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Skins want to add Bears' Devin Hester to the hit stick

There is no more dangerous return man in football than Chicago's Devin Hester, the fifth-year player from Miami who last week returned a punt 89 yards for a touchdown, the 13th kick or punt return for a score in his career. That ties him with former Redskins standout Brian Mitchell for the most all-time. The difference: Mitchell returned 1,070 kicks and punts in his career. Hester has returned 262.

"We have our hands full," said Coach Mike Shanahan, who watched Hester score two special teams touchdowns - one on a punt, one on a kickoff -- against his Denver Broncos in 2007 at Soldier Field.

Shanahan's team, though, might be more equipped to handle the task. The Redskins rank third in the NFL in kickoff return average, allowing opponents only 17.4 yards per return. The longest kickoff return against Washington this year is a paltry 27 yards; every other team in the league has allowed at least one return of 30 yards, and seven teams allow kicks to be returned an average of 27 yards or more.

The Redskins have not fared as well on punt coverage, allowing 10.8 yards per return, which ranks 24th in the league. But their coverage teams are gaining a reputation for delivering punishing hits. In different weeks, Mike Sellers, Lorenzo Alexander and most recently Chris Wilson made tackles that have jarred the opposing team and fired-up the Redskins - leading to a competition for who can dish out the most.

"We do the dirty work," Sellers said. "You got to find ways to let people know you can still play. Chris Wilson is figuring out me and Lorenzo's secrets, so we got to keep him out of the mix."

During the course of a conversation on how the Redskins have been able to free up for so many crushing special-teams tackles, Sellers pulled something called a "hit stick" out of his locker - basically a piece of wood made to look primitive or tribal. On it were three numbers - a 45, then a 97, then a 45.

The methodology: Someone who delivers a major blow on special teams gets their jersey number on the stick and then gets to keep it in their locker. The catch: Such a blow must come in a win.

So Sellers's No. 45 is on the stick twice for tackles he made against Dallas and Green Bay. Alexander's No. 97 is on for a ferocious tackle against Philadelphia. But Wilson, who delivered a powerful hit against Indianapolis, is still waiting to see his No. 95, because he hasn't come through in a win.

"Me and 'Zo plan on being the only ones on it," Sellers said.

How, though, can one team free up so many different players?

"When you put big plays on film like that, it has coaches worried about guys," Wilson said. "I know they're worried about Lorenzo, for example. So I take it on myself to say, 'OK, if they're going to double 'Zo, that's disrespectful to me. And vice versa. [If] they [are] going to double me, then Mike Sellers is like, 'Then that's disrespectful to me.' That works all the way down the line. The entire unit has that same attitude."

Among punt returners with at least five attempts, Hester ranks third in the NFL with a 17.0-yard average - one spot behind Washington rookie Brandon Banks, who averages 19.4 yards per return.

Danieal Manning and Johnny Knox are sharing the kick returning for Chicago. Manning averages 27.3 yards on 13 returns.

"The great ones, though, are going to make plays," Shanahan said. "You take the number of returns [Hester's] had and the number of touchdowns, you just kind of shake your head. You don't even think it's possible."

By Barry Svrluga  | October 21, 2010; 10:56 AM ET
Categories:  Special teams  
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Comments

Danny will be all over this one...coming soon to a Redskins store near you...

Replica Hit Stick - $29.99.

Posted by: PlayAction | October 21, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Not sure with Head Lawyer Goodell running the NFL and the current climate i'd be talking up the hit stick...I love it though!

Posted by: chrislarry | October 21, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

It's a shame the NFL is taking away what the defense and ST's take pride in: Devastating, crushing, blows.

I think the majority just go out looking for a ginormous, crushing hit, some of those just so happen to be helmet to helmet, unintentionally.

There are very few out there that intentionally lead with their helmet.

I hope the NFL weeds out the intentional ones. I don't see that happening though.

Roger Goodell=worst NFL commish in history.

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | October 21, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Not sure with Head Lawyer Goodell running the NFL and the current climate i'd be talking up the hit stick...I love it though!

