Chicago Sun-Times

Preseason question: To use Hester more on special teams or not?

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So we have a good idea that the offensive starters will play the entire first half Saturday night at Seattle and possibly into the third quarter. It's safe to assume the defensive starters will at least work into the second quarter. Remember, Lovie Smith's goal is to work the offensive starters more to get a better evaluation of the remaining unanswered questions.

Here's a question: How much of a role will Devin Hester have on special teams against the Seahawks?

Hester returned one punt last week against Kansas City, dancing around for a one-yard gain. He was lined up deep for two others. Hester was not involved on kickoff returns but he has been lobbying the coaches to get some opportunities in preseason. The idea is he doesn't want to go into the regular season cold at it. No word on what type of decision has been reached, but know that Hester is itching to get some chances.

The Seahawks did a good job keeping the ball out of his hands in the meeting last season at Qwest Field. While he returned four kickoffs for 116 yards (29.0 average) he fielded only one punt, making a fair catch.

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I don't think Devin was dancing around, maybe you should ask him.

This is a tough call. I hate those teams who have locked up a play-off berth not playing their starters, ostensibly to give them rest and avoid injuries, and preseason games are somewhat similar. Ultimately, I think Hester should get to practice a few returns. Injuries can be devastating, but playing it safe too often leads precisely to what one is trying to avoid. In contact sports, when a player is slacking off is generally when he/she gets injured.

Hester can probably get out of bed in the morning, catch a football, and run it back 100 yards for a touchdown in his jammies. He doesn't really need practice reps in the preseason, other than to keep himself entertained.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on August 14, 2008 7:02 AM.

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