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Hester says he played hurt, Martz breaks down WRs

Bears receiver Devin Hester, who aims to get heavily involved in the team’s 2010 return game after taking a backseat in ’09, says he played hurt throughout last season.

I was really banged up this year,” Hester said.  “I really couldn’t use my left shoulder, really.”
Hester missed three of Chicago’s final four games with calf and ankle injuries.
“My quickness wasn’t there,” he added.  “I couldn’t push off.”
Still managing 57 receptions for 757 yards and three touchdowns, Hester was better in the full-time receiver role than a lot of observers predicted.  
New offensive coordinator Mike Martz indicated that he envisions Hester as a potential slot receiver when assessing the Bears’ receiver corps.
Boy they’ve got some speed,” Martz said.  “And that really is kind of a diamond to me.  When you look at that group, they can be a real strength of this football team. With [Devin] Aromashodu and [Johnny] Knox is a real diamond to me, and Hester, what he can do whether he’s outside or in the slot, the matchups on these guys are extreme.”
The slot receiver in Martz’s offense is an every-down player and just as likely a candidate to lead the team in receptions as either of the outside wideouts.
Hester will have to show improved durability to excel in the role.  He’ll be going over the middle a lot more often.  Hester’s role in the return game remains up in the air.  

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17 Responses to “Hester says he played hurt, Martz breaks down WRs”
  1. backuppunter says: Feb 5, 2010 11:16 AM

    Martz had a good offense once but its been awhile. Hester should never have been a no 2 wr. keeping him at 3 or 4 would be better and let him focus on the return game.

  2. danlinker says: Feb 5, 2010 11:21 AM

    I am not a cutler fan, but Martz is the right fit for him. He likes to sling it and so does Martz. Bears offense will be a lot better. Now if cutler will just get that smug little kid look off his face…….

  3. Jabberwocky says: Feb 5, 2010 11:22 AM

    Finally, the Bears offense will have a base 3- WR set! I just hope they can find someone to block at RT. This will bode well against the Vikings and Packers because the Bears will create some mismatches with LBs and safeties. If Cutler gets the time we’ll see a lot of big plays from this group.

  4. mrcmos says: Feb 5, 2010 11:22 AM

    Doesn’t matter…cause
    Da Bearse Still Suck!
    They Will Always Suck!
    They will Never Not Suck!

  5. Drat says: Feb 5, 2010 11:22 AM

    Remember Az Hakim? He started out as a return guy for the Rams back in the day, and he became a good slot receiver for Martz.

  6. TheDPR says: Feb 5, 2010 11:32 AM

    Hester has the talent and athleticism. He just needs to be healthy and have the right opportunities.

  7. dlodown1 says: Feb 5, 2010 11:46 AM

    Aromashodu…….Learn that man kids….It’s going to become household……….

  8. ChicagoJo says: Feb 5, 2010 11:50 AM

    I think the slot is a great place for him. Devin has speed, but its his bursts and direction changes in open space that made him such a threat on returns.
    Turner was absolutely clueless about how to translate that into an offensive weapon, as he drew plays to Hester like screens, reverses, and double reverses far more often than he lined him up in the slot. It did take Hester a little bit to pick up the route running, but I’m looking forward to how Martz will use him.
    Besides, returning punts and kickoffs shouldn’t keep you off the field for an entire offensive series. Knox and Aromashadu should line up as wide outs, so Martz can use double TE packages on 1st and 2nd down after a return, or plug in Bennett, Davis, Iglesias, or even Greg Olsen in the slot. Less likely under Martz would be to put two RBs in the backfield, but its also a viable option especially on 1st down after decent starting field position. If the Bears can manage a 1st down or two, or get caught in a 3rd and long than you can switch personnel and bring in Hester. 3rd and long could easily translate to a 4 receiver set in the Martz playbook anyhow.
    If he was substantially better than the other receivers, they’d probably never pull that kind of substitution, but I think Knox and Aromashadu have proven themselves as viable alternatives, and Bennett can hold his own as a possession guy. Hester’s value on special teams outweighs the contributions he could make on the first few plays of a drive. Especially since they may stick with a straight ahead runner on kickoffs, like Knox or Manning.
    Simple logic in my mind, and Mike Martz analyzes the hell out of his talent pool down to the last nuance. I bet you Hester returns to an expanded role on returns without a significant decline in catches and receiving yards.

  9. HarrisonHits says: Feb 5, 2010 12:00 PM

    Ok so if he was hurt most of the year how many times was he on their injury report ?

  10. Ross'sSweetMinus says: Feb 5, 2010 12:39 PM

    The Bears like the Lion, browns, raiders, seahawks, jags, bengals, Bills,
    Are all dog sh!t teams/organizations. They will never be really good teams cuz their ownership sucks. For this reason it trickels down into the day to day parts of the team.

  11. slutnuts says: Feb 5, 2010 1:40 PM

    @ross’s
    granted those teams arent that good now, but how can you say they will never be good? seattle and chicago both have played in the superbowl in the last 5 years, that doesnt sound like sh!t to me. if you can remember the 1980’s and early-mid 90’s the same was being said about indy and new england, among other teams…its all cyclical.
    however, you are right about the lions and bills

  12. JayBot says: Feb 5, 2010 1:44 PM

    I’m not sure Hester can take the beating that a slot receiver has to take. Since Greg Olsen can’t block, it would make more sense to make Olsen the slot receiver and go with Knox and Aromashodu on the outside. Desmond Clark is a more complete TE than Olsen. Hester should be primarily used as a kick returner with maybe a few plays on offense when they run a 4 or 5 receiver set.

  13. VegasBronco says: Feb 5, 2010 1:52 PM

    Here is marketing at it best. Mike Martz has to be the ringmaster for the Bears. They invested quite heavely in a QB without a plan on how to use him in a running offense.
    Come one, come all, to see how they change!
    OH WAIT, Martz already has the answer in rookies Aromashodu and Knox . Oh WOW I thought the Bears did not have a clue.
    Now, how to change the OL. As shown in 2009 not one can pass block.
    Question to Mike Martz, how do you change your George-like gunslinger into the efficient-effective Mr. Kurt Warner?

  14. IWRITEINALLCAPS says: Feb 5, 2010 2:12 PM

    I’D LOVE TO SHIP HESTER TO ARIZONA WITH A 3RD FOR BOLDIN.

  15. CTifer says: Feb 5, 2010 2:34 PM

    Johnny Knox is my fantasy sleeper for next season with with arrival of Martz.

  16. VoxVagina says: Feb 5, 2010 9:20 PM

    “I was really banged up this year,” Hester said. “I really couldn’t use my left shoulder, really.”
    I really played with a really hurt shoulder, for most of the season really. But really, the real problem was that our offense was really bad at really important times of games. I really never thought the season would be like that, but I am really looking forward to being a really good team next year. Jay will really take some strides in the right direction this offseason and we will really have one of the best passing offenses in the league. We really ended the season well, so I really think we can we continue that going in to next year. Really

  17. FumbleNuts says: Feb 6, 2010 11:45 AM

    Mike Martz needs to find a way to get Matt Forte into a Marshall Faulk type role.
    If he can do that…………. They might be able to come out of the gate hitting on all Cylinders.

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