Funny thing about Jalen Reagor’s punt return touchdown from Sunday night is that he muffed the catch. Same as DeSean Jackson during the Miracle at the Meadowlands 2, circa 2010.

Reagor’s TD gave the Birds a spark and put them in a position to come back and tie the game. It was a step forward for a rookie first round draft pick who overcame an early-season injury and is trying to find his NFL groove.

As such, wouldn’t it make sense to let him be the full-time punt returner for the rest of this lost year?

Here’s what special teams coordinator Dave Fipp said Tuesday when asked about his “confidence level” in Reagor:

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in him. I still see us using a combination of both Greg Ward and Jalen. I think Jalen has done a great job, obviously. He has to continue to work on catching the football. He’s put two on the ground now this season. He’s gotta continue to work on that, no question. He was out for five weeks and had that thumb injury so he was unable to catch balls. He wasn’t able to catch a pass, much less a punt, during those five weeks. We brought him back in and got him going and then when he came back he was also playing, the last five weeks or so, he’s been playing 77% of the offensive snaps or something like that. He’s definitely got a lot on his plate, and then obviously the punt return role. So we’ll keep trying to manage him the best we can and keep trying to take advantage of his skill set and ability to make big plays while at the same time managing his load. I still see Greg being a part of that, going back there and helping us. He’s done a great job making a lot of really good decisions and getting positive yards for is also.”

Interesting answer.

I think it’s easy for us as fans to sit here and say, ‘the season is lost, let’s see as much of the rookie as possible.’ Theoretically, the more reps he gets, the more polished he becomes with catching the ball and building his return game at the NFL level.

Regarding snap counts, Fipp was mostly correct, though we need to add context here.

This past week, Reagor and Ward both played 44 snaps, which was 71% of the total offensive plays. In the Seahawks game, Ward played 48 snaps (67%) and Reagor 43 (61%), and in the Browns game Reagor played nearly 20 more snaps than Ward, amounting to a whopping 93%. In the Giants game, same thing, way up at 88%. So Reagor’s snaps have come down in recent weeks, though they were incredibly high a few games back. Both guys have been seeing fluctuations in their offensive workload.

But it’s not like Reagor’s body of work is significantly more or less than what Ward is being asked to do on offense. It’s not enough to say, ‘well we need to give this guy a breather.’ It’s one thing to want to protect him from injury, but any justification for giving Ward punt return reps because of workload feels off base.

More than anything, you could justify giving Reagor exclusivity at punt returner because he’s the explosive rookie first round draft pick and we want to see more of him if we’re gonna follow this wretched season to completion.