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60-second rant: Hester's production dipping, and O-line not helping

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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Posted Sept. 20, 2011 @ 7:26 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

Until the Bears' offensive line gives QB Jay Cutler more time to throw, it's going to be hard to get anything going in the downfield passing game that Mike Martz would like to showcase. With Cutler being forced to get rid of the ball, or take a sack, quickly, WR Devin Hester, who is supposed to be one of the field-stretching pass catchers for Chicago, may not have many opportunities to make big plays.

It's not that Cutler isn't looking for Hester, though. Hester isn't making the most of the chances he is getting, and that should be a concern for the team.

Cutler has targeted him 14 times in the first two games of the season — only RB Matt Forté has been targeted more — but Hester has caught only four of the 14 passes intended for him. Some of the incompletions were dropped passes by Hester. He's also fumbled three times — three more than he had all of last season — although the defense did not recover any of them. He had a big play in Week One, picking up 53 yards on one reception, and he had a 17-yard catch against the Saints on Sunday, but his two other catches total seven yards.

Head coach Lovie Smith has long touted Hester as a No. 1 receiver, but he certainly hasn't been producing like one. He's made only 15 catches in the past nine games, including the playoffs. Six NFL players, including Forté, already have 15 catches or more in two games played this season. 

As explosive as he is as a returner, Hester just doesn't have anywhere near the same impact as a receiver. Four years after the Bears moved him from cornerback, he has only one 100-yard receiving game. Hard to argue that fact is anything other than very disappointing.

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