Posted by: chrislarry | October 21, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I agree, this is great, would love to see an actual pic of "The Hitstick"

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | October 21, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I know it's tongue in cheek, but I love that Sellers implies that he and Lorenzo want to keep Chris Wilson down by not teaching him their mysterious secrets of hitting. That's funny stuff.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 21, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Can't wait for the righteous indignation up here the first time a Redskin gets one of these suspensions for undesirable hitting methodology. That's gonna be a fun week up here.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 21, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I would like to note that I think it's Brandon Banks who's doing the TD Dance and not Hester.

Book it!

Posted by: Devo2 | October 21, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Can't wait for the righteous indignation up here the first time a Redskin gets one of these suspensions for undesirable hitting methodology. That's gonna be a fun week up here.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 21, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

In due time Nate, it's GOING to happen, wonder if it'll be this week? Wonder how many suspension/fines will be doled out, probably that or lots and lots of high scoring games

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | October 21, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | October 21, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

The rules did not change. Just the enforcement.

Also, there's a pretty simple way to avoid unintentionally leading with the helmet. Keep your helmet up, see what you are hitting.

Posted by: PortisPocketsStr8 | October 21, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"Among punt returners with at least five attempts, Hester ranks third in the NFL with a 17.0-yard average - one spot behind Washington rookie Brandon Banks, who averages 19.4 yards per return."

So why not a thread about Banks' emergence as a solid return guy instead of telling us what we already know about D Hester?

Just sayin'....

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 21, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

see what you are hitting

I do.

I tell her to turn around, so I can hit it from the back.

And in front of a mirror, I can see everythang I'm hittin'!

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 21, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"Among punt returners with at least five attempts, Hester ranks third in the NFL with a 17.0-yard average - one spot behind Washington rookie Brandon Banks, who averages 19.4 yards per return."

So why not a thread about Banks' emergence as a solid return guy instead of telling us what we already know about D Hester?

Just sayin'....

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 21, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Wouldn't that require research and real journalistic techniques?

Two things J Reid is clearly missing.

But hey, we all knew that already.

Posted by: Devo2 | October 21, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Good call Moe. If Danny Smith is worth his weight in dung, he'll have Hunter the Punter kick away from Hester anyway...

Posted by: brownwood26 | October 21, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I would think you'd WANT to get some of those suspensions. You could strategize it. Set it up for a bencher to come in and lay someone the SJK out. Take the suspension... brew the fear for next week's opponent. It's mental, in'nit?

Posted by: DikShuttle | October 21, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | October 21, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

The rules did not change. Just the enforcement.

Also, there's a pretty simple way to avoid unintentionally leading with the helmet. Keep your helmet up, see what you are hitting.

Posted by: PortisPocketsStr8 | October 21, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I know the rules aren't changing but the players are most definitely going to react differently when closing in on a hit.

I understand players are supposed to hit with their head up, that's not going to be the case everytime, a player's body is not going to be in perfect "tackling" form everytime before a tackle, that's just ridiculous to think that will be the case.

It will be different, I'm putting the blame on Roger Goodell, he's a turd.

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | October 21, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

see what you are hitting

I do.

I tell her to turn around, so I can hit it from the back.

And in front of a mirror, I can see everythang I'm hittin'!


Posted by: MistaMoe | October 21, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Lol, you should ALWAYS lead with your head when it comes to this type of hitting

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | October 21, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

apologies for the rapid posting but I came across this quote on PFT from Da Bears's OL coach Mike Tice:

"On the field they don't speak because they're not positive they know what they know what they think they know they know,'' Tice said.

uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, huh?

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | October 21, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I understand players are supposed to hit with their head up, that's not going to be the case everytime, a player's body is not going to be in perfect "tackling" form everytime before a tackle, that's just ridiculous to think that will be the case.

It will be different, I'm putting the blame on Roger Goodell, he's a turd.

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | October 21, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

of the 3 players fined for this past weekend only Robinson could make this case.

Merriwether(sp?) and James Harrison hits were intentional.

You could be right, but we will have to see how it impacts the game and how players approach it.

