Cumberland Times-News

Football

October 20, 2013

Bears’ Hester faces the not-so-special Redskins

Cutler, Chicago visits Washington

WASHINGTON — Devin Hester against a team doing some serious special teams soul-searching.
That hardly seems fair.
“He’s probably licking his fingers,” Washington Redskins special teams regular Niles Paul said. “It’s a great challenge. We have to step up and be big. It’s a great way to come back and show the type of special teams we want to be this year.”
The Redskins allowed an 86-yard punt return and a 90-yard kickoff return last week. They have a first-year special teams coach, Keith Burns, who was flagged 15 yards for getting in the way of an official. Maybe he was trying to show his players it’s actually possible to slow up someone who’s running downfield.
Now the Redskins (1-4) have to deal with the Chicago Bears (4-2) and Hester, who holds the NFL record for most combined kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns.
“It was a rough night for them, obviously,” Chicago special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said. “I’m sure that they’re going to be emphasizing that area.”
Indeed, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan spent extra time focusing on his special teams units this week, and veterans called a special, special teams meeting for Friday.
One suggestion that certainly came up: Don’t kick the ball to No. 23.
Here are five more things to notice as the Bears try to pad their record against another team from the pitiful NFC East.
RG3 TRIES TO CROSS A VERY THIN LINE: The Bears are running out of players on defense. Middle linebacker D.J. Williams is done for the season with a shoulder injury, and his replacement is a rookie. They’ve lost defensive tackle Henry Melton and his replacement, Nate Collins, to knee injuries. They’ve had to move defensive end Corey Wootton to tackle. 
Sounds like a worst-case scenario as they prepare to face a multi-threat quarterback like Robert Griffin III, right? Except that Griffin and the Redskins faced the same scenario last week and managed only one touchdown against the no-name injury replacements who lined up for the Cowboys. Griffin is starting to run more, but the passing game hasn’t been in sync since he returned from a knee injury, and defenses are doing a better job game-planning against him.

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