Chicago Sun-Times

WR Brandon Rideau making most of his work with the first team

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The Bears are adamant their corps of wide receivers is going to turn out to be far more productive than anyone expects even if they don't venture out into free agency and make a move for someone with proven credentials like Plaxico Burress.

Offensive coordinator Ron Turner quickly turned the conversation to what his team does have, not what it doesn't have when asked about the prospect of pursuing Burress.

"I don't even want to get into that,'' Turner said. "I'm excited about the guys we have right now. I think our group of receivers can be a lot better than what people think. I'm excited about where we are going offensively. We just need to come out and try to get better every day."

The reservation being held for this group is that there is so little experience that it's impossible to count on anything. Just ask general manager Jerry Angelo how rookie wide receivers pan out in their first season. Four of the Bears' 10 wide receivers are rookies, and three of them are draft picks. Seven of the wideouts have never started. Here is a look at the roster, career starts and career receptions:

Rashied Davis 15 career starts, 74 receptions
Devin Hester 8 career starts, 71 receptions
Devin Aromashodu 1 career start, 7 receptions
John Broussard 0 career starts, 4 receptions
Earl Bennett 0 career starts, 0 receptions
Brandon Rideau 0 career starts, 0 receptions
Juaquin Iglesias, rookie
Johnny Knox, rookie
Derek Kinder, rookie
Eric Peterman, rookie

With just 24 career starts at the position, it looks like the Bears are in need of help, at least from the outside looking in. On the inside, Brandon Rideau is doing everything he can to prove he's a big target who can be a productive player in his third season with the organization. Rideau, who spent much of the last two seasons on the practice squad, stands out at 6-3, 198 pounds. He's the biggest target at the position.

He was upset to not make the 53-man roster at the end of the summer last season. After all, Rideau felt he had shown everything he needed to, leading the NFL in touchdowns in preseason with three. Of course, nearly all of his production came in the final minutes against third-stringers who weren't long for their teams' rosters.

"He couldn't control [when he was playing],'' Turner said. "But he's taking care of what he controls and that's his opportunities. He's getting opportunities and so far he's making the most of them."

Rideau was promoted to the active roster in the second half of the season and dressed for two games but saw little action. Quietly, he is getting time with the first team during the voluntary offseason program. The more work he gets with the starters, the better his chances are of seeing time there in training camp. The Bears will keep five wide receivers, six if someone states a strong case to make the final roster. With Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, Rashied Davis and rookie draft picks Juaquin Iglesias and Johnny Knox, they have five likely candidates. Right now, two months from camp, Rideau figures to be the guy who will have to force Angelo to consider keeping a sixth.

"I feel like I am making strides,'' he said. "I feel like I have a great opportunity, I'm blessed to have this opportunity and I want to make the best of it. I've been around this offense for three years now so I am one of the more familiar guys so I can move around a little bit.

"It's looking brighter this time around. It's all about what I want to do with it. The coaches talk to me and they say, `Hey, you've got opportunities, just make plays.' That's pretty much all they have to say. They want to put the best guys on the field and I have to come out and prove that I am one of the best guys."

Rideau knows his height and long arms set him apart from the remainder of the roster, but that only goes so far.

"I have to be able to play bigger,'' he said. "You can be big and not make plays and then you're sitting on the bench, it doesn't matter. It's just about how you compete and how you make plays."

He feels like he's developing a solid rapport with quarterback Jay Cutler, the man who has been charged with improving the wide receivers. That is only going to help. Ultimately, Rideau needs to prove now he deserves a chance in preseason. Then, he has to capitalize against top competition.

"He's had a real good offseason,'' Turner said. "I think he can step up and play for us and help. I like Brandon. He's going a really good job."

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31 Comments

That is great to hear about Brandon. I really hope he makes the squad. A ton of Bears fans, myself included, want to see what this kid can do on the field. Hes huge, talented, and has nice hands, nh. Let the kid play!

We've been screaming this for months about Rideau. Glad to see he's out there in the mix. I hope he makes the team this year. I know our receivers are unproven, but I also think they will shock everyone once the preseason starts.

I would like to see them go with what they have now into camp and then if in the preseason they need to bring in a vet then do so. Young receivers will never get better if they never see the field.

Also, I do not want to see Plax in the navy and orange. Anyone that holsters a gun in sweats has got to be the biggest dumba## on the planet. He has no place in this organization. I hear the jail bird Bengals need another felon!

