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Kickoff returns could improve with return of Chris Clemons

Bruce Arians noted the difference in the return game after he got hurt.

Jon Durr/Getty Images

You wouldn't necessarily expect a back-of-the-roster safety to have much of an impact on the football field for a team, but that might not be the case for Chris Clemons, who re-signed with the team on Tuesday when Tyrann Mathieu was placed on injured reserve.

Clemons doesn't figure to see any playing time on defense for now, but perhaps he can impact the return game.

Head coach Bruce Arians was asked what Clemons brings, he mentioned versatility and his impact on kickoff returns.

"The number one thing is kickoff returns," he explained. "When he was in there, we were breaking them out to the 30 and the 40. We took one to the house and we haven't done s**t since he's been out of there."

Clemons is "a big, fast special teams player."

The numbers bear it out. In the five games Clemons played to start the season, the Cardinals averaged 39.7 yards per kickoff return on six returns. Half of those went for at least 35 yards.

Since then, the team has averaged 20.8 yards on 24 returns.

Was Clemons the difference? Perhaps. If Arians is right, then we might see a change in the final two weeks.