9:54 AM CST, February 5, 2013
Jay Cutler and Devin Hester: Can this marriage be saved?
That’s pretty much the soap opera we’ve been reading about the last week while that Super Bowl thing was taking place.
Some terrific reporting and interviewing by Trib colleague Vaughn McClure began with former receivers coach Darryl Drake painting Hester as emotionally homeless if he isn’t part of the game plan or having smoke blown up his backside. Drake said Cutler and Hester weren’t BFFs because Cutler is tough-minded and Hester -- well, duh -- is not.
Then Hester, who broke down and said he might quit when he found out Lovie Smith was fired, told McClure he probably needs a trade. Hester, who has begun failing at kick returns the way he failed as a receiver, also said he probably doesn’t want to play offense anymore, if he’s even here, that is.
And now, Hester is saying he would have to sit down and talk with Cutler if he remains a part of the Bears' offense.
If Oprah wants to take another shot at saving her dying channel, she might think about starting a regular sports diva segment.
Bonus programming: No lying, doping sports scumball who claims he’ll answer every question but then doesn’t, just like you’d expect from a lying, doping scumball.
Hester sounds like a baby in this deal. He admits he wasn’t into the job last season, so he sounds like the worst kind of teammate -- the kind you can’t trust. And then there’s the way Hester regularly looks overwhelmed by a few pages in a playbook.
Cutler has no tolerance for such stupidity or unpreparedness, take your pick. Any quarterback would blow up over that.
The biggest joke is the idea they could develop chemistry. Cutler tried to do it in his first exhibition game, but found out immediately that he should forget it. Cutler commented afterward that Hester wasn’t a "go-up-and-get-it guy"’ and noted that Hester wasn’t a "back-shoulder guy.’"
That was code for: Hester can go deep, period.
Cutler and every offensive coordinator have tried to get Hester into open space with the bubble screen, and how did that work out for you?
Four seasons later, Hester still can’t run a professional route, when he knows which route to run, that is.
Quick, someone close to Hester explain that he’s the least important part of this equation right now. In fact, he might be one of the least important parts of the Bears' roster today, give or take Kellen Davis.
Hester doesn’t produce anymore. He’s not one-third of the Bears’ scoring the way he seemed to be on special teams. Hester failed to return a kickoff or a punt for a score this season. He trailed defensive lineman Corey Wootton in special-teams touchdowns. I mean, Hester got caught inside the 10-yard line on one punt return.
Hester is not the pretty, shiny thing that always got a hug and another chance no matter how badly he was going and no matter how far his value had dropped. No wonder Hester cried when Smith was fired. Hester seems to think he’s well-regarded around a league that ought to know how wrong that is.
But here’s the deal: If the Bears can find a sucker to overpay for Hester -- and a fourth-round pick might be considered a steal -- then trade him. Make Hester’s wish come true. Let another team enjoy the thrill of a punt returner who needs a Garmin to figure out which direction is forward.
If Hester remains a Bear, he can take a number when it comes to sit-downs with the quarterback, starting with new coach Marc Trestman and then new offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer.
Then there's new quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh. After that, Matt Forte, who ought to become a monster in a West Coast-style offense.
Then there’s Alshon Jeffery, if he can get out of the trainer’s room, followed by perhaps J’Marcus Webb, and then the hologram where the tight end is supposed to be.
Sorry, Devin. All booked up. Can you call back in, I don’t know, June?
So, can this marriage be saved?
Or maybe the better question is: Why bother?
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