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Does Patterson always have green light?

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I wouldn’t say that Cordarrelle Patterson always has the green light to take kickoffs out of the end zone. Appearing on the Bears Coaches Show this week on WBBM Newsradio 780 AM and 105.9 FM, special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor said that Patterson is instructed to take calculated risks in those situations. Said Tabor: “You have to be smart. You don’t want to be reckless. But at the same time obviously we’re returning the ball because [the opponent] just scored and our job is to change momentum. I like our guy that we have back there. Sure, when you bring the ball out there’s a chance that you might get tackled inside the 20. But I feel good about our guy getting it between at worst the 20 and 25.”

Patterson has returned five kickoffs for 145 yards so far this season. All five have come on kickoffs he’s brought out of the end zone: from 9, 3, 5, 5 and 6 yards deep. Each time, he’s reached at least his own 20, getting tackled at the 20, 20, 24, 20 and 33. Patterson’s 29.0-yard average would rank third in the NFL, but he doesn’t have enough returns to qualify. (You need 1.25 returns per game and Patterson has only five returns in five games.)

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