The Ravens were lucky enough not to face Bears return specialist Devin Hester in the teams’ last meeting in 2009, but special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg is fully aware of how dangerous the 31-year-old can be in not only flipping field position but also changing the momentum of the game.
Though not as dangerous as he once was, Hester still ranks fifth in the NFL in kickoff return average (28.2) and returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown earlier this season.
“We have that concept in baseball [of] a five-tool player; well, this is like the three-tool returner,” Rosburg said of the three-time Pro Bowl return specialist. “He’s got great speed, he can change directions with the best of them, and he can break tackles. That’s what makes him, in my view, so special. Obviously, his numbers speak for themselves. He’s a special returner, and we have to play especially well to keep him in check. It takes a whole team to stop this guy.”
Reed to return again
A day after Harbaugh confirmed a reunion with former Ravens safety Ed Reed was not in the plans, the 35-year-old future Hall of Famer reached an agreement to join the New York Jets just two days after being cut by the Houston Texans.
The move reunites Reed with Rex Ryan — his longtime defensive coordinator in Baltimore — and Dennis Thurman, who is the Jets’ current defensive coordinator and formerly coached the defensive backs in Baltimore. More significantly for the Ravens, it means Reed will face his former team a second time this season after he made his Texans debut in Baltimore in Week 3.
“How crazy is that? It’s always good to see Ed again,” Graham said. “Obviously, you don’t want to see him on the other team, but he’s got to do what he’s got to do. Things didn’t work out with him in Houston, so he signed with the Jets. They’re actually playing well right now, so it’s crazy how that seems to fit for him. I wish him the best. I look forward to seeing him next week, but hopefully we’ll go home with the victory.”
Reed becomes the second longtime Raven in the last three years to face his former team twice in the same season with two different teams as wide receiver Derrick Mason did it in 2011. Ironically, Mason first played against the Ravens as a member of the Jets before he was released and picked up by the Texans, the reverse order that Reed experienced.