Hester: Many changes ahead for Bears
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears receiver Devin Hester said Wednesday he believes there will be "a lot of" changes to the team after this disappointing season, and he sounded frustrated with the way he's been used in the offense.
"I think there will be [changes next year]," Hester said. "It's been what, three seasons like this, it's tough. There will be a lot of changes, I know that for a fact. I hope it's for the better."[We're] not blind. Everybody sees it. It's going to be a lot of new players, and probably some other things [will] change around here." Hester told reporters he's discussed the topic of offseason personnel turnover with Bears receivers coach Darryl Drake, who's believed to be in the final year of his contract. There's been strong speculation that Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner and his staff will be let go. The Bears are 5-8. "I talk to coach Drake a lot," Hester said. "He says, we all know that, things are going to change. New people are going to come in, old people are going to leave. We've just got to hope for the best, and at the end of the day, do your part." Hester is signed through 2013, so his return -- barring a trade -- is guaranteed. However, the transition to a No. 1 receiver has not been a smooth one, even though at one point Hester was on track for a 1,000-yard season. But those hopes were dashed due to injuries, inconsistent play, or perhaps a failure to utilize Hester in the proper way. "I'm just a player," Hester responded when asked about his use in the offense. "All I can do is go out and make the plays that are called for me." So are the Bears calling the correct plays? "It's tough watching other teams, other offenses find ways for other guys to get their hands on the ball better," Hester said. "Some plays we had called that ... went in during the week, [we] weren't able to call during the game because of certain situations. They did have a lot of good plays designed for myself and other receivers, but in certain situations we weren't able to call them."
Turner said he wasn't surprised to hear a player venting given all the questions about the uncertainty of the coaching staff's future.
"I mean that's obvious, they're going to hear that everywhere," Turner said after Wednesday's practice. "When you have a disappointing year, that's going to be the talk. They're going to hear it, we're going to hear it, and you just go about your business."
"When you're struggling, that's part of it. You can't really get caught up in all that. All you can do is continue to focus on the things you can control."
Bears coach Lovie Smith sidestepped questions about Hester's comments.
"You got to talk to Devin Hester about that, we're thinking about Baltimore," Smith said. "When you're 5-8, guys are frustrated, like we all are. I can't talk anymore than that, Devin, along with the rest of the guys, we all need to focus on Baltimore. No more than that."
Earlier in the day, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler downplayed the idea that he would have a major say in any offensive coaching changes, especially regarding the fate of Turner.
"I tell them how I feel, absolutely," Cutler said. "But by no means am I going to march up there and tell them what should happen, or what's going to happen. That's up to them. They're going to do the best thing for the team, and I'm going to do my job."At this point, I'm not going to get into that. That's not my job."
Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com.