Don't expect Devin Hester to be too ridiculous
Wide receivers coach Darryl Drake’s declaration yesterday that the Bears’ pass catchers can be better in 08 than they were in 07 got the blogosphere talking. Everyone was laughing at him, but hey, at least they were talking.
As MJD and MDS pointed out, Drake is, of course, wrong (probably). The Bears lost both starters from an already below average unit last year, and didn’t really sign anyone to replace them. Marty Booker should give the Bears anywhere from 85-110% of Mushin Muhammad was able to do last year. But who’s to replace Bernard Berrian?
Everyone agrees that Berrian got waaaaaay too much money this offseason from the Vikings, but he was still the Bears best offensive player by a mile. Even worse, Berrian could have easily have been kept for another season if the Bears simply stuck him with the franchise tag. You know, the same way they kept Lance Briggs around last season.
For whatever reason, the Bears didn’t do it. So even though Berrian isn’t worth $42 million, the Bears still lost the best player from an already terrible offense to the best team in their division for nothing. That isn’t good.
Even though Drake seems to be in love with Rashied Davis, there is only one guy that can prove him right: Devin Hester. Hester’s first season as a wideout last year was a mixed bag. He caught some long touchdowns (against Minnesota), and dropped some too (like the certain touchdown against the Giants that bounced off his helmet).
Hester doesn’t have any choice this year. If the Bears offense is going to be even marginally competent, he has to be amazing.
Right now, Drake thinks he can do it:
''I have been around a lot of guys, a lot of really good receivers, and he has a chance to be better than all of them,'' said Bears wide receivers coach Darryl Drake, who has worked with Hines Ward and Roy Williams. ''That is a strong statement, but I really believe that.
Really, I’m not all that concerned about Hester’s hands. He’s proved that he can hold onto the ball. But will he run the right routes? Of that I’m not so sure.
We all love Devin Hester. Everyone does. But let’s remember how many times he lined up in the wrong spot last season. At least twice a game. Sometimes more. While Bears fans clamored for him to be on the field more, if he ran a fly route when he was supposed to be running a slant, then he wasn’t going to help anyone.
I fear the comparisons to Steve Smith are way too premature. Yeah both are small, fast, and feisty. But Steve Smith isn’t an idiot. Hester sort of is. I should know. I talked to the guy and convinced him that I was Rex Grossman’s little brother (“Luke”).
It’s not that you have to be some sort of mathamagician to play wide receiver in the NFL, but it is a little complicated. At least it’s more complicated than returning kicks, and we already know Hester’s secret formula for that. He runs to the colors. This guy isn’t exactly TJ Henderson here.