Dave Toub wonders about penalty on Bears punt vs. Packers
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org September 28, 2011 11:10PM
Updated: November 11, 2011 5:14PM
The Bears fooled the Green Bay Packers, Fox cameras and probably most of the people at Soldier Field when Johnny Knox took a punt that everybody thought was going to Devin Hester on the other side of the field and returned it 89 yards for a touchdown Sunday. And while it didn’t count, special-teams coordinator Dave Toub thinks it should have.
The ingenious play — where Hester feigned catching the punt and drew most of the Packers’ punt-return team toward him while Knox caught it on the other side of the field — was nullified by a holding penalty on Corey Graham, who was caught grabbing gunner Jarrett Bush near the 40-yard line.
‘‘I’m not sure what he saw, to be honest with you,’’ Toub said. ‘‘I think maybe the official thought he was trying to prevent [Bush] from going to Devin, which is where we wanted him to go. He was just kind of pushing him that way.’’
Graham, who is a gunner on punts and kickoffs and one of the best in the NFL, said he gets as much or more done to him on returns without anything being called.
‘‘It comes with the [gunner] position,’’ he said. ‘‘But I have to be smarter and leave the guy alone and not even touch him at all. It had nothing to do with the play. So just let him go.’’
As for the play itself, ‘‘You’re trying to create returns,” Toub said. ‘‘If they’re going to kick away from Devin . . . you spend hours thinking about different ways to make big plays, and that’s something we came up with.
Coming off the disappointing loss to the Packers, coach Lovie Smith was encouraged that the Bears are at least getting healthy. Safeties Chris Harris and Major Wright and running back Marion Barber returned to practice Wednesday and are expected to play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
Wide receiver Earl Bennett (chest bruise) and right tackle Gabe Carimi (knee) didn’t practice and aren’t expected to play Sunday. Tight end Matt Spaeth also missed practice with a calf injury.
Be like Mike?
Ron Rivera, on what he learned from Mike Ditka, the only coach he played for in the NFL:
‘‘One of the things that coach Ditka tried to get us to do was take ownership of our own actions. And that’s one of the things I’ve tried to stress with these guys. Take a little ownership because when you’ve invested something, it’s a lot harder to take losing, and that’s important