Harrison: Quarterback battles
Elliot Harrison analyzes six hotly contested quarterback competitions for 2012, plus a bonus "battle" on Broadway. More ...
There's been talk of limiting Hester's snaps to a package of plays that best use his talents. "Play him 15 (plays), let him touch it 13 (times)," receivers coach Darryl Drake told ESPNChicago.com earlier this month. "In order for him to be effective, we don't need to have him out there playing that many plays. If he's out there, put the ball in his hands. We need to have that package, and (offensive coordinator) Mike Tice -- I promise you -- he's going to do it."
Cutler played devil's advocate in picturing a role for the 29-year-old Hester:
"I don't think less plays is the answer for him," the quarterback said. "I think we're just going to put Devin in position to be successful every time he's out there. He's getting more and more comfortable with me and I think (Tice's) offense suits his abilities a lot better."
Hester remains the team's return man -- very bad news for all opponents -- but he hasn't ever really worked as a pure receiver. Don't expect him to take over at wideout this season. It's not unlike the problem the Cleveland Browns face in trying to squeeze Josh Cribbs into a pass-catching role. These guys must be used in a way that creates matchup problems for defenses by maximizing their unusual gifts. Easier said than done in some schemes, but we might finally see Hester operate in a play package that sets him free.