Devin Hester's last return touchdown was against the Lions in Week 10 last season, and expectations are that he's due for another.
"This is a team that we see some opportunities there," Hester said. "At the same time, we've got to be patient. Other than that you just make sure that we do our assignments and everything will work out for the best."
Hester couldn't ask for a better scenario than Monday night.
The Lions are dead last in the NFL in average punt-return yardage allowed and No. 30 in kickoff-return average allowed. Hester and the Bears' return games are off to an uncharacteristically slow start, ranking just 20th in punt-return average and 17th in kickoff-return average.
"One of the areas we've identified that we do need to make improvements on is our return game," coach Lovie Smith said. "Of course, Devin is a big part of that. He does know how to play under the lights; (in a) big game. We need him to be the greatest returner in the history of our game, and I'm sure he will be."
Eight of Hester's NFL-record 17 kick-return touchdowns have come in night games.
Going separate ways:
Chris Williams bounced between the bench and starting jobs at left tackle, right tackle and left guard before the Bears parted ways with their 2008 first-round draft pick Tuesday. But coach Lovie Smith didn't blame his lack of success on an inability to settle in at one position.
"I think sometimes it just doesn't work, simple as that," Smith said. "All of the reasons why or finding a position -- it just didn't work. And there is no other good explanation I can give you, except when you see that it's not going to work, it's time to move on, and that's what we did.
"When you have to release a player like Chris Williams it's always tough. We had gone in a different direction, and when you go in a different direction, you want to let your players have an opportunity to play somewhere else. So, we wish him well. I know he'll get picked up by somebody else fairly soon."
Happy new camper:
Former and current Bears cornerback Zack Bowman got a stiff shot of reality when the Vikings cut him just before the start of the regular season.
"I think every player that goes through it feels that way," Bowman said prior to his first practice in his second tour of duty with the Bears. "I was shocked when I got the (Bears') phone call, but then I realized the opportunity that I had, so I was excited. I'm excited just to practice and just to be able to run around out there on the field with the guys. That's what I'm looking forward to."
The 6-foot-1, 196-pound Nebraska product was originally a fifth-round pick of the Bears in 2008. He started 16 games before leaving via free agency after last season and had 6 interceptions in 2010.
Shuffling the deck:
Offensive tackle Cory Brandon was signed to the practice squad Wednesday.
The 6-foot-7, 324-pounder spent the preseason with the Bears and the first week of the season on the practice squad.
He was originally signed by the Bucs as an undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma in 2011.