Chicago Sun-Times

Filtering through the notebook: Hester, ice cream trucks and 10 Pro Bowlers

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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.”

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Jerry burps..."You talk about loyalty, you talk about creating good chemistry and good karma on the football team, it starts in that locker room"

Two words....Rex Benson

I know of 31 other locker rooms that wouldn't have 'em..

The only chemistry last year was the last two games of the season...

With no real changes on the defense, we can be a top 5 unit with some better bounces as far as health goes. Dvoracek, Harris, Idonije, Toeaina, and Adams is solid at DT, and Brown, Ogunleye, and Anderson gets you what you need out of a DE rotation. If Bazuin is even remotely decent, then you have a very solid group. Briggs and Urlacher can book their hotels in Hawaii for February, and Hillenmeyer is a great complement to what they do. Jamar Williams, Okwo, Rod Wilson are very solid from a depth perspective, and are good special teams candidates to replace Ayanbadejo. Vasher, Tillman, and McBride could be a formidable trio, and that is forgetting Ricky Manning Jr., who I hope is released or traded before the season starts. Safety is the only question mark, and it is only a question if Mike Brown is out. I think Payne, Manning, and McGowan are solid, but not spectacular, and can carry the torch without Brown. Archuleta can bring them towels and drinks on the sideline..

No matter what way you slice it, the offense will have no chemistry. New offensive line starters in at least 2 spots, possibly 3 or 4. QB is not settled yet. New running back, or healed running back. Your top receivers from last year are gone, and replaced by new players to the system. They will not be able to get gelled as a unit until well into the season, so the defense needs to be on their game from week 1 through February, if we get that far. The offense will not only have to understand what the new additions bring to the team, but integrate the weapons we have into a cohesive game plan. Do they run 2 tight end sets? That means 1 WR if they go from the I-formation, 2 WRs in single back. Can we throw successfully from those looks? Can we run when we go 3 or 4 WRs? We have no basis for comparison, because all of the personnel could conceivably be different in the passing game. Orton could be throwing to Booker, Hass, and Bradley when all is said and done, and handing off to Matt Forte`.

Special teams is also a unit in flux. You know what you have in Gould and Mannelly. But Ayanbadejo is gone, so he needs to be replaced, and Idonije might be forced to bulk up to play inside full time, so that could hurt the coverage units. John Gilmore also needs to be replaced. Is Maynard going to be solid again, or do they need to start thinking about his replacement?

We have to go into the season with what we have, and that is a known quantity on defense. We can be dominant there. The rest will just have to be a work in progress.

Vash, Harris, Dust and Brown where all healthy at the begining of last year too and the year before. Remind me what happened to them all, oh they got hurt.

Booker is are number one reciever, great. Oh and it looks like Toub agrees with me that Hester is not going to be this stud reciever this year, that it actually takes time to develop. Where are all the fans who have been saying he will be the best wr in football this year, way better than BB??

Hitman, how can you say "Rex Benson". Yes, Benson has had his turmoil with the other players. But Rex? The team absolutely loves Rex. Its the only reason he is still around.

Booker is so under-rated i can hardly believe it..this guy took his first catch ( a screen from that scrub mcnown) to the house 66 yards. he's better than bb and moose combined because he will actually fight for balls. If you people think our quarterbacks are bad look at the dolphins. He's well rested and ready to go to the probowl

Billy who are you kidding, cmon man Booker has been in the top 10 in dropped passes almost every year he has played. He will be 32, he has injury issues and he is slow. He got benched in Miami, how bad do you have to be to get benched and then cut from Miami?? Moose has better career numbers than him. Freakin Moose.

Not so fast Creighton. Players who have high dropped pass stats are usually the top guys, like Randy Moss and Terrel Owens. Believe it or not, it's true. It would make sense since these guys have the ball thrown at them more than anyone and drops are, from time to time, inevitable. So a player dropping several passes may be a good thing. Huh?

well i have to agree with Billy and Mike abot Booker. He's gone hard on every down for chicago always has and probably always will. Are we talking about injuries? isn' this the receiver who played a game with a separated shoulder against philly in the O1 playoffs? Although Booker has never had the break away speed of Berrian he's been a clutch posession receiver and has put up respectable performaances with no other real threats at wide out....... umm dez whtie david terrel to mention his supporting cast. The only real challenge Booker will face on the bears offense is having time to get open with the holes in the O-line.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 23, 2008 9:10 AM.

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