MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 1: Devin Hester returns a punt during the game against the Minnesota Vikings on January 1, 2012. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
With the Bears bringing in receivers like Brandon Marshall and return men like Devin Thomas and Eric Weems, is there still a role for Devin Hester?
Marshall says yes, and is predicting a big year for DH.
"Honestly I think he is going to have a bigger year than me this year. I just don't think he's been in an environment, a situation offensively that catered to him as a player. I think with [quarterback coach] Jeremy Bates and [quarterback] Jay [Cutler] growing and maturing, I think they will be able to put him in a better position this year to where he can probably do damage. I'm excited about everyone else, but the person I'm more excited to see is Devin," Marshall said on the Waddle and Silvy Show on ESPN 1000.
General manager Phil Emery echoed those thoughts after the draft.
“Devin’s role has not changed. We see him as a guy that is going to help our receiving corps in a big way. I know coach [Mike] Tice has done a lot of planning. We want to make sure that we have a special plan for Devin, we have the Devin package, a package of plays as a receiver. You never know where he is going to line up, and I don’t want to get too far ahead of that in terms of telling other people what we’re going to do with him. But we will have a package of plays that we feel can bring his dynamic ability to the forefront and not only as carrying or catching the ball but sometimes as a decoy."
The best thing for Hester is a balance that doesn't require him to contribute heavily on both offense and special teams. The seasons where he had more than 50 receptions were also the seasons where he averaged single digits and had no touchdowns on punt returns. Tice has worked with Hester for long enough to know this, so he should know how to give Hester a balance.