Special Teams Report: Planning for Hixon, Thomas
The schedule was unusual because of Saturday's snowstorm and this week's game being on Monday night, so Special Teams Saturday with Lorenzo Alexander this week is Special Teams Sunday with Lorenzo Alexander/the Snowpocalypse Edition. In this installment, we take a look at New York Giants punt/kickoff returner Domenik Hixon and examine how Devin Thomas might fare in his first game returning punts.
Few players this season have been as effective as Hixon in the return game. The fourth-year wide receiver has a 15.5-yard average on 15 returns (he has 14 fair catches), including a 79-yarder for a touchdown. He also has a 23-yard average on 42 kickoff returns with a long gain of 68 yards.
Hixon ranks 10th in the league with 966 kickoff return yards and 25th in average. He does not have enough punt returns to qualify among the league leaders.
"They have Hixon back there, and I didn't know he had the same type of production numbers as DeSean" Jackson, the Philadelphia Eagles' star returner, Alexander said. "Obviously, he's doing a great job. He's a shifty guy and real slippery.
"He's made some big plays getting out of some things, so we're just going to have to corral him this week and get him down on the ground. It's going to be a good challenge for us."
Because of Antwaan Randle El's lack of productivity throughout the season, Coach Jim Zorn said he plans to have second-year wide receiver Devin Thomas involved on punt returns for the first time and top wideout Santana Moss's roll will be expanded. Thomas has impressed late this season on offense and kickoff returns since he supplanted Rock Cartwright as the primary returner. He has shown a nice burst on kickoffs and the Redskins are confident he could be effective on a limited basis as a punt returner.
"Each guy has their own type of style and mentality on how they return the ball," Alexander said. "But as long as guys get on their blocks, open things up and make things happen, it really doesn't matter who's back there."
Steinberg on ESPN's reports
Because Dan Steinberg of the D.C. Sports Bog is nothing if not always on alert (he's like NORAD), he pays attention to the stuff sports pundits say on TV and the radio. Today, he reports on what ESPN types are saying about Mike Shanahan and the Redskins.
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