For years Devin Hester was known as one of the elite return men in all the NFL. The possibility of him making the hall of fame for his special teams’ prowess is more than just a time-filling conversation; at times, it has looked a real possibility.
However the 2012 regular season has not been a kind one for the “Windy City Flyer”. Hester is averaging just 7.6 yards on his 12 return attempts, with a long of just 23 yards.
Hester is yet to record a touchdown on special teams, but it his effort and lack of foresight this season that has many people, myself included, questioning whether the now 29-year old Hester is losing his touch on the most significant ability he has to offer the Chicago Bears.
Put bluntly, Hester has looked passive, clueless and often downright idiotic with many of the punt return decisions he has made this season.
The 13-7 win over the Detroit Lions at Soldier field on Monday night was just the tip of a rather large iceberg that sums Hester’s special teams play up perfectly at the moment.
Having allowed numerous balls to bounce for substantial losses in yardage and field position, Hester was pulled in favor of Earl Bennett and later Eric Weems.
The real kicker came in the fourth quarter, when an under-kicked punt offered Hester the perfect shot at a touchdown return.
Hester decided to fair catch the ball, leaving everyone scratching their heads in pure frustration at how such a talented person could be so football stupid.
Special Teams Coach Dave Toub was especially annoyed at Hester’s lack of competency on Monday.
“He probably made some decisions in that game he would probably take back. He might have returned that last one possibly, but that’s just the way it is. Most of the time he’s going to make the correct decision. We just want him to get that aggressiveness back and we think we’ll get it sooner or later.”
After a providing a frustrating viewing experience for the first eight weeks of the season, after fans having to endure how good Hester is in training camp, it is time to cut the nonsense.
Hester needs a good game on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers on special teams, and he needs a good game on offense; because if his decline continues, given his salary amount, there is a very real possibility that the Bears could cut ties with Hester before the beginning of the 2013 season.