There’s been quite a bit of talk about Devin Hester’s role on the Bears in 2012 recently.
Offensive coordinator Mike Tice said he should be fired if he doesn’t figure out a way to get Hester involved in the offense and Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com reported that Hester is currently slated to start opposite Brandon Marshall at receiver with rookie Alshon Jeffrey in the slot. He’s also got a certain flair for the punt return game, all of which adds up to a lot of snaps for Hester.
When the Bears signed Eric Weems this offseason, it gave them another experienced kickoff returner. Weems’ presence and the talk of an increased offensive role made some think that Hester’s role on kickoff returns would decrease. Special teams coach Dave Toub said that’s not the case.
“Hester is our punt returner and he is our No. 1 kickoff returner,” Toub said, via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. “He is still our No. 1 kickoff returner. … We can put (Weems and Hester) back there and if they kick away from Devin, they’ll kick it to Weems and we’ll be in good shape.”
It sounds like we’re going to see a lot of Hester this season. That must be why Marshall thinks Hester is going to have a better year than him.
The Bears used Johnny Knox on kickoff returns in a similar way last season. He wound up returning 15 kicks for a 26.5-yard average, higher than Hester’s, before a back injury ended his season and his status for 2012 is still up in the air. Weems averaged 23.5 yards per return last season in Atlanta last year and returned a kickoff for a touchdown in 2010.