Home / World News / Broncos rookie Isaiah McKenzie headed back to bench after another fumble on a return

Broncos rookie Isaiah McKenzie headed back to bench after another fumble on a return

Isaiah McKenzie had been benched long enough. Or so his coach thought.

Broncos coach Vance Joseph returned McKenzie, a rookie fifth-round pick, to the role of punt returner Sunday after sitting him the previous two games because of his inability to field punts cleanly.

“You want to try to find a way to give a team a spark,” Joseph said. “With the ball in his hand, he’s a special returner. He’s had trouble catching the ball and taking care of the ball. I thought two weeks would help him overcome that. That wasn’t so. He needs more time.”

McKenzie’s latest mistake came midway through the fourth quarter Sunday, with the Broncos already trailing 33-9. He fielded the ball at the 3-yard line. That’s generally on a don’t-do-that list for a punt returner, but McKenzie said he was trying to make a play after calling for a fair catch on three previous chances. But as he ran to his right along the goal line, he left the ball in right arm, facing a wave of oncoming Dolphins. Miami linebacker Chase Allen knocked the ball loose, and McKenzie was forced to dive on the ball and absorb a safety.

It was the third time this season a fumbled punt by McKenzie turned directly into a score for an opponent.

“For me, it’s better decision-making and doing the little things right,” McKenzie said. “I’m a small guy. Anything can happen. I’ve got to be better with details.”

McKenzie found out he would be facing more time on the bench when reporters Monday began questioning Jordan Taylor about his impending return to the role of punt returner against the Jets on Sunday, a position he filled during the previous two games the rookie was benched.

“I can be better,” McKenzie said. “I have to cut off all the mistakes. It is what it is.”

IR possible for Wolfe. Defensive end Derek Wolfe, who missed Sunday’s game due to a neck injury, could be headed to season-ending injured reserve, Joseph said Monday.

Wolfe has been dealing with the issue for much of the season, and he was knocked out of the game against Oakland on Nov. 26 during the first series. During the previous game against the Bengals, Wolfe said his right arm went numb on the first play of the game, but he returned to action in that contest.

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