GO BEARS.

he's tall, he's not huge. He weighs 195 pounds at 6-3, that's not a big receiver. He's not a strong guy to beat the jam, he doesn't have true deep speed. He's a practice squad player at best. He also isn't a very productive special teams player. Kinder is similar physically but he plays a lot stronger than Rideau. Rideau will be cut before training camp opens up. Davis is on the bubble also.

I understand anyone objecting to Plax on their team, however I feel a second chance never hurt and I would not want to go into the season with a bevy of unproven WR, I like Forte and Olson catching alot of passes and Hester has lots of speed to keep the D honest but we don't have that proven threat that can run great routes and make that 3rd down have to have a drive sustaining catch , so I would want Plax here - as I don't think Boldin will be let loose and with a contract that calls for good conduct, Plax is too good for us to pass up. And after reading Brad's article - it would seem that most players would welcome Plax on the team - and that is more important than what I or any fan thinks. If the players want him, then great, go for it and our WR corps will be legit as opposed to not even being mentioned.
As I stated - I understand fans objecting but it's not the fans that will play with him it's the players and they seem to want him.
Heck if no one ever got a second chance, alot of posters would not even be on this site lol

The problem is really one of trust. The reality is that no NFL team goes in to the preseason with a proven veteran, in his prime, at every position. Even the "known" playoff contenders have question marks at several positions. They have young players who need to step up, older players who need to get another good year out of their high-mileage bodies, and free agents that need to be able to succeed in a different system.

The Bears, on the surface, have done a pretty good job plugging holes in their roster this off-season. In my opinion, three remaining positions with question marks are D-line, safety and wide receiver. The Bears have passed on some chances to bring in free agents at those positions. They say they like what they have.

That's where the trust factor comes in. As Brad's numbers show, we the fans have not seen enough of the wide receiver corps to accept them as players who will get the job done. The coaches and management of the team are able to see these players in action on the practice field against other NFL players. Judging by the roster moves, or lack thereof, they think the kids can do the job.

About all we can do is trust that they know what they are doing, wait, and see.

I hope Rashied the midget droppapotamus is the first to go. The six WR the Bears should keep: Hester (obviously), Bennett, Iglesias, Knox, Rideau, Peterman. Sign Kinder to the practice squad and cut all ties with Davis. If he couldn't catch Orton passes, there's no way he'll be able to hold onto Cutler's.

IF... no one emerges as a viable starter opposite of Hester... and IF... Kellen Davis proves he's a keeper as a pass catching TE along with Clark of course...

One solution may be to reposition Greg Olsen as a WR. Think about it... he has the speed, is a good route runner and has great hands. Blocking had been his weakspot as a TE but may be a strength as a WR. Further, his size would be a unique edge for him as a WR much like Plaxico Burress's is.

My no. 1 choice... sign Plax for one year and see how he fits in. You'll get to see plenty of the other WRs over the first few games while he's suspended but you get a great WR down the stretch who will have something to prove with his one year deal. But Olsen could be a real difference maker opposite Hester. And he'd probably STILL be one of the faster WRs in the league... at least one of the fastest possession receivers in the league.

I like your list Dave.

Locks are obviously Hester, Iglesias, Bennett and Knox. After that it's a "show up or shut up" thing for the other players. I like the idea of keeping Peterman, he was a standout at NW and the kid can definetly play on the ST units which is exactly what you need from a 5'th or 6'th WR.

Rideau has a great chance t osecure the 5'th spot. Kinder and maybe even Devin Aromashodu can push for a shot at a 6'th WR aong with Peterman. Aromashodu has similar size to Kinder and Rideau at 6'2" 201 pounds and has a start under his belt from his time with the Colts. I think Davis is pretty much a goner. They will keep most of these WR's around through much of training camp just to see who the cream of the crop is but I think Knox and Davis will compete primarily for the slot. Knox has good size and world class speed plus he is a draft pick and we all know how Angelo loves his draft picks !!! So I think it's all but over for Rasheed.


Go Bears !!

I would hope the Bears will not just give Davis a free pass to make the team. Give Rideau and Kinder an equal shot at it. If Plax can get through all the legal issues and is able to play the entire season, the decision becomes a no brainer to sign him. The only other variable is Brandon Marshall is a trade possible here? Next years second and Jamar Williams? Or does JA wait and see if Marshall can be had next year in free agency?

