Putting Devin Hester in slot could be jackpot

LAKE FOREST, Ill.—Chicago Bears coaches annually express optimism that wide receiver/return man Devin Hester will be a huge factor in the passing game. That hasn't happened yet, with Hester's career high at 57 receptions in 2009.

This year he's unlikely to go near that number again, but the coaching staff saw evidence in preseason of what they think can be Hester's legitimate role in this attack—one that could make him an even bigger factor than when they thought he would be their No. 1 receiver.

Moving inside to the slot at times, Hester will be matched up on nickel backs and lesser defenders. His previous matchup usually came against one of the top two cornerbacks or even double teams.

With Brandon Marshall, Earl Bennett and Alshon Jeffery attracting the attention, it's also hoped Hester will get more chances for wide-open catches so he can display some of the speed shown so often on special teams.

Anticipate more drag routes or better-devised screens for Hester.

"Now I can go in and just play and not try to put a lot of pressure on myself to be the guy who takes over the game for us," Hester said.

In preseason, there was evidence to support all these possibilities. Hester was targeted four times and caught all four. In the past, the problem wasn't Hester dropping open passes, but him getting open against the top defensive backs or making catches in tight coverage.

Bookmark and Share
blog comments powered by Disqus