Devin Hester at Running Back for Chicago Bears?

Rod CiomborContributor IJune 10, 2009

CHICAGO - DECEMBER 07: Devin Hester #23 of the Chicago Bears runs for yardage after catching a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars on December 7, 2008 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Packers 23-10. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Well, maybe not running back in the traditional sense, but coming out of the backfield anyways. 

The main reason I am writing this article is because I am convinced that the Bears have been using Devin Hester incorrectly ever since this whole offensive experiment began. In my view, they took one of the most special, freakishly talented and athletic players in the game, and turned him into Bernard Berrian. 

Having Hester line up at wide reciever and sprint toward the end zone may work well in Madden (and may work well this year since they now have Cutler), but it takes away a key aspect of Hesters game: His ability to improvise in space.

When I first heard the Bears were switching him over, I salivated over the possibility of the Bears using him like the Saints used Reggie Bush. I figured they would line him up not just at wideout, but in the backfield as a running back, as well (maybe in tandem with whoever their main running back happened to be). 

I figured they would run a lot of screen passes and sweeps, while also splitting him out wide and sending him on deep or medium routes. Maybe they would even start him in the backfield and have him work his way downfield. 

If they did this, opponents would have no way of knowing where he was going to go next, and, typically, if you guess with a guy like Hester, you will probably get torched more often than not.

With the way they use him now as a standard wide receiver, however, everybody knows he's just going to go deep every play and and cover him accordingly.   

Maybe they didnt want to overburden him with stuff to learn, but it seems to me that adding a run left and run right sweep and screen pass to the mix isnt going to strain his brain too much, especially since he played running back in college.

To summarize, sure, line him up at wide and have him sprint to the end zone, but you can probably find a lot of wide recievers who are fast and can do that better than he can. 

To best utilize Hester, they need to devise plays that get him the ball in stride (not standing still like they always did last year, plays which typically produced no gain), giving him a chance to make some plays in open space, just like when he's returning kicks.

If they added these four plays to his playbook and lined him up at running back, it would pay big dividends for the Bears.