Jerry Rosburg praises Kendall Hinton, says Montrell Washington needs to “develop”


Montrell Washington spent the majority of the season as the Broncos’ primary returner. The fifth-round draft pick was given plenty of leeway to grow into his role as a rookie.

But that leeway ended last week when special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes was fired after head coach Nathaniel Hackett was shown the door. Interim coach Jerry Rosburg made the decision to fire Stukes and then proceeded to bench Washington, who was inactive in Sunday’s loss in Kansas City.

“I have a very high opinion of (Washington’s) skill set, (but) he’s a young player,” Rosburg said. “He needs to take those skill sets and develop the fundamentals. I’ve been working with those returners on the side this past week… He’s made some improvements. The roster laid out in a certain fashion (against the Chiefs) where… his contributions were not as significant as others.”

The “others” Rosburg referred to was primarily Kendall Hinton, who took over punt return duties against the Chiefs. Hinton had three returns for 37 yards and “he did exactly what we asked him to do,” Rosburg said. Hinton (24 catches for 311 yards this season) also brings more value as a receiver than Washington.

While Rosburg left the door open Monday for Washington to potentially reclaim his job for the season finale this Sunday against the Chargers at Empower Field, it seems to be Hinton’s spot to lose. Hinton was a returner in college as a senior at Wake Forest in 2019.

“You watch the last (return by Hinton in the fourth quarter), he understood what situation in the game we were in,” Rosburg said. “He was fielding the ball right on the 10-yard line, so he’s got to take more risk there. Why? Because we’re behind (27-24) and we need more field position, and he pops out of there for a 17-yard return.”

If Washington is inactive again Sunday, it will make for a roster question mark heading into the offseason, despite the fact the Broncos intended at the beginning of this season to groom Washington to be a long-term impact player on special teams.


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