Thursday, September 18, 2014

Devin Hester Has His Old Growl Back--at Least on Returns

In the Atlanta Falcons first outing this year, they beat the New Orleans Saints,  and it surprised many fans that kick returner and wide receiver Devin Hester had 5 receptions for 99 yards.  Hester had not been able to establish himself as a steady receiver with the Bears, but he'd certainly performed extraordinarily well as a kick returner.

But when the Falcons faced the Cincinnati Bengals last weekend, Falcon quarterback Matt Ryan and his passing attack found himself in a hornets nest.   Ryan had 24 completions on 44 attempts for 231 yards, but he had only 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions.  The Bengals defense played Ryan and his Falcons very tough. 

As Ryan played, so did the team, well almost.  Hester's receiving numbers were tiny; he caught 1 pass for 2 yards.  But he turned on the juice on kick returns with 4 returns that yielded 118 yards. He also had 1 punt return for 7 yards. 

Hester's old team, the Bears have just 2 kick returns for 42 yards.  They have continued to look anemic on special teams, but it is very early in the season.  Changes are being made as they adjust and improve. It's unlikely that the Bears will find someone with Hester's skills, but they need to find someone who is steady who can at least throw a little bit of a scare into the opposing team on kickoffs.