View Full Version : Receiver position wide open heading into camp

07-11-2008, 07:16 PM
In the third of nine position previews in advance of training camp, coach Darryl Drake discusses the Bears wide receivers:

Which wide receivers impressed you most during offseason workouts?

Devin Hester really impressed me. So did Rashied Davis and Brandon Lloyd. We still have a long way to go, so don’t get me wrong. But I’ve been impressed with how they have responded to what we’re trying to do and to what we’ve done so far in practice. Now granted, nothing out there is live. The DBs can’t touch them. But just from a standpoint of learning and running the system and those things, those guys have impressed me with what they’ve done so far.

How much better is Devin right now compared to a year ago heading into training camp?

He’s 100 percent better, and that’s usually what happens after you’ve been in a system for a year. The strides that he’s made have been tremendous, and as long as he continues to keep that same work ethic and desire, he’s going to be fine.

In what areas has he improved most?

He’s improved in all areas: route-running, understanding what to do, being able to go out there and relax. Every aspect of the game he’s improved. He’s seeing things more. He’s so instinctive, so the majority of the time he’s going to be right just trusting his instincts.

What are Devin’s strengths and some of the things he needs to work on as a receiver?

Naturally his open-field ability and his ability to catch, he has tremendous ability there. He’s just got to continue to work on coming in and out of his breaks. Those are things that all receivers need to fine-tune—depth on routes and different things like that—and that comes with experience. It’s just repetition and habit and he’ll continue to get better at it.

What type of potential does Devin have as a receiver?

He definitely has the potential to be an elite receiver in the league. There’s no doubt about it. He’s got all the tools and he’s honing those tools. He’s polishing those tools. He can he as good as there is.

In what areas did Rashied Davis improve the most?

He’s gotten stronger, quicker and faster. He has such a great feel for the game. He understands what we’re trying to do, and we can put him in a lot of positions. Not only can he play inside, but he can also play outside. There’s no doubt in my mind that he can do that.

Do you see Rashied contending for a starting job and being more than just a slot receiver?

Everybody out there is contending for a starting job right now. Nothing is cut and dried. They’re all competing, and sure, he’s in the mix for it, there’s no doubt.

What have been your impressions of Marty Booker?

First of all, I’m glad he’s here. He understands concepts and he’s just a really fluid route-runner. I’ve been real impressed with him. He’s bought into what we’re trying to do, and he’s trying to grasp it and learn it. Sometimes you could get a veteran guy who’s been pretty much set in his ways of doing things a certain way. But he’s very coachable and just a competitive guy. He still has that drive and that ability. I’ve been real impressed with his work ethic and his ability to pick up things.

What have been your impressions of Brandon Lloyd?

His desire right now is high, and we need for it to stay that way. He has shown a lot of ability in practice and that needs to carry over into a game. We just need to continue to keep him going and see what happens when the pads come on. I know he’ll be as good with the pads on as he has been without the pads. We’re just going to keep pushing him, keep his desire to be good there, and I’m looking forward to him being able to help us.

With Mark Bradley recovering from another injury, where does he fit into the mix?

The first thing he has to do is get healthy so he can compete. I’m anxious to see him out there and give him the opportunity to compete. He just needs to stay healthy. His ability is not in question as far as I’m concerned. Hopefully he will stay healthy and we’ll see what he can do.

What have been your impressions of rookie third-round pick Earl Bennett?

From Day 1 to now, he’s improved tremendously. He’s just an outstanding young man. He has a great deal of ability. He’s very deceptive with his speed. We just need to continue to work him and bring him along. I’ve been impressed with him as a person—his work ethic and his ability to pick things up.

How ready do you anticipate he’ll be to contribute as a rookie?

I think somewhere down the line he’ll be able to contribute as a rookie. But it’s so hard for a rookie or any first-year guy that doesn’t have a whole lot of experience to come in and make an impact. It just doesn’t happen. We just need to bring him along and give him some time, and he’ll start to understand and learn things and be able to play without thinking. Like any rookie, he’ll struggle. But he has the ability to be really good. I really like him. We’ve just got to give him time and not rush it because anytime you put a young guy in there and you play him, you better be ready to live with a lot of mistakes. That’s just a fact, especially in a pro offense where everything is conceptual. It doesn’t matter how smart they are. There’s just so much to learn and so many things for him to recognize in the course of a play. But I’ve been really pleased with him, and hopefully sometime during the season he’ll be ready to go and give us a chance to get him in there and get him rolling.

Where does Mike Hass fit in and how much of a chance does he have to play this season?

Mike has a great deal of ability. Mike’s a guy that’s got to be able to master every position. When you have a situation where on game day you may only dress four receivers, he’s got to be a guy that you can plug in at any spot. He’s done really well. Hopefully in this camp and in the preseason he’ll go out there and get a chance to play and demonstrate some of the ability he has. If he’s one of the top four guys, he’ll play. That fourth guy also has to be a great special teams player. It’s not just playing receiver. Older guys like Marty Booker are not going to be core special teams guys, so that other receiver has to be more than a receiver. That’s going to have a lot to do with whoever that guy is.