It looks like the Chicago Bears will use their fifth different punt returner this season when they return to action in Week 12.
DeAndre Carter is a member of the Bears after being waived by the Texans on Monday. Chicago was awarded Carter on a waiver claim on Tuesday. Carter joins the team primarily as a return specialist. And because the Bears don’t play for another 10 days, there’s time to get up to speed with his new surroundings without thrusting him into action.
See, I told you the bye week came at a perfect time!
Carter, 27, has 39 games of experience in three seasons played with the Eagles and Texans. He even has seven starts under his belt as a receiver. But don’t expect him to jump right in and run routes, as his primary duty will be return punts. Thankfully, Carter has an extensive history in that area. Carter has returned 59 punts for 559 yards. He does’t have any touchdowns under his belt, but that 9.5 yards per return average is nifty.
And this one return is pretty dope:
Huge 42-yard punt return by DeAndre Carter pic.twitter.com/QHosOpA74z
— Kansas More Chaints (@AdrianFedkiw) September 30, 2018
However, Carter’s departure from Houston is an eyebrow raiser. Carter’s 8.7 yards per return is the worst showing of his career. Moreover, it looks like the Texans have been looking to go elsewhere in the punt return game for some time (and using creative measures to do so):
Special teams coach Tracy Smith on returners/Keke Coutee getting time there: "DeAndre's been a reliable punt catcher, he's had the ball on the ground but both of those times have been on returns after he caught the ball, so that's a whole team issue, not a DeAndre Carter issue." pic.twitter.com/jgAAJlGTSe
— Asinine Punk (@riversmccown) October 28, 2020
Romeo Crennel on DeAndre Carter/returner situation: "The decision wasn't to take Carter out, because he was in on the punt return, but we had two punt returners back … the weather had something to do with that … we might continue to do that from time to time." pic.twitter.com/qsCt2NmBI6
— Asinine Punk (@riversmccown) November 16, 2020
Dwayne Harris triceps injury pushed the team to get even more special teams help. And while I thought Anthony Miller looked good in his run in the return game, Chicago’s coaches clearly value him more as a receiver than they do as a returner. In other words, the Bears don’t want to repeat what happened at the end of 2019 when Miller injured his shoulder on a kick return. The injury necessitated offseason surgery, his second in as many seasons.