Filtering through the notebook from Tuesdays pre-draft session at Halas Hall …
Maybe the most interesting nugget that didnt involve a smokescreen was when special teams coordinator Dave Toub said he didnt expect Devin Hesters 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 hes best at, and clearly being the games most dominant return man is Hesters strength at this point.
The goal is for him to develop as a top receiver but thats a work in progress.
Ive talked to Devin and Ive talked to Lovie about it, Toub said. “Just having him line up on kickoff returns changes the mind set of the other team. I dont think were going to see a situation where hes not in there.
If hes a No. 1 receiver now, were projecting a lot of things, but if he is that guy then youre going to look at it. But is he going to be that guy right now? I don’t see that happening this year. Thats 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: Im not going to say there wouldnt be a circumstanceand I dont know who youre talking about in particular so I cant really get into the specificsbut 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. Im 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. Im very sensitive to that. Ive put teeth into that.
Weve done the best we can do to show every player we appreciate him to the best we can. Its impossible to do it all the time with every player. But I have a good conscience on how we do our business. Ive 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 dont hoodwink players today, not with the agents and all the information thats out there. We assess some of the things and we felt we can create something that benefited the club. Its not a one-way street. Its not a candy store. If I were in the self-serving business, Id buy an ice cream truck. Thats not the way we operate here, so dont 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 hes fixing to deal up into the top 10?
*** Bob Babichs 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 Babichs 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 didnt 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 its going to make you better.