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Special Teams: Kick Return

I figured that because of the new rule limiting a team’s ability on kick return, I could show how the Bears performed their kick return.


The basic scheme is one of two ways: the Zone (or "Wedge") and Man to Man.

Follow me, friends:

The Zone asks that players stand shoulder to shoulder, link arms or other such things. The usefulness of this is that it clears a straight path for the returner to follow. But it also leaves defenders open on the field so if the wedge gets hung up then there are free moving defenders that have an open shot at the returner. This was the first way to run kickoffs back.

The Bears run a man-to-man scheme, which allows them to put a helmet on every man that is on the field except the kicker. The advantage of that is that they have all defenders blocked and allows the returner to pick their holes. The major disadvantage of this is that the team must rely on individual blockers keeping their assignments and not missing blocks as one missed block will allow a free defender to have a shot at the returner. The team must also rely on the returners' vision and judgment on finding the safest holes. This is what allowed Devin Hester and Danieal Manning to shine: they both have outstanding vision.

The Bears run a 5-4-2 return which means they line up five linemen at the line of scrimmage and four backers usually comprised of linebackers, fullbacks and tight ends, and two returners with the second returner acting as a lead blocker taking on the first man that comes his way. This is the general standard for kick returns, as it seems to be the most effective way of doing this.

My Take:

The Bears' special teams is by far the best in the NFL for one reason: Dave Toub. He is the reason the Bears have such a good special teams and I believe that he doesn’t get the respect he deserves as a coach.

Also, if you guys want anything in particular drop me a line.