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Chuck Pagano says Colts are “discussing” whether to bring in help at punt returner

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Kansas City Chiefs v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

With each passing special teams snap for the Indianapolis Colts, the loss of Quan Bray looks bigger and bigger.

That’s because the Colts have had a miserable time trying to find anyone to fill in as a punt returner, which has been painfully evident in the team’s two games without Bray. Against the Titans, Chester Rogers fielded two punts backed up deep that were ill-advised. Then against the Chiefs (with Rogers out due to injury), there were a comedy of errors as the Colts tried a number of different people back to return: T.Y. Hilton, Josh Ferguson, Phillip Dorsett. Hilton did a solid job, but he dealt with a hamstring injury, and it’s also not ideal to have your best receiver back for returns all the time.

So today, head coach Chuck Pagano didn’t rule out bringing in outside help at punt returner.

“Yeah, we’re discussing a lot of things right now, and certainly that’s an area of concern and we’ll continue to discuss it,” he said.

Pagano didn’t have a ton of definitive answers on anything today (or really ever), but he definitely didn’t rule out the possibility of bringing in someone to help at the position. Part of it might depend on the health of Chester Rogers too, as Pagano last week said that Rogers was their punt returner despite his struggles against the Titans (and Rogers’s errors were definitely correctable).

One thing that should be mentioned is that Phillip Dorsett doesn’t seem to be an option there. When the Colts drafted him in the first round, it sounded like they were going to use Dorsett as their return man as well. Shortly after being drafted, he told reporters that he would definitely be open to returning punts and kicks, and then a little later said in a radio interview that, “they are definitely going to use me as a punt returner. I know that for a fact.” That sounds a lot like the Colts telling him that he’d be their returner (and the interview took place a day after the draft!), which likely means (since it was just a day after the draft) that the Colts had the return game in mind when they drafted Dorsett. And now, even though he’s healthy and their third receiver, they’re still considering bringing in outside help to simply bring any sort of stability at the position? That says a lot about Dorsett’s return ability (which doesn’t seem to be good).

That’s not to pile on the Colts; it’s just to point out that it’s strange that they’d consider outside help. But that speaks to what they think of some of their options now, and it looks like the return game will once again be a question mark this year for the Colts with Quan Bray out.