Falcons' OC Koetter happy with Hester

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter admitted he might have underestimated Devin Hester.

Of course Koetter knew Hester came to the Falcons from the Chicago Bears as arguably the greatest return man in NFL history. But Koetter wasn't quite sure what type of offensive weapon Hester could be.

"I must admit when Devin came, just because he didn't play much receiver for Chicago last year, in my own mind, we were getting a great return guy," Koetter said, "and he's far exceeded my expectations as a wide receiver.

"Excellent ball skills; very quick in and out of his breaks; a really good route runner for a guy who's not known as a wide receiver. So, Devin will definitely have a role on offense."

Hester did not play a single down at receiver last year with the Bears, in large part due to a disconnect with quarterback Jay Cutler. Hester asked to be taken off offense going into the 2013 season as he focused strictly on returns.

Hester's last catch in a regular season game was against the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 9, 2012. He had five catches for 39 yards in a 21-14 loss.

This preseason, Hester caught six passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns. Both of his scores came on runs after the catches, which obviously opened the eyes of both his teammates and coaches.

He is expected to give the Falcons a much-needed boost on special teams with his explosive return ability.

"It's not Devin; it's the entire unit," special teams coach Keith Armstrong said about the key to springing Hester free. "Everybody's got to do their job."