Chicago Bears' Devin Hester Twists Ankle in Practice, Alshon Jeffery Steps In
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Wide receiver Devin Hester twisted his ankle during the second practice of training camp, and as a result is out for the first day in full pads.
Hester was making quite a big impression in the first two practices—making big plays, showing good hands and running good routes. He was earning the praises of wide receivers coach Darryl Drake, and then toward the end of practice came up injured.
Hester is known as a training camp superstar, though this year the Bears are trying to turn their focus to getting Hester the ball more. The Devin Hester package seems to be a legitimate part of the offense for the first time during Hester's tenure as a receiver.
Hester sat out the first practice in pads as a result of his minor ankle sprain. The injury is not serious and Hester is expected to be back shortly.
If Hester is out for any real length of time, the opportunity for rookie Alshon Jeffery to continue to push for Hester's starting spot increases dramatically.
Jeffery too has already started to show off his ability during camp. He has stepped up and been one of the early stars of camp and during the first padded practice snagged yet another touchdown.
Matt Bowen of the Chicago Tribune has already pointed out that things that Jeffery does well, including being physical.
The only knock on Jeffery to this point is his route running and his ability to gain separation, something talked about on end during the lead up to the draft. NFL level route running will come in time, in fact it's something on which last year's NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year A.J. Green plans to improve.
In the mean time, Jeffery can win battles with his size and his physicality. The tired cliche goes, "you can't teach size," and that's something Jeffery has.
Jeffery can win on the inside slant routes and against press coverage because he can use his body to shield off the defenders. Winning with his body and winning in the jump game will give him confidence that he needs to succeed early and give Jay Cutler a much needed weapon.
The prediction here is Jeffery takes over for Hester sooner rather than later. Hester has speed, but has no where near the physical ability that Jeffery does.
That may be stating the obvious, but the fact is the physical aspect of NFL defenders are what Hester has struggled with. Hester struggles against bump and run and press coverage, and his lack of size means it will always be a weakness.
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