Jerry Rosburg and Devin Hester had crossed paths before, working together at a Pro Bowl. But since the Ravens signed Hester to a one-year deal with a $1 million base salary and a $100,000 signing bonus Monday, Rosburg has developed a greater appreciation for the NFL's all-time leader in return touchdowns.
"I've learned a lot from him and what he looks for, what his style is, how he likes to approach the game [and] what his preparation fundamentals are," Rosburg said after Thursday's practice. "It's been really, really educational for me to listen to him talk football. That was something I wasn't aware of. I knew him minimally. I knew him from the Pro Bowl, but I never had that conversation with him at the Pro Bowl. I'm really glad he's on our team for all of the talents that he brings, but I'm also glad he's on our team because he's a really good guy."
When asked what makes the 33-year-old Hester better at returning kicks and punts than any other player, Rosburg quipped that he wished he had his scouting report on Hester from when he left the University of Miami and entered the 2006 draft.
"The thing that makes Devin special, in my view, is he has the ability to break away," Rosburg said. "He has elite speed. He has change-of-direction skills that are also elite. He has hands, he has ball skills that are very good. Then, the other thing that people aren't really aware of when you watch him in some of these big returns is that he will break tackles. He has a strong lower body, and people bounce off him. That is a pretty good combination, and we are looking forward to having that on our sideline instead of trying to chase him."
Rosburg said the challenge now is to prepare the players assigned with blocking for Hester to adjust to his preferences and strengths.
"The difficulty really is having our players play with him and understanding how he plays the game – every one of these guys – especially in a punt return when the play is a work of art," Rosburg said. "He is going to find space and go. We have to learn how to play with Devin Hester as our returner. And we will, and that's why we've been working hard in practice to try to get to know one another in that regard."
Rosburg said he was not surprised to see kicker Wil Lutz signed by the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday because he saw Lutz's willingness to learn from kicker Justin Tucker, holder Sam Koch and long snapper Morgan Cox. "He was willing to listen, he studied tape and he worked hard and took extra days of reps, and it paid off for him," Rosburg said. "This is one of the stories that, in my view, makes America great." … Former Ravens defensive end Chris Canty, who spent three seasons with the team, visited the training facility in Owings Mills on Thursday as part of his duties with the NFL Network.