Camp notes: Hester supposed to start with 1st team at receiver

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If Devin Hester is looking for a boost in his bid for a new contract--he's next in line now that Brian Urlacher is signed, sealed and delivered--how about his status as a starting wide receiver?

Offensive coordinator Ron Turner said Tuesday that Hester and Brandon Lloyd will likely start with the first team at practice today. The duo did quite a bit of that during the offseason program and Turner said they'll probably get the nod ahead of Marty Booker and the long list of others including Mark Bradley. Hester is hoping to be paid top dollar as a receiver and this is a start.

But coach Lovie Smith wasn't ready to potentially call him a No. 1 receiver.

``At all the positions right now, I'm not going to tell you who they are,'' Smith said of his top secret depth chart. ``We're going to go out on the football field and play and once we feel like everyone needs to know, we'll let you know then. If I know it a little bit earlier am I going to tell you, no.''

*** Urlacher on the defense which invested $94 million in Urlacher ($18 million), defensive tackle Tommie Harris ($40 million) and linebacker Lance Briggs ($36 million):

``Same defense,'' Urlacher said. ``I said to someone a while back, if we just stay healthy and keep guys on the field, the pieces are in place. We've just got to play and do our jobs.''

*** Quarterback Kyle Orton is in a new position no matter how this morning's coin toss with Rex Grossman turns out. The pair is using the old-fashioned way in a meeting with Turner to determine who will begin training camp with the first team today. The loser of the coin toss will take first-team reps Thursday and so forth. Turner said it will be balanced out so on days the team has two practices one guy isn't getting more.

Orton has been the No. 3 quarterback every other time camp has opened, so it's a new role for him. It means he'll actually get reps.

``No question,'' he said. ``I was kind of stuck back at three these last three camps and this is the first time I've come in with a chance to be the guy opening day. So I'm very excited, I've been excited for the last four or five months. So I'm ready to get going.''

*** Look for punter Zac Atterberry to take on some kicking duties. One of the losses in the hard limit of an 80-man roster was a fourth kicker-punter. The Bears are not going to wear out Robbie Gould so Atterberry will do some double dipping. He showed an impressive leg in the offseason program but it would be a stretch at this point for him to seriously challenge veteran punter Brad Maynard.

*** Great cool weather on reporting day Tuesday. Smith admitted he's like it a little warmer for some of the practices.

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10 Comments

I hope Bradley gets a chance to show his speed and talent after he passes his physical.I really think the receiving corps, including the tight ends, could emerge as one of the absolute best in the NFL. If the quarterback gets protection and Turner implements more passing plays, including from the shotgun, the Bars could be awesome on offense.

Paul awesome is a bit much but you can see the Bears are trying to make teams play honest by forcing them to keep the safety back away from the line of scrimmage, having speed on both sides opens the middle of the field were the TE's should be 1 on 1 if done correctly could be effective. The key is the development of the offensive line that will be the key to the team as a whole if that line holds up could be a great year.

Hester and Lloyd are taking reps with the first team? Now this is surprising. I thought for sure Marty Booker was going to start. But this is very surprising and I like being surprised. This shows me that it really is a full out competition for WR. Go Bears!

QBs, RBs, OL, WRs ------ all very interesting challenges, lots of talent, youth mixed with experience.
The biggest question mark in my mind, however, is Ron Turner. If we don't see more unpredicatibility in his play calling, if we don't see less conservativism and more imaginative scheming, we are doomed to see a repeat of last year.
Yes, I know about injuries, inexperience, poor execution, etc. Yes, they are all major factors. But I think the offensive (use this word any way you like) play calling and coaching has been getting off way too lightly by the media and fans.
It is time to make Turner and his boss, the one who ultimately is responsible for both (all three?) sides of the ball, accountable!
"If you keep doing what you have been doing, you can expect the same results." This has never been truer than now, when it comes to the Bears coaching staff this year!
They need to be held accountable, strongly! CHANGE!

This is a surprise to me, I guess Hester must have shown a lot during the OTA's. I would have figured Marty Booker would have been in the starting lineup. Devin Hester does have more experience in Turners offense than Booker although. I think Booker will be a starter as soon as he becomes more familiar with the terminology of Turners offense. My guess is, the starters will be, Marty Booker, and if healthy Mark Bradley. If Bradley is not healthy, than Brandon Lloyd.
Devin Hester does intrigue me, and who knows, maybe he is ready to be a number one? I think Hester is one year away myself. I can see Hester developing into the new Curtis Conway for the Bears. Ya never know GO BEARS!!