Posted by: PortisPocketsStr8 | October 21, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

If Danny Smith is worth his weight in dung, he'll have Hunter the Punter kick away from Hester anyway...

TKnox and DManning are solid return guys, too.

I fear Hester lined up on offense more than as a return guy.

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 21, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Word to the wise...KICK AWAY FROM HESTER!!!

Posted by: VegasJim | October 21, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

You could be right, but we will have to see how it impacts the game and how players approach it.

Posted by: PortisPocketsStr8 | October 21, 2010 11:52 AM

Well I know how Djax will be approaching the game...like a crocodile...

Posted by: PlayAction | October 21, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Robinson actually can't make the case - on the thread after the one addressing this subject I found a youtube replay that shows Robinson leading with his helmet. If he tackled DJ properly, there is no way he gets a concussion. Diesel was just as vocal as you Bigfoot about it being stupid Robinson got the fine, but he changed his mind when he saw that video.

Posted by: JesusFreakKaren | October 21, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I understand players are supposed to hit with their head up, that's not going to be the case everytime, a player's body is not going to be in perfect "tackling" form everytime before a tackle, that's just ridiculous to think that will be the case.

It will be different, I'm putting the blame on Roger Goodell, he's a turd.

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | October 21, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

of the 3 players fined for this past weekend only Robinson could make this case.

Merriwether(sp?) and James Harrison hits were intentional.

You could be right, but we will have to see how it impacts the game and how players approach it.

Posted by: PortisPocketsStr8 | October 21, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, we'll see. What are your thoughts on it? Do you foresee any obvious changes from how the players react in the coming games on Sunday and Monday?

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | October 21, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

from collinsworth:

"The defense could use some shoring up in the middle."

Haynesworth (Shan-a-Cool)

"And McNabb would benefit from another pass-catcher stepping up."

Devin Thomas (Zorn-a-Han)


Posted by: pabrian2003 | October 21, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I tell her to turn around, so I can hit it from the back.


Kirk baffled: This 'hittin' from the back' is it, is it sexual?

Spock raising an eyebrow: Indeed.

Bones annoyed: Listen, you pointy eared freak.

They call it 'doggiestyle'.

It brings them great pleasure.

Spock: I have watched videos of them performing 'doggiestyle' and have noticed they do enjoy it immensely.

It seems if you hit it long, you will feel all right.

And she will prosper.

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 21, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, we'll see. What are your thoughts on it? Do you foresee any obvious changes from how the players react in the coming games on Sunday and Monday?

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | October 21, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

No, I don't think there will be any discernible difference.

I think most of the talk about how the game will be negatively impacted is just the players posturing.

Posted by: PortisPocketsStr8 | October 21, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I agree that a little overreacting is going on by the league right now, but something does need to be done. Merriweather should be suspended for at least 1 game, and I hope Harrison does retire. That dirty azz player is sitting there pouting now cause he can't lay dirty hits anymore, he doesn't even know how to wrap anyone up. Good ridence baby!

Posted by: monk811 | October 21, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

"Among punt returners with at least five attempts, Hester ranks third in the NFL with a 17.0-yard average - one spot behind Washington rookie Brandon Banks, who averages 19.4 yards per return."


So why not a thread about Banks' emergence as a solid return guy instead of telling us what we already know about D Hester?

Just sayin'....

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 21, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

shhhhhh. The hit stick will hear you

Posted by: pabrian2003 | October 21, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Not to worried about Hester on Offense. Due ojnly has 1 TD and only 13 catches on the year, and he has only run it twice for not much.
There is a reason the dude never played offense. As I heard it when he was at the U he was to dumb to grasp the playbook they wanted him on O but deemed him only special teams worthy, which if that happens at the U it means you dumb.

Posted by: Stu27 | October 21, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

shhhhhh. The hit stick will hear you

Posted by: pabrian2003 | October 21, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I don't think you're allowed to say 'hit' or you'll be fined and possibly suspended. In fact, words that are now banned:
hit
hit stick
late hit
tackle
helmet

I hear the players aren't even allowed to touch their OWN helmet to put it on. Yo, helmet boy......

