Cutler: No worries about Devin Hester

Updated: September 16, 2010, 5:08 PM ET
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears' supposed No. 1 receiver, Devin Hester, didn't disappear last Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

Quarterback Jay Cutler insinuated that Hester simply couldn't get open against a banged-up Lions secondary.

"If Devin would've gotten open, I would've thrown him the ball," said Cutler, who threw only one pass Hester's way while directing 10 attempts to Devin Aromashodu, who is considered the club's No. 3 target. "We've talked about this before the first game. It's gonna be game by game who gets the ball; depending on what coverage -- if they're rolling strong, if they're rolling weak -- we're gonna go with the matchups.

"They were doing some stuff to Devin, putting some guys over the top of him. But Devin's gonna have his games. I'm not worried about that. He's gonna play really well this week. So I'm excited for him."

The Bears' highest-paid receiver, Hester caught the only pass thrown his way against the Lions for a 17-yard gain on their first series of the game. It's believed, according to sources within the organization, that Cutler has developed a better rapport and sense of trust with Aromashodu and second-year man Johnny Knox.

Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz doesn't think much should be read into Hester's Week 1 performance.

"You know, that just happens," Martz said. "We didn't go in there thinking, we're going to throw a lot of balls to Aromashodu, or this or that. It just happens during the course of the game. We had some things that we were trying to get, and it just didn't work out. One thing happened or another. It's just the way it works out."

Hester, meanwhile, said he broke open "a couple of times" against the Lions. Yet Cutler, who completed 23 of 35 passes for 373 yards, didn't throw his direction.

"I watched film and felt I was open," Hester said. "But some of the plays are not designed for me. That's the way things go. You are not going to get the ball every play, and I know that in this league. I just try to help out as much as I can.

"In one week you probably get one or two balls. The next week, you get 15 or 20. That's what I'm hoping for this week [against the Cowboys], to get my hands on the ball a little bit more and try to help out the team as much as I can."

Despite the high salary and expectations for Hester, the receiver shied away from the No. 1-receiver designation, saying a lead target doesn't exist in the new scheme brought to Chicago by Martz.

"There is no No. 1 receiver on the team," Hester said. "Everybody is capable of being No. 1. Whoever is out on the field has the opportunity to get the ball in their hands. This offense is not designed for a No. 1 receiver. It's a spread offense, and everybody is going to get their share of balls."

Hester ranks sixth on the team in receiving behind running back Matt Forte, Aromashodu, Knox, tight end Greg Olsen, and running back Chester Taylor. Of all the club's receiving threats, Hester is the only target not to have multiple passes thrown his way against the Lions.

Martz said Hester's lacking targets could've been a byproduct of the Lion's defensive alignment.

"You go into it thinking you're going to try and get a guy a ball and get him going a little bit," Martz said. "We tried to get Greg the ball a little bit. It just didn't work out. You just have to be careful of trying to get somebody the ball and you leave trying to win the game. Obviously, getting a certain guy the ball can help you win. But, the defense will dictate that too. If the quarterback is doing what they're supposed to do, that ball can go anywhere at any time, based on the structure of the defense, and that's kind of what happened to us."

Wide receivers coach Darryl Drake had a similar take.

"There were some times he wasn't open," Drake said. "They had bracket coverage over there a lot of the times to take him away. They would also roll a corner up on him with a safety. If that happens, you are going to go to the other side. That's why D.A. [Devin Aromashodu] had so many opportunities coming to him, because he had one-on-one matchups. Devin, a couple times, may have been a step off from where he needed to be. That's being in those proper spots. We'll get better at it and a lot of it too was probably some of me. They played some different looks that they have not shown, [and] I got to do a better job coaching and preparing them versus every look you can possibly see."

Running backs Forte and Taylor saw a combined 11 passes in their direction. Olsen, a tight end, caught four of the six passes thrown his way. Cutler fired seven passes at Knox.

It could benefit the Bears to get Hester more involved in the weeks ahead. The team is just 6-7 when he catches one ball.

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. Jeff Dickerson contributed to this report.

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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