“Da Hess” or the “Windy City Flyer” which is it?
He no longer has a nickname. That’s how much of a non-factor he’s been lately. Rather than reminiscing to the days when he was returning kicks for touchdowns as often as Will Smith was making appearances on the big screen, I want to take a bite into the present situation like a piece of a Chicago Deep Dish Pizza from Gino’s East. How has he been so quickly forgotten? Forgot how fresh the Windy City Flyer was when he taking punts the distance. You don’t even have to forget on purpose, its been that long since he’s made a trip to the end zone. Used to be a frequent flyer to pay dirt, now he’s a rare visitor. Last time he scored a TD: Week 7, @Cincinnati, 2009. Last time he brought back a punt for six: Week 17, vs. New Orleans, 2007. More like the pauper than the prince nowadays.
How does he regain his form/swagger? For a guy who’s longest play of the year in ‘09 was just 48 yards, there has to be something wrong, right? I mean, he’s not even the best receiver on the team named Devin! First things first, let’s dismiss the notion he should be a full-time return specialist. That’s not going to work. It didn’t for Dante Hall, and it won’t for him. Anyways, you don’t pay a guy like you are paying Hester just to return kicks. There was no way he was going to keep at the pace he was going during ‘06-07. Another thing, don’t buy into the hype he’s not a receiver, he’s too raw, and he will never get it. That’s complete ludicrous, just like the rapper himself, that’s a bunch of non-sense.
Next, now that we have taken care of the past and dissected the myths, we can get down to business. With that being said, let’s look at five simple ways the Chicago Bears, Jay Cutler, and Mike Martz can get Devin Hester more involved. With a guy that has his skill set, playmaking ability, and speed he has to be more involved in the game plan. How can he not be open? Better yet, how can he not get open? On top of that, he has one of the most innovated minds in all the game, offensive guru Mike Martz, drawing up the plays. Even more, he possess one of the most talented, powerful arms throwing him the rock. Certainly, the opportunities abound with a rocket-launcher like Jay Cutler directing the offense. You have all the goods at your disposal to make big things happen in the passing game. Now, let’s go to work, shall we Devin? You ask what can he and Cutler do in order to make this happen? Here’s what they can do, five ways to get this combination on track, off and going:
1. QB meet WR: I truly believe if they put more time into it, and practice some go-to routes this thing will work. How can it not? You see star QB’s personally go to work with their #1 WR’s one-on-one before the game all the time. Let’s see what happens if Jay and Devin put more time and effort into their QB-WR relationship. You know what will happen. Go to work guys. More time=more success
2. Separate all things past: Obviously there’s something going on behind the scenes. They need to clear the air, put everything that has already happened behind them to make this thing work. A new start, a fresh beginning. You know the routine. Together they are making close to a whopping 30 million this season! Now together they have to hook-up and make touchdowns, big plays happen.
3. Short, quick slants open up deep ball: Trash the screen passes, reverses, and wildcat, that’s all too easy to defend and figure out. Let Devin beat his man off the line. Go quick slants early and often. Beat the opposition with that until they stop it. Make them cover #23 in short-area space. Then when they cheat, go deep. Jay’s got the arm, Devin’s got the speed. All they need now is to combine accuracy with hands, and you have deep completions.
4. Early emphasis: You need to make it a priority to get Hester involved on the first drive. First play, for that matter. He’s your most explosive weapon, your most dynamic playmaker. Go play-action deep. Put him in slot, put him in motion. Or even a deep comeback route. Just give him the ball first drive. Not only does it open up Devin for a big day, but it also opens up receivers for Jay.
5. Underneath crossing routes: With these 7-step drops being a staple of Martz’s timing offense, let’s get some crossing routes developing. Have Hester slowly work his route and then release across the field on a drag route. You put the ball in front of him as he beats his man off the line, it’s instant offense. Free up space and let him go to work. Crossing routes with Knox or even Forte would be interesting. Work more on stuff like this and forget about the trick plays.
Back to basics. Simple stuff should be the plan of attack. This stuff shouldn’t be a Catch-22. Its relatively easy: Have Jay throw to Devin and make every Sunday a Catch-23!