Bears’ Devin Hester not threatened by new WR talent, coach says
By Sean Jensen firstname.lastname@example.org May 13, 2012 9:22PM
Chicago Bear Devin Hester runs a punt return past Minnesota Vikings Larry Dean (left) and Chris Kluwe during the 3rd quarter. The Bears won 39 to 10 in game at Soldier Field. | Thomas Delany Jr.~ Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 15, 2012 10:53AM
Bears receiver Devin Hester isn’t insecure about the addition of second-round pick Alshon Jeffery, position coach Darryl Drake says.
‘‘I promise you Devin is not reading press clippings about Alshon Jeffery, but I bet Alshon Jeffery is reading press clippings about Devin Hester,’’ Drake said Sunday. ‘‘Devin Hester don’t give a crap. He just wants to go out there and play.
‘‘And let me tell you something about Devin Hester — you got to know how I feel about him: All we’ve got to do is use him. That’s all we have to do, and you’ll see what kind of player he is, period.’’
Hester had just 26 catches for 369 yards and one touchdown last season. His best season was in 2009, when he caught 57 passes for 757 yards and six touchdowns in 13 games.
Drake said other NFL players would attest to Hester’s talent at receiver.
‘‘Ask Brandon Marshall what he thinks about him as a player,’’ Drake said. ‘‘Ask Darrelle Revis and some of those guys what they think about him as a player, and what they feel they have to do to cover him. Is there a concern? Ask those guys. Don’t ask me — ask those guys. They’ll tell you, because they tell me.
‘‘Ask defensive coordinators around the league. So the talent has always been there. It’s just a matter of not having him play 70 plays a game. Throw to him twice. Play him 15, let him touch it 13. You know?’’
The key for the Bears, Drake said, is to use Hester at a maximum level when he’s on the field.
‘‘If he’s going to play 70, the ball needs to come his way 10, 12 times a game, easily,’’ Drake said. ‘‘But in order for him to be effective, we don’t need to have him out there playing that many plays.’’
With that being said, Drake is pleased with the additions of Jeffery, Brandon Marshall, Eric Weems and Devin Thomas.
Marshall, he said, has been a ‘‘joy’’ to work with.
‘‘I mean, he’s a football player,’’ Drake said. ‘‘He just does things, he’s just a joy to be around, period. He’s a joy to me — he’s a student of the game first and foremost in the meetings. He is the one that is forcing Earl [Bennett] and Devin and Dane [Sanzenbacher] and those guys to raise their games. He’s the one that’s forcing them to do that because of his talent.’’