Mike,
Does it tell you that it is a full-out competition, or does it tell you that Brandon Lloyd is a practice hall-of famer? I have heard that as one of the knocks on him, that he is an all-Pro in practice, but never translates that to the field.

Both guys do have an advantage over Booker, in that they know the offense, but this concerns me. Is Booker a step slower like the whispers at the end of last year said he is? Are the QBs not as comfortable with him as they are with the newer, flashy weapons in Lloyd and Hester? Grossman did not seem to gel with Muhammed as well as Griese did, and there were many reasons for that. Could the same be happening with Booker, where he gravitates towards the younger players who accept his "questionable" leadership skills, as opposed to leaning on a strong veteran presence?

Either way, if we want our passing game to be successful this season, two things have to happen, and one will make the other a reality:

1. Olsen and Clark need to be the focal point of the passing attack
2. Orton has to win the job outright

If Orton gets the job, then the middle range passes are possible. Grossman does not have the field vision to complete anything short over the middle. He can see outside the box, and he can see down the field, but he doesn't see the short to intermediate routes in the middle. All of his big completions in that area have been floater passes where he tries to drop it in where he expects the receiver to be. He has to see it, and he has to deliver with some zip in many cases. Orton can see the field, and while he may not have quite as high a ceiling as Grossman, he is not far behind. We have seen what Rex can and cannot do. I want to know what a QB who learned from Joe Tiller can do when given the full playbook, and a 16 game season of possibility. If he bombs, you have Grossman behind him to come in and play savior (how would that be for irony??). If he succeeds, then the front office looks like geniuses for only giving Rex a 1 year deal. Either way, we are probably looking at a QB in next year's draft, but it would be nice to know if we have a decent option to hold down the fort.

Im not holding my breathe on Hester and Lloyd being the starting WRs but it sure is interesting. I believe that the WR possition will not be defined untill the end of pre-season. I want to invision that Lloyd and Hester will make up for the loss of Barrian and Booker will make up the loss for Moose. One could only hope that all 3 will fill the void left behind.
As far as Orton and Grossman I dont care who starts I just want to see smart QB play.When Grossman is in there I see a QB that wants to put up points fast. Orton, I see he just wants to do his job the way he is told how to do it. Nothing wrong with a tool at QB. Probably serves better for Turners offense.
Most importan injury free throughout the camp and pre-season!

I find the concept that Grossman didn't gel with Moose intriguing, given that they were practically each other's best friends, on field and off. Also, the only reason you didn't see Grossman going to Moose more was that he started to drop key passes, and he wasn't the guy 50 yards down field (that was Berrian.)

I am not surprised by Hester but I am by Loyd, I guess maybe the all pro practice stuff is right on, who knows? Now that would be wrong having Loyd break out with the Bears, more than a couple teams would be PO lol. After I saw Hester run a cross and finger grab a pass and freakin RUN past the DB, it was a matter of time before he gets No. 1 WR. Hester has a real chance (a year away from that probably) I could not believe the guy finger grab the ball. Especially after all the dropsies by WR last year. I woulda thought Booker would get in there though, maybe Coach wants to give the newer WR some confidence, thats Coachin. I would imagine they had Hester studying the playbook all off season to get into position.
Don't get me wrong I like Orton and I feel it's his year and his time, but if Rex could play like his self we would be fine with that, This is Rex last shot - lotta pressure, hope the Indiana kid comes through ;)

Well it looks like Hester won't be getting the start today or tommorrow. Hold out time, Prime Time Jr is in the house or actually he is no were to be found. Also they want to use 185 pound Devin Hester to replace moose, great, can't wait to see him flash the middle of the field on short slants. Oh wait someone needs to tell Hester were to stand and what a slant is. Turner is an idiot, putting Hester at the 2. Oh and Lloyd at the one, this should be good, I would rather see Booker at the fly than this nut job.

Now what did I say Turner was going to do with Llyod this off season? Oh yeah make him the starter to replace BB. Everyone was talking about Bradley and Booker or even Bennett. Turner is a Hommer, and Lloyd stinks, if that is your starter at the 1 be worried. Kicked off two teams in three years and none of them had the problem at QB that the Bears do.

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