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Interesting Comments From Hester


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New Atlanta Falcons return man Devin Hester didn't like it when the NFL moved kickoffs up from the 30 to the 35-yard line. He certainly won't be pleased if those kickoffs are moved again to the 40-yard line, as proposed by the competition committee.

Scott Kane/USA TODAY Sports

Devin Hester says he's looking forward to returning more kicks inside the confines of the Georgia Dome.

The proposal is a safety precaution, and it would no doubt increase the number of touchbacks.

"Well hopefully, that rule doesn't come about until three or four more years," Hester, 31, said with a laugh. "And from that point on, I won't have to worry about anybody breaking my records. So that's what I'm hoping for.

"But as of right now, where it's at now, I think last year I came off my career high of yardage (1,436 kickoff return yards on a career-high 52 kickoff returns). I don't think it's slowing me down or any part of that. I'm just focusing on catching the ball coming forward. ...I'm putting the ball at the 28-, 29-yard line. I know the offense would rather start at the 28, 29 than the 20-yard line."

The Falcons signed Hester to a three-year contract worth $3 million per season with the expectation of him being dynamic on both kickoff and punt returns. He holds the NFL record with 18 kick return touchdowns and also is tied for the NFL record with mentor Deion Sanders with 19 career return touchdowns of all sorts.

Hester, who sees a chance to compete for the playoffs and possibly the Super Bowl with the Falcons, considered Tampa Bay, San Francisco, Seattle, and Miami, but Atlanta showed the most interest -- and, no doubt, the most money. After spending eight years with the Chicago Bears and fighting the elements outdoors at Soldier Field, he now gets to play half his games inside the Georgia Dome.

Playing in a dome should only help his return game.

"I love it, man," Hester said. "I don't want to say what I love about it, because then teams are going to avoid it. I learned not to give all my secrets away because they start picking up on stuff like that."

Although Hester expects to have a little "splash" of offense in his duties, the emphasis will be as a return man. He was exclusively a returner last season with the Bears.

"I'm a hype guy," he said. "I want to get the crowd involved in this phase of the game. I think special teams is a key asset to the ballgame as far as field position, putting points on the board, and setting the momentum of the game. I'm going go in there and I'm going to do my best to bring excitement and help this offense with field position, and try to put points on the board as well."

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Are they any stats that compare returns in a dome vs outdoors? With no wind in domes, it seems outdoors would give more opportunities to return.

But you'd get better opportunities in a controlled environment you know, than a field changing with the elements weekly and as the game progresses. So the opportunities may be lower, but the quality of the opportunities would be higher.

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But you'd get better opportunities in a controlled environment you know, than a field changing with the elements weekly and as the game progresses. So the opportunities may be lower, but the quality of the opportunities would be higher.

but if you don't get many opportunities then being higher quality doesn't mean much.

I'd have a higher quality of life if I hit the lottery more often. But..I just can't seem to hit the lottery very often. I can't get high quality numbers. Get what I am saying?

With something as random as a kick/punt return for TD, I'd think more opportunities would lead to more TDs than better quality opportunities. Who knows, maybe there is no appreciable difference. Still be neat to see some analysis.

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but if you don't get many opportunities then being higher quality doesn't mean much.

I'd have a higher quality of life if I hit the lottery more often. But..I just can't seem to hit the lottery very often. I can't get high quality numbers. Get what I am saying?

With something as random as a kick/punt return for TD, I'd think more opportunities would lead to more TDs than better quality opportunities. Who knows, maybe there is no appreciable difference. Still be neat to see some analysis.

I highly doubt the difference in opportunity is analogous to hitting the lottery in one lifetime...kinda out there, even for hyperbole

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ya_boi, Do you have a source for the 40 yd line kickoff? Just trying to understand if it is talking heads or people actually trying to make that happen.

i dont see kickoffs being moved to the 40. thats just stupid.

Agreed. Isn't that the thing they are trying to eliminate by changing / removing extra points. They call it a non competitive play. Seems 40 yd line kickoff is the definition of a non competitive play. Guys running up the field just for the heck of it.

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ya_boi, Do you have a source for the 40 yd line kickoff? Just trying to understand if it is talking heads or people actually trying to make that happen.

Agreed. Isn't that the thing they are trying to eliminate by changing / removing extra points. They call it a non competitive play. Seems 40 yd line kickoff is the definition of a non competitive play. Guys running up the field just for the heck of it.

that wasn't my opinion, that was inside the linked article. But it has been talked about as it is only one step closer to eliminating kickoffs altogether and starting at the 20
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http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/7806/splits/

Hester year after year has a higer kick return averge and a higher punt return average outdoors compared to indoors. I dont know where this myth started that he is more effective on turf than grass.

You could say it is because he is always away when the games are indoors, yet his punt return average was higher in away games than home games last season.

The real answer is that Hester is better when conditions are messy and have an effect on the punter. Every season, his best games come when it is windy or it is precipitating.

Good thing he went to a team that might have one bad weather game all season...

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http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/7806/splits/

Hester year after year has a higer kick return averge and a higher punt return average outdoors compared to indoors. I dont know where this myth started that he is more effective on turf than grass.

You could say it is because he is always away when the games are indoors, yet his punt return average was higher in away games than home games last season.

The real answer is that Hester is better when conditions are messy and have an effect on the punter. Every season, his best games come when it is windy or it is precipitating.

Good thing he went to a team that might have one bad weather game all season...

thanks. This is what I speculated about earlier in the thread. I kind of figured your findings would be the case.
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