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Blog Entry

The best way to play vs. Hester

Posted on: January 22, 2011 10:37 am
 
How to play against D. Hester isn't always the easiest decision (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

What is the best way to punt the ball to Devin Hester? I asked the same question to Gale Sayers Friday morning in our Five questions (or more) segment, and we never really came up with an answer.

Do you punt the ball out of bounds? Do you try to pin him on the sidelines? Do you, as the Seahawks did last week, say, “Screw it, we’re kicking right at him?” What can do you do?

Maybe the Seahawks had the right idea, though maybe not in the way you’d expect.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel caught up with Seattle P Jon Ryan on Friday, and basically, the Seahawks’ game plan was to kick it high and make Hester fair catch as many punts as possible.

It’s not going to help your punting average – presumably, those high, end-over-end punts are going to be shorter than normal – but as Seattle showed last week, it can be effective. Out of nine punts last week, Hester let four of them bounce, fair-caught three of them and returned two for a combined total of 30 yards.

"Our plan was to go after every punt as if it was a pooch punt," Ryan told the paper. "So I kicked all the punts end over end. They told me they didn't want anything over 35 yards and get as many fair catches as we could.

"You're not going to have a 50-yard average, by any means. But you're also not going to be watching Hester celebrate in the end zone. It's a bit of a trade-off. I think it's a very effective way to control Hester.

"The game plan was to eliminate Hester. We weren't going to flip the field. Our special-teams coach (Brian Schneider) believed we succeeded."

For the game, Ryan averaged 35.0 yards per punt with a 31.7 net and a hang time of 4.16 seconds. And no Hester returned TDs.

One other interesting aspect of this article. One scout said Hester would much prefer to catch the ball outside the hash marks – meaning that trying to pin him on the sidelines isn’t always an effective plan – because he knows there are less defenders there that can bring him down. Said that scout, "He won't run up and catch it. He's scared. He thinks he's going to get hit."

Read the rest of the story. There’s some interesting insight there about how to deal with the game’s most dangerous returner since … well, Gale Sayers.

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Category: NFL
Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 9, 2012 2:57 pm
 

The best way to play vs. Hester

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 4, 2012 3:56 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 4:28 pm
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Since: Oct 30, 2006
Posted on: January 23, 2011 1:07 pm
 

The best way to play vs. Hester

Just add 14 points to the Bears score and let the Packers make reservations at their favorite ice fishing shanty for next week.
Keep it simple.


asdfjkl
Since: Sep 10, 2006
Posted on: January 23, 2011 11:53 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Jan 2, 2010
Posted on: January 22, 2011 8:46 pm
 

The best way to play vs. Hester

I think seattle had a good game plan....only because overall the bears offense is not that great, personally the guy would not touch the ball EVER if i were special teams coordinator. He is an all time returner but you cant punt this guy the ball. At this stage in the season you cant risk it.


Tightwad007
Since: Jan 15, 2011
Posted on: January 22, 2011 7:42 pm
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