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updated: 10/3/2012 8:46 PM

Bears want to keep Hester involved in offense

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Now that the Bears have gotten Devin Hester involved in the offense once, the idea is to continue utilizing him as a weapon other than in the return game.

His 34-yard touchdown on a diving grab against. the Cowboys was his first since Oct. 16, 2011.

"I really feel like we have an explosive player there," offensive coordinator Mike Tice said. "When we're going to get certain coverages, we need to take advantage of that with him."

The trick is to keep both Hester and 6-foot-3, 216-pound rookie Alshon Jeffery involved, since they play the same position. Jeffery is second on the team with 12 catches and 164 yards.

"We have two very good wide receivers playing the same position, and we're trying to make sure that each guy gets a bit in it," Tice said. "There are certain things that a big-body guy is going to do better than a double-move type guy.

"My vision I have with Devin, as a play caller, are going to be explosive plays; chunk plays."

Hester had just 7 catches for 88 yards in the 12 games before Monday night, and in eight of those games, he had been held without a reception.

"It helps (the offense) whenever Devin is involved, period, with anything," coach Lovie Smith said. "He has a role. He's one of the most exciting players in the NFL with his hands on the ball. That catch he made, it's what he is capable of doing. We'll continue to find ways to get him the ball."

On the move:

Jay Cutler says his ability to thrive outside the pocket and throw accurately while on the run is a skill derived out of necessity.

"In college (Vanderbilt), we really didn't block that well," he said. "I was always on the run, so I got a lot of practice."

The Bears will occasionally move Cutler by design, given his propensity to create on the move.

"We have a lot of rollouts in each and every week," Cutler said. "It depends what defenses are playing. It depends if the ends are getting up field or if they're crashing down. (Offensive coordinator) Mike (Tice) is definitely aware of that and wants to get out more and more. It helps the offensive line getting that passing target off me and kind of moving the pocket. It's a point of emphasis. We'll see how it goes."

Tice was criticized for not moving Cutler around more during the Packers game, when he was sacked seven times.

"If it doesn't work you can dog me," Tice said. "When it works, say I did a great job of changing the launch point, just like you said I did a crummy job of changing the launch point in Green Bay, and I agree."

Some of Cutler's best throws against the Cowboys came when he was on the move, including the TD pass to Devin Hester.

"He's doing it very well right now," Tice said. "He can throw the ball on the run with the best of them. Changing that launch point for us is really good because having a guy back there as a sitting target, i.e. the Green Bay game, is not a real good thing against good pass-rush teams.

"Moving him around is really good for changing the launch point, (and) it's also good for the run game because it slows down that backside pursuit. So it's a double-edged good for us when we move the pocket and run our keeper game."

Making progress:

The Bears remain last in the NFL in average yards on first-down plays (4.0), but they were better against the Cowboys, averaging 5 yards.

"We made some improvements," Mike Tice said. "Still, in my opinion, we're not running the ball well enough on first down. We're going to continue to run it and continue to try to find the personality that we're going to have as a run team.

"It shouldn't take this long, but it is. I think that's the most important thing that we can focus on in this short week, making sure we can run the ball efficiently on first down."

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