Over the past two seasons, the New England Patriots have been one of the worst teams in football when it comes to kick returns. In 2011, they finished 29 in the NFL and 25 last season.
To improve on that for the upcoming season, the team signed former New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks RB/KR Leon Washington to one-year deal on Thursday.
Washington, who can return punts and kicks, was mostly used as a punt returner in 2012 by returning 41 compared to returning only 27 kickoffs. The biggest aspect of Washington's special team ability that the organization will really welcome is his eight career kickoffs returned for a touchdown. For his career, he has averaged 25.9 yards for every kick return and 9.9 for every punt return. During his two seasons in Seattle, Washington helped the Seahawks kick return game rank 10 in 2011 and 14 in NFL in 2012 in punt returns.
Aside from his special teams ability he brings to the Patriots, Washington has experience as a backup running back and in the past has had some success catching the out of the backfield.
Expect Washington to get first reps in training camp at winning the kick return position with his proven track record. If the Patriots kick return game can improve under Washington, then it will give opposing teams trouble when trying to defend him.
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