View Full Version : Stefan Logan vs. Bears KR/PR Devin Hester

09-20-2009, 04:10 AM
Head to Head: Steelers KR/PR Stefan Logan vs. Bears KR/PR Devin Hester
A closer look at the game within the game
Sunday, September 20, 2009
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It doesn't matter that Devin Hester hasn't returned any of the past 34 punts he has fielded for a touchdown. Or that he hasn't returned any of his past 42 kickoffs for a touchdown.

In his first two seasons with the Chicago Bears, he returned 11 kicks for a touchdown, including seven punts, enough to establish him as the National Football League's most dangerous return man. And don't think Stefan Logan didn't notice.

"I watched him for years," said Logan, the Steelers' new punt and kick return specialist. "I would watch him on YouTube, I'd Google him. I wanted to see what he did. I'm looking forward to playing against him."

Hester hasn't taken any return -- punt or kick -- for a touchdown since the final game of the 2007 season, and the Steelers are hoping to keep it that way today when they play the Bears at Soldier Field.

Conversely, the Bears are hoping to do the same with the 5-foot-6, 180-pound Logan, who has electrified fans and energized teammates with his punt and kick return abilities.

Logan already ranks second in the AFC after returning four kickoffs for 116 yards, a 29-yard average, against the Tennessee Titans. He also returned one punt for 11 yards.

"The guys know every time he's had his hands on the ball he's got a chance to make a big play, go the distance," said special teams coach Bob Ligashesky. "That just energizes the guys and set the tone for the return. They want to have accountability. They don't want to let their guy be the guy who tackles him because of his play-making ability as a return guy."

Hester has been doing that since he arrived in the league from the University of Miami in 2006. He returned three punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns as a rookie and followed that by bringing back four punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns -- including one of each in the same game against Denver -- in 2007. His six returns for touchdowns set an NFL single-season record.

But he hasn't had a scoring return since he returned a punt 64 yards against the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 30, 2007. Hester already ranks third all-time in return touchdowns, trailing Brian Mitchell (13), Dante Hall (12) and Eric Metcalf (12).

"He's a special guy," Ligashesky said. "And he's special because he has good hands and great running skills. He's strong enough to break tackles and fast enough to go the distance. When they created the mold, it's Devin Hester."

Hester appears to be especially dangerous on punt returns -- his seven TDs are three behind Metcalf, the league's all-time leader -- which means punter Daniel Sepulveda has two prerequisites against the Bears: Make sure his hang time is at least five seconds and always angle his punts toward the sideline. The latter is done to prevent Hester from squaring his shoulders to the field and allowing him to run in either direction.

The Steelers have not allowed a kick return for touchdown since Cleveland's Joshua Cribbs in November 2007. They haven't allowed a punt return for touchdown since Arizona's Steve Breaston in September 2007.

"It's one of those deals where if you miss with the hang time, he's going to hurt you," Sepulveda said. "You can't kick it perfect every time and, when you don't, this guy makes you pay. He's made some punters look pretty bad in the past."
Gerry Dulac can be reached at gdulac@post-gazette.com.
First published on September 20, 2009 at 12:00 am

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09-20-2009, 05:14 AM
Yes, it seems ever since they made a receiver of him, he's not taken a return to the house.