Filtering through the notebook from Tuesday’s pre-draft session at Halas Hall ...
Maybe the most interesting nugget that didn’t involve a smokescreen was when special teams coordinator Dave Toub said he didn’t expect Devin Hester’s role to be reduced on special teams this season. Fact is, that mirrors what coach Lovie Smith said earlier in the month at the owners meetings in Florida. Smith said he would never take a player away from doing what he’s best at, and clearly being the game’s most dominant return man is Hester’s strength at this point.
The goal is for him to develop as a top receiver but that’s a work in progress.
“I’ve talked to Devin and I’ve talked to Lovie about it,’’ Toub said. ``Just having him line up on kickoff returns changes the mind set of the other team. I don’t think we’re going to see a situation where he’s not in there.
“If he’s a No. 1 receiver now, we’re projecting a lot of things, but if he is that guy then you’re going to look at it. But is he going to be that guy right now? I don't see that happening this year. That’s my personal view of it. Maybe down the road.’’
*** Quote of the day ...
General manager Jerry Angelo was asked why, in general, a team would extend the contract of a player who is already signed to a longterm deal? Hmm, who could this be about?
JERRY: “I’m not going to say there wouldn’t be a circumstance—and I don’t know who you’re talking about in particular so I can’t really get into the specifics—but I would say there would be circumstances that we would look at. We want to be fair and be good to our players, particularly the ones who have been Bears their whole career. I’m very sensitive to that. You talk about loyalty, you talk about creating good chemistry and good karma on the football team, it starts in that locker room. It starts with taking care of your players. I’m very sensitive to that. I’ve put teeth into that.
“We’ve done the best we can do to show every player we appreciate him to the best we can. It’s impossible to do it all the time with every player. But I have a good conscience on how we do our business. I’ve had one player in my tenure come back to me and say that he felt like the deal he signed was a bad deal. There were some circumstances that happened. I was understanding of them. We listened to them. It made sense. At the time it was a good deal. You don’t hoodwink players today, not with the agents and all the information that’s out there. We assess some of the things and we felt we can create something that benefited the club. It’s not a one-way street. It’s not a candy store. If I were in the self-serving business, I’d buy an ice cream truck. That’s not the way we operate here, so don’t let me have any of you run with that.”
*** Angelo says there are 10 players in this draft he feels can be Pro Bowl performers. Does that mean he’s fixing to deal up into the top 10?
*** Bob Babich’s defense is healing up nicely with Angelo reporting free safety Mike Brown will be cleared for a full return by the end of May. Cornerback Nathan Vasher is making his way back from the groin injury that wiped out most of 2007 for him, and defensive tackles Dusty Dvoracek and Tommie Harris are healthy. If the focus is almost strictly on offense, will Babich’s unit be OK going into 2008?
“We feel really good about our defensive unit right now,” he said. “Adding new players would just be a plus. We have some young players who didn’t have big roles last year that we feel comfortable with and are already on the team. Any time you add new players to the mix and competition it’s going to make you better.”