Posted by: monk811 | October 21, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, we'll see. What are your thoughts on it? Do you foresee any obvious changes from how the players react in the coming games on Sunday and Monday?

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | October 21, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

No, I don't think there will be any discernible difference.

I think most of the talk about how the game will be negatively impacted is just the players posturing.

Posted by: PortisPocketsStr8 | October 21, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, you've got a point.

Has anyone else noticed the extreme number of concussions from this year vs. years prior?

Does anyone think it has to do with the CBA ending at the end of this season? Maybe concussions have been rampant but players have been hesitant to say they're concussed?

Now that the CBA is ending players are actually stepping out when they are concussed instead of playing through the pain to show Goodell that an 18 game season is absolutely ridiculous?

Also, I think this also correlates with player's issues with Health Care after retiring.

I don't see how these two issues DON'T correlate.

I saw a graph on ESPN, or NFL Network, one of the two (they're all the same) showing how many concussions there were from 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and now 2010. It hiked dramatically in this year, there has to be a relation between this and the CBA ending.

Thoughts anyone?

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | October 21, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I saw a graph on ESPN, or NFL Network, one of the two (they're all the same) showing how many concussions there were from 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and now 2010. It hiked dramatically in this year, there has to be a relation between this and the CBA ending.

Thoughts anyone?

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | October 21, 2010 12:19 PM

I just got a concussion thinking about it.

Posted by: PlayAction | October 21, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Could it be that they are being TOO cautious and mis-diagnosing these concussions?

The players these days are bigger and faster and stronger than the old school players, but something does smell fishy. Guys like Butkus, Nitchsky (sp?), all those old tough players would just lay a player out, in fact that was before the face mask penalty was called, guys would grab right for it all the time. 'Nighttrain' Lane used to pop a guy in the head with his forearm, EVERY tackle. So how come we have all of this mess now??? If a player is getting concussed now, I know there had to have been that many more all those years ago.

I don't necessarily think it has anything to do with a possible lockout, I just think in this politically correct world the NFL is freaking out a little. Come on guys, this is FOOTBALL, a helmet is going to touch another one, it's inevitable. Just weed out the dirty players and the malicious hits.

Posted by: monk811 | October 21, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Poll Beeps!

Posted by: monk811 | October 21, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Come on guys, this is FOOTBALL, a helmet is going to touch another one, it's inevitable. Just weed out the dirty players and the malicious hits.

Posted by: monk811 | October 21, 2010 12:34 PM

Could you imagine if everyone who got into a fender bender had their license suspended for 3, 6, 12 months? Wait...that's not a bad idea!

Posted by: PlayAction | October 21, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I fear Hester lined up on offense more than as a return guy.

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 21, 2010 11:52 AM
-----------------------------------
Why?...he's a much more dangerous returner than reciever...

Posted by: jcnjcnj | October 21, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

NFL just instigated a new rule: any Redskin player who gets their name on the hit stick is automatically levied a $75,000 fine -- regardless of whether the hit is legal or not. On the other hand, any player who whiffs on a tackle and consequently allows an opposing player to score will automatically be rewarded with a $100,000 bonus check.

Posted by: Vic1 | October 21, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Hester can't run a pattern other than a go pattern so he's not an offensive threat. The Bears' line is not that good, so if fat Albert is actually ready to play this week, he could wreak havoc against the Bears. I think the Skins pop Cutler a few times and they'll be running Todd Collins out there. This is a very winnable game, but they can't let Forte run all over them. They know this team can only succeed if it can run the ball, so stop the run and force Cutler to go through his read progressions. Like Jason Campbell, that is not his strength, and that's why he got lit up by the Giants. The Skins will have plenty of chances to intercept passes. Let's all hope that if one comes to Carlos Rogers, he actually holds onto the ball and doesn't either drop it or fumble it as soon as he hits the turf. Of course, I won't hold my breath expecting hands of stone Rogers to actually hold onto the ball.

Posted by: orangeskin | October 21, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

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