Kevin Seifert, who writes the NFC North blog on ESPN.com, wrote:
Do you need to keep the ball out of Devin Hester’s hands?
He points out the slow start to the season Hester has had, averaging just 5.4 yards on 11 punt returns. But I’ve got to think this is more bias against Hester and the Bears coming from a former Minnesota Vikings beat reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a guy who still lives in the Twin Cities.
I absolutely agree that Hester has had a mediocre season by his standards. After all, the special teams blocking appears weaker, Hester’s offensive workload has increased, and he was also hampered by torn cartilage in his ribs.
But to suggest that opponents don’t need to alter their gameplan when kicking to him shows a lack of respect for what he’s accomplished and ignorance as to how dangerous Hester still can be.
Case in point, Hester has done much better on kickoff returns, averaging 23.4 yards and has a long of 57 that he nearly broke for a touchdown.
Sure, Seifert may be stating the obvious that Hester is not on pace to match his record-breaking seasons the past two years, but to suggest he’s fallen off the map that teams no longer need to keep the ball out of his hands is a slap in the face.
Let’s hope Hester and the special teams take notice of that.