Tice expects Hester to play bigger role

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Devin Hester is expected to assume a larger role in the Chicago Bears' offensive game plan against the Detroit Lions on Monday night, according to offensive coordinator Mike Tice.

Tice said the Bears have barely scratched the surface of the much talked about "Devin Hester package" of plays designed for the electric return man.

Hester has made the most of his limited playing time by catching a combined five passes for 87 yards and one touchdown in the Bears' last two wins over Dallas and Jacksonville. He averaged 19.2 snaps per game over the first five weeks, but was on the field for just 11 plays (16 percent) against the St. Louis Rams and eight plays (15 percent) against the Dallas Cowboys before lining up at receiver for 25 snaps (33 percent) in Jacksonville.

But with rookie Alshon Jeffery already ruled out for Monday night due to a fractured hand, the burden falls on Hester and Earl Bennett to pick up the slack.

"We haven't really used him (Hester) in some of the areas we wanted to use him," Tice said. "But again, we're only a couple of games into this thing. We've got a long way to go. We're going to try and continue to grow his package. His package is going to grow just by the sheer fact we lost Alshon this week.

"Alshon was coming on. It's unfortunate. That's part of the NFL ... you lose a good, young player. But getting Earl back is going to be a good boost for us and hopefully we can get No. 23 going a little bit ... we can get Hester going a little bit. Of course, it's a little different. Alshon is a big body guy who can body up on people and body up on smaller corners. But that's just the NFL, we have to move forward."

The upcoming matchup with the Lions also gives Bennett a chance to get back into the swing of things after he sat out the last two games with a hand injury of his own. Bennett has only six receptions on the season for 82 yards, but the last time he played on Monday night, he had five catches for 95 yards and one touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles.