense as a slot receiver with good size (6-0, 215).

Ross has taken advantage of his opportunities, too. He's had a big return of some kind in every game that he's taken over the primary return duties. His performance on Thanksgiving just might have earned him the job for good moving forward.

Spurlock has been sure-handed returning kicks all season, which is priority No. 1 for the Lions on special teams, but other than a 57-yard punt return vs. Chicago in Week 4, he hasn’t provided a lot in terms of big plays from the return position.

Ross, on the other hand, has given the Lions a spark in limited opportunities. He had a 44-yard kick return against Dallas Oct. 27 and returned a punt 42 yards against Tampa Bay Nov. 24.

Detroit currently ranks 16th in the NFL with a 23.9 return average on kickoffs and 20th on punts a 8.2 yards per return.

Ross’ kickoff (27.2) and punt (14.7) return averages are both higher, and his contributions on offense could have him playing the prominent return role the rest of the way.