Thursday, November 17, 2011
Chargers punter to try to contain Hester
By Jeff Dickerson
Mike Scifres did a good job of taking Devin Hester out of the game in 2007.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- We know the combination of strep throat and a bum ankle wasn't enough to slow down Devin Hester in the return game.
Can San Diego punter Mike Scifres do the impossible and contain Hester on Sunday at Soldier Field?
Scifres, a product of Western Illinois, is averaging a career-high 49.8 yards per punt with a 41.9 yard net average.
"He's an excellent punter," Bears special teams coach Dave Toub said on Thursday. "In 2007 we played them, and he basically took Devin out of the game by himself. He kicked sky balls to us, probably 5.2, 5.3 hang-time balls, virtually impossible to return. He did a good job then, and we are expecting him to do the same thing this time around. He's got a strong leg, he's a veteran. It'll be tough to get some returns this week."
Hester was limited to three fair catches in the Chargers' 14-3 victory at Qualcomm Stadium in that game four seasons ago. According to Toub, the Bears can only simulate Scifres' punting style by using a JUGS machine in practice.
"It's going to be a tough test for the entire return team," Toub said. "Decision making comes into play. Our blocking and our ability to hold up guys at the line is going to be huge for us. The better job we do there, the better job we have at getting a return."