I like our group of receivers, but I don't love them. Looking at the whole roster, I think we have enough to be a good team, win the division, but that's about it. I don't see this group of young receivers performing under pressure in a home or away playoff game. So here's the question. Does JA make a play for Boldin or Buress and try to win this year. Or does he wait for Brandon Marshall and become a Super Bowl contender next year.

Like I said, this year's roster is good, and the arrow is pointing up again (after a two year Super Bowl hangover) but their are holes preventing from being a real championship contender.

Kudos to JA and Lovie though. Best off-season in a long time. I like the work done on O-line and obviously the quarterback position. Let's hope this off-season has one more surprise or that next years off-season is just as good.

Plank46:

I agree with you on Drops Davis. I hope he doesn't make the team and I really hope Rideau, Kinder, any of them get a shot at his job. Davis sucks and needs to hit the street.

GO BEARS.

For Dave:

You want Hester, Bennett, Iglesias, Knox, Rideau, Peterman as our WR core? You are aware that only one of these players have caught a ball in an NFL game, right? Three are rookies, two are UDFA pickups, a second year player, and Hester, as the cagey veteran who is on his third year of wide receiving.

Goodness, that's an inexperienced core. Peterman can only hope to replace Brandon Rideau on the PS if Kinder doesn't. I give him zero shot at actually making the 53 man roster. Davis is making this squad simply because of his familiarity with Ron Turner's offense.

Of all the broken toys currently available in WR free agency, Plaxico is the least broken if he gets out of doing time. He's guilty of being stupid and insecure with his celebrity carrying around an unregistered gun, but he has proven talent at the position.

Rashied Davis makes this squad, and hopefully we can get a vet from team cuts before camp. We need more experience, not less.

It seems like there are still quite a few decent veterans out there who haven't signed with a team yet. A lot of them have trouble staying healthy and may be on the downside of their careers, but if the Bears are just looking for experience at the position, it's not like Plaxico Burress is the only option out there. Some of the names out there:

Marvin Harrison
Drew Bennett
D.J. Hackett
Ike Hilliard
Ashley Lelie
Brandon Lloyd
Joe Jurevicious

I'm not saying they should go out and get any of these guys, but there are still experienced receivers out there if that's what the Bears feel they need.

I understand completely why everyone is down on Rashied Davis, but I keep waiting for the real reason to come out why he started playing so bad.

The second half of the season last year it was like somebody switched jerseys with him. I don't remember him having the drops like that. The guy was never a great player, but he was usually reliable. He kind of had a knack for getting open and caught the ball pretty well when he had a chance.

I keep waiting to hear that he had laser surgery on his eyes, some family member was real sick, or they found some other kind of medical problem. It hasn't happened yet, so maybe the guy just hit his ceiling. Weird.

Tomk, it's refreshing to hear people say that. Most people miss the big picture in these situations.

There are two outcomes when it comes to signing players with behavioral and/or legal troubles. The first being that teams will take a risk on troubled individuals, due to talent and ability, because they believe the players can help them win some games. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. (Note: See Cowboys, Jerry Jones, Dallas County Prison) But what it does do 100% of the time is send a message to players that, hey, it's alright if you don't like doing silly things like being mature or following laws. If you're a good player, you'll get a slap on the wrist and continue making millions. This happens all the time around the league.

The second outcome aka the rarer outcome, is when teams refuse to sign screwball players, regardless of talent. This sends a very strong message to the players that they could lose it all, fame and fortune, if they're not wise or proactive enough to stay out of trouble. In the end, the 2nd option will lead to less stories about the Michael Vicks, Plaxico Burresses, Leonard Littles etc. of the League. Otherwise, history will repeat itself.

The Tank Johnson fiasco should be something the Bears have learned from. Let's not become the Dalass Cowboys. Our GM is Jerry Angelo, not Jerry "Jerruh!" Jones.

In Plax's own words: "I'm my own worst enemy."

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Rashied Davis has to be included as one of the 5 locks (Hester, Bennett, Iglesias, Knox and Davis) to make this team for one reason, and one reason alone: TRUST. Turner and the coaches TRUST him in the slot to make sight adjustments and keep our qb off his butt when the defense sends more than we can block. So Davis is gonna start the season as a starter in the 3 WR package.

TRUST is also relevant with regard to special teams. Of the other four locks to make the team at WR, none of them will have a greater impact on special teams than Rashied Davis (with the exception of Devin Hester of course).

