“Packers coach Mike McCarthy called it ‘top secret.’ Several other Packers refused to show their hands.
“Packers special teams standout Jarrett Bush was far more forthcoming. According to Bush, the Packers will do everything they can Sunday to make sure Bears return ace Devin Hester doesn’t touch the football.
“‘I don’t think so,’ Bush said when asked if the Packers would kick to Hester. ‘If he does, it’s going to be an accident.'”
I don’t think so either.
The Packers will, of course, try to punt away from Devin Hester. But as Bush implies, that doesn’t mean Hester won’t see his chances. Rob Demovsky writes about the difficulties for the Green Bay Press Gazette:
“Punting isn’t that exact of a science and in the Packers’ locker room on Monday, [Green Bay punter Tim] Masthay explained why. Using a pen and paper, he gave a geometry lesson on angles and explained why a 40-yard punt out of bounds is more than just a 40-yard punt.
“’If you want to hit a 40-yard punt out of bounds, it’s longer than hitting it straight up the field,’ Masthay said. ‘You have to hit like a 47-yard punt, and it’s very hard to hit it exactly where you want to hit it. It’s very easy to hit it (a lot shorter and out of bounds). And that’s why you don’t see guys do it or game plan that way very often.’”
This is the difficulty that the player who McCarthy called, “the best player on thier football team” and its probably one reason why he did. Hester is an example of why directional punters have become the norm in the NFL. Getting the ball where you want it is a skill without much room for error and in Hester’s case it like dancing on a razor’s edge.