Ravens will challenge Devin Hester, not kick away from him

Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg says that as he prepares to face the Falcons and Devin Hester on Sunday, he’s not planning to wave the white flag of surrender and kick high and short or out of bounds to avoid giving Hester a chance to run the ball back.

Instead, Rosburg says, the Ravens will welcome the opportunity to compete with Hester, and plan to contain him.

“We have faced a lot of good returners this year already,” Rosburg told the Baltimore Sun. “When we play Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, we face very good punt returners of that caliber and of that type. We have a lot of confidence in our punt game. We have good gunners, we have a good punter and we have good inside core guys, so we are going to do all we can to try to contain him with what we do.”

Hester is the NFL’s all-time leader in kick return touchdowns, and this year he’s in the Top 10 in the NFL in both kickoff return average and punt return average. Rosburg says that makes the Ravens look forward to taking him on.

“It’s up to our guys. They relish a challenge,” Rosburg said. “And playing against the best returner touchdown-wise that there’s ever been, that’s a great challenge for our guys. They look forward to that challenge, but they also have a great deal of respect for whom we are playing. . . . He has the perfect combination of skills for a returner. He’s fast, and he has incredible change-of-direction skills. He can run up and smell somebody’s breath and then disappear. The other thing he can do, which people aren’t really that aware of, he can break tackles. He’s a strong runner. So, he really has the three-way combination to be the outstanding returner he is. Every time you give him the ball, he’s a threat to take it to the house, and that’s his goal.”

The Ravens’ goal is to keep Hester off the highlight reel on Sunday.

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