Toub on return man Hester: 'He's always due'
By Brad Biggs, Tribune reporter
10:06 a.m. CDT, September 21, 2012
Those around the country who had not yet seen Devin Hester’s remarkable rookie season unfold in 2006 got a good view when the Chicago Bears played the St. Louis Rams as he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in a “Monday Night Football” meeting late in that year.
The record-tying performance put Hester in the national spotlight. Now, he prepares to face the Rams on Sunday at Soldier Field, hoping for his first return touchdown of this season. St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher, a returner himself during his playing days with the Bears, will be very aware of Hester.
Hester came close to breaking a long kickoff return last week at Green Bay. In the second quarter he had a 38-yard return. Packers kicker Mason Crosby slowed him down and Jarrett Bush came off his block to make the tackle, closing what looked like it could have been a touchdown. Linebacker Blake Costanzo was blocking Bush on the play before the Packers special teams ace pulled off and made the play.
“We’ve been close,” special teams coordinator Dave Toub said. “We’ve been maybe just one guy staying on a block a little longer away on both punt return and kick return. So, we’re knocking on the door there.”
Is Hester due?
“Yeah, he’s always due,” Toub said. “Every time he has the ball, he’s due.”
Hester had three return touchdowns last season: two on punts and one kickoff.
Soon, Toub expects to add reserve cornerback Sherrick McManis to the kickoff return team as a blocker. McManis has been playing in three phases since coming over in a trade from the Houston Texans at final cuts. He’s leading the team with four tackles on special teams.
“We saw him on tape,” Toub said. “He is really a good pickup for us. We really like him. He plays really hard. He is smart. He is filling a role for us. He’s taken three of Corey (Graham’s) spots right now so he has kind of taken on that role for us. He is actually moving in the direction of taking that spot.”