Commentary

Hester, Cribbs elevate their teams to the top spots

Explosive return men Devin Hester of Chicago and Josh Cribbs of Cleveland have their teams at the top of Scouts Inc.'s special teams rankings.

Originally Published: July 17, 2008
By Ken Moll | Scouts Inc.
Yes, the Bears and Browns have the two best return men in the league, but that is not the only reasons they are atop Scouts Inc.'s rankings of the top 10 special teams units in the league. Here's a look at what else makes them the best, and how the rest of the top 10 shakes down.

1. Chicago Bears
There is no question about this one. The Bears have the most dangerous punt and kick returner in the league in Devin Hester, who marked up six touchdowns in 2007. He changes every opposing special teams coordinator's approach to coverage. Simply put, teams pay when they kick the ball to Hester. The punting duties are in good hands with Brad Maynard, one of the most consistent in the league in terms of hang time and distance, while kicker Robbie Gould kicked 31 of 36 attempts last season. With their lack of a consistent offense, the Bears rely on their special teams to keep them in games.

2. Cleveland Browns
Josh Cribbs is an elusive, explosive returner who shows great instincts and deceptive strength when hitting a crease. Cribbs scored three return touchdowns last season and broke several more long returns that changed field position for his team. Kicker Phil Dawson is extremely consistent, but punter Dave Zastudil and his coverage team were inconsistent, averaging only 34.6 net yards per attempt. Cleveland has the ability to tip field position in its favor when Cribbs has the ball in his hands, but there is always the chance their own coverage units will give that position back.


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Ken Moll

Scouts Inc.
Ken Moll spent 13 years scouting in the NFL, six with the Cleveland Browns, five with the Jacksonville Jaguars and two with the National Football Scouting combine. Before that, he spent 15 years as a collegiate assistant, nine at Richmond and six at Louisville, his alma mater.