Among other indignities this week, Chicago Bears receiver Devin Hester found himself on the much-loathed "Falling" list within our Week 1 NFC North Stock Watch. As we noted, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler targeted Hester on only one of his 35 passes in a 19-14 victory over the Detroit Lions.
Speaking Wednesday to Chicago reporters, Cutler had a simple but not entirely diplomatic answer when asked about Hester's game.
"If Devin would've gotten open," Cutler said, "I would've thrown him the ball." According to Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com, Cutler went on to add: "We've talked about this before the first game. It's gonna be game by game who gets the ball; depending on what coverage -- if they're rolling strong, if they're rolling weak -- we're gonna go with the matchups.
"They were doing some stuff to Devin, putting some guys over the top of him. But Devin's gonna have his games. I'm not worried about that. He's gonna play really well this week. So I'm excited for him."
Hester told reporters that "I watched film and felt I was open," but went out of his way to make clear he wasn't upset by how Cutler distributed the ball.
It wouldn't be beyond the media to generate some old-fashioned controversy, but I actually think the Cutler-Hester dynamic is worth keeping an eye on. Cutler's affinity for receiver Devin Aromashodu was obvious at the end of last season, and the pair picked up where they left off Sunday. Cutler also threw frequently to receiver Johnny Knox in training camp and during preseason games.
For whatever reason, there has yet to be on-field evidence of chemistry between Cutler and Hester. That's an especially discouraging revelation for the Bears, who prioritized Hester's development as a receiver over his continued dominance as a punt and kickoff returner. If Cutler and Hester don't connect more frequently, the move will pretty much be a bust.
Clearly, we're nowhere close to that point. But keep an eye on it.