Eric Weems, who signed with the Bears last week, is a Pro Bowl kick returner. In four seasons in Atlanta, he has more than 3,700 return yards and three touchdowns. But the Bears already have one of the best return men of all time. What happens to Devin Hester?
General manager Phil Emery says not to worry. Weems is here to help Hester.
“We have a very dynamic plan for Devin. He will continue to return punts and kicks. We have a great tradition here in Chicago in terms of having multiple kick and punt returners. Johnny Knox and Devin, Danieal Manning. So we’ve had a really good mix. As coach [Lovie] Smith says, ‘You can’t have enough good returners and you can’t have enough good players.’ So we see Eric and Devin mixing very well. Devin’s going to have lots of roles. He’s going to play wideout. … Coach [Mike] Tice with his offense may surprise a few people in terms of how he’s going to use Devin.”
Two top-notch return men will also open the door for special teams coordinator Dave Toub the chance to come up with more creative plays that allow both Hester and Weems to shine. Remember the fake punt catch that Hester made while Knox ran the ball back for a touchdown? Bears fans can expect more like that.
The reality is that Hester plays better as both a return man and a receiver when he has help. Asking him to make 3-5 catches plus 5-10 returns in each game tires him out, and lowers the quality of both the returns and the receptions. In 2008 and 09, he made more than 50 catches and less than 1,00 return yards and no returns for a touchdown. Give the Ridiculous One some help, and he'll excel.