Where Darius Reynaud is in fact better than Mariani

USA TODAY Sports

A lot of people on MCM chewed me out for saying that Reynaud is clearly better, here is my argument.

So apparently it was taboo to say that the Titans special teams situation is better off with Reynaud than it was with Mariani? But I have no idea why. So to help prove my point, I am going to explain exactly why Reynaud is the best man for the job.

For the sake of argument, I will use Mariani's best year (2010) vs Reynaud's only year (2012).

Kick Off YPR: 25.5 (Mariani) vs 23.4 (Reynaud)

Mariani was slightly better in this category, but not drastically enough to make much of a difference. Also, for those that argue that Reynaud doens't know when to take a knee, Mariani had seven more returns in 2010 than Reynaud had in 2012.

Kick Off TDs: 1 for both

Both tie with one here. Reynaud's came on a 105 yard kick return, where Mariani's came from a 95-yarder.

Punt Return YPR: 12.2 (Mariani) vs 13.2 (Reynaud)

So like the kick return game, there isn't a huge difference here. Again, let me note that Reynaud and Mariani both called for the exact same number of fair catches (17) during their selected season.

Punt Return TDs: one Mariani vs three (Reynaud)

Here is the biggest difference between the two. Reynaud's ability to make people miss in open space combined with his speed and C.O.D make him a great return man. Mariani was always solid, but he doesn't give you the splash plays that Reynaud provides. Reynaud's three return TDs (one was the pass to Campbell) were game changers that sparked the offense along to victories. The emotional changes in those games can't be quantified, but you could see it on the field.

So is Reynaud the better return man?

I would say yes. Although the numbers weren't as drastically different as I expected them to be, Reynaud won or tied three out of four categories. For a Titans team that will likely lack splash plays this year, Reynaud may be the one momentum shifter in the Titans arsenal not named Chris Johnson.

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