The Atlanta Falcons face off against the New York Jets in their week 2 preseason game tomorrow night. It's another opportunity for the starters to prepare for the season. And it's yet another opportunity for those on the roster bubble to showcase their talents. Veteran returner Devin Hester falls somewhere in the middle.
This season Hester is being thrust into a completely new role. It's an adjustment for him, but he's doing his best to work through it.
The four-time Pro Bowl return specialist said he didn't fully understand what his role would be as a receiver in new coordinator Kyle Shanahan's offense.
Now that the Falcons are past the first preseason game, Hester says everything has been better defined.
''This is my third position at receiver,'' Hester told The Associated Press on Tuesday. ''I've never played the X (spot on the outside of the formation). This year I'm playing the X. Three different positions in my course in the league. This is a new position now, playing the X, so I'm getting used to it.''
Hester is obviously a dynamic, rare talent. There's no doubt in anyone's mind that he's Hall of Fame bound. But once again, Hester finds himself on the tail end of the depth chart. Sure, he's still an above-average returner. And sure, he will get his touches on offense - the question is how often. Because if Roddy White, Julio Jones, Leonard Hankerson, and Justin Hardy stay healthy, Hester won't be a big part of the offense. Looking back at Hester's time in Chicago, we know he's uncomfortable without a role on offense.
It's an interesting storyline to keep an eye on. On some level, Hester has limited options. He's no spring chicken and he may need to simply put his head down and grind. And, to be frank, I'm sure he will do just that.