Devin Hester earns more praise from WR coach Darryl Drake

BOURBONNAIS — It’s that time of year.

‘‘Devin Hester [has improved] in every possible way,’’ Bears wide receivers coach Darryl Drake said, calling Hester the Bears’ most improved receiver. ‘‘Route running, everything. You just see it in everything he does right now. He understands it totally.

‘‘If you watched him in practice today, I mean, how many times did he get covered? You know what I’m saying? There’s just a difference.’’

The notion that Devin Hester is ready for a breakout season as a wide receiver has become as much a rite of Bears training camp as the rookie sensation or the high-profile position battle.

‘‘This is an offense that fits me,’’ Hester said. ‘‘My biggest thing is when I catch the ball, to accelerate and make guys miss. That’s my biggest goal this year: When I get my hands on the ball, I want to just explode out and make two or three guys miss before I go down. If it’s only two out there, I want to score.’’

All he has to do is do it. Hester has proved his harshest critics wrong by becoming a productive NFL wide receiver since making the transition to offense at the end of the 2007 season. He had 51, 57 and 40 receptions from 2008 to ’10, with 10 total touchdowns. But he has yet to become the No. 1 pass-catching threat worthy of the four-year, $40 million contract extension ($15 million guaranteed) he held out of camp for in 2008.

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