The return game for the Falcons has looked like a revolving door for 2013. Jacquizz Rodgers took on the role of kickoff returner for the most part of last year, and after a concussion knocked him out of the game for the rest of the season, Jason Snelling stepped in. Harry Douglas and Robert McClain took turns at punt returning but didn’t leave too much of an impression. It was obvious the role of return man, more so the punt returner, needed to be addressed and during the offseason the Falcons brought in a man who most definitely, fits the bill: a three-year $9 million bill!
Devin Hester is one of if not the best returner in football history. Key word Returner. It’s been mentioned that Falcons WR receiver coach, Terry Robiskie, wants to experiment using Hester on the offensive line as a WR, a position Hester struggled with when Chicago put him to the test. Hester is known for his work primarily on special teams and his skills specifically lie at the position of punt returner and kickoff returner.
The Falcons best option is to use Hester as a punt returner and maybe switch out roles with Rodgers at kickoff returner. That way this will free up Harry Douglas’s time at the position and he can focus primarily on his role to be an effective WR. To point out, after Julio Jones and Roddy White fell to injury, it was mainly Douglas who became the Falcons’ most successful receiver last season.
It only makes sense to use Hester strictly as your return man and keep Douglas on the offensive line as an option or a even use him as a “secret weapon” as many are to believe with the return of White and Jones, they will become Ryan’s favorite targets once again, so Douglas will be unexpected. They should use that to their advantage.
Hester doesn’t need to waste his time trying to learn to excel at a position he’s never really played/been good at. Keep him at what he knows.
With White and Jones expected to come back and Douglas in the mix, I would have to give the Falcons a grade of a C for the idea of using Hester on the line as you already have many options to work with. It’s not worth the risk. If they want to add to their list of WR’s, sign someone that actually plays the position. Signing Hester is supposed to serve as an improvement for the Falcons struggling return game; not an improvement to the WR game.