So the only way Rideau, or any of the other receivers makes this team is as the 6th receiver, and at the cost of depth at another position (ie. TE, DB, Oline, etc)

I like the idea of switching olsen to reciever but he may be too slow to be a reciever, or we could go crazy and run out of 3 tight end sets yay but no that would get boring with no deep shots down field I don't want a repeat of last year

Not one reciever on this team has locked down a starting job or deserves to be handed a starting job on this team. If any of them want to start it should be an open competition, may the best player win. How has Bennett earned a job as a starter, or Davis or even Hester? If they want it they should have to work for it, reguardless of draft position, contract, or time on the team. The best players should always play.

As for Plax why is anyone even talking about this guy? He has no chance of beating his charges in court, he already admitted what he did. NY has the toughest gun laws in the country and he will do time, at least a year. Then after he gets out Goodell is going to hammer him. Why would you sign a guy who will not play in the NFL for the next two years? He will be 33 by the time he sees the NFL again and his skills will have eroded do to lack of playing and training. He probably will not start in the NFL ever again.

You all know that next year their are a ton of top end WR's that will be on the market, not the least of which is Brandon Marshall. Cutler is just step one in a rebuilding process or as Lovie likes to say "not a rebuilding process, just bringing in a lot of new players to start." It is going to take a few years to get this team back to being a Super Bowl contender.

I know this is a thread about receivers, specifically Ridaeu, but consider these points. (BTW.. this is written only to a few, and not all of you...so relax).

1. Whoever suggested siging Burress. As a fellow human being, if you did the same as Burress did, would you get a 2nd chance? This guy thinks he is above the law, and can just pay his way out of any trouble with the millions he makes playing a kid's game. No offense, but no, I don't want him on my team. In fact, F*&K HIM!! It just seems wrong.

2. To whoever suggested trading for Brandon Marshall. Are you nuts? What the heck could they offer now? You want them to trade defensive help? How about more picks? Get real. The defense is now the weaker side of the ball right now.

The offensive line is now the best it has ever been since Lovie became coach. The offense is now more potent than in the super bowl year. Only the defense has to step it up more to be a great team this year. Right now, this team is more talented than the superbowl year.

They are fine as they stand now.

I do agree with whoever said Olsen should play some (only some) WR. He would be a great mismatch in a shift with the 2 TE set, or in the slot in the single back 3 WR set. As either a safety or a linebacker would have to cover him.

Bears will go 12-4. Yippee!!

Make Garrett Wolfe a receiver!!! We need him to handle the ball more!! Anybody will be great because Orton is no longer on the team!!! Orton SUCKS!!!!!!!

The question of which receivers will make the 53-man roster seems to be a question of which receivers are going to out-perform Rashied Davis. We all know Davis has been around for a while, knows the system, and that he's a scrappy player who does it on Special Teams, too. But we're still talking about a wide receiver here, and if Brandon Rideau or Devin Aromashodu, with their size, athleticism and catching ability cannot simply demolish Rashied Davis as a wide receiver, they simply don't have much of a future in the NFL.

Remember, Rashied Davis is a former defensive back. Of course he can play Special Teams. But his receiving skills are limited, and I thought Brandon Lloyd played a lot better than Davis. Rideau and Aromashodu should and need to be able to beat Davis and beat him badly at their position.

I love how some of you posters say we shouldn't sign Burress, but we should sign or wait for Marshall?!??!? Marshall is a scumbag, has a ton of off field issues. Like attacking his girlfriend, multiple times. Outside the lines did a great segment on him. Even if he denies it, when your accused eight times, it starts to hold water. So this guy consistently has issues. Plus, he's overated, lots of drops last year. they call him baby TO for a reason. For those of you against signing Burress, you better start warming up to the idea, he very well could be on the team this season. One game suspension max from goodell, guaranteed. And he's not going away for awhile, he already was offered a deal to serve a few months and turned it down. Whoever said he will be in jail for a year, is Wrong!!! The guys not a saint, but big game experience is what the bears lack, or any game experience for that matter. Our offense would look sick on paper. Cutler Forte Hester Olsen Burress, sounds beast.

Ryan, I agree with you in that the Bears do not want to weaken their defense. However, do you believe the Bears will keep 7 or 8 linebackers? (1. Urlacher, 2. Briggs, 3. Tinoisamoa, 4. Freeman, 5. Roach, 6. Williams, 7. Hillenmyer, 8. LaRoque.) I don't think they will, in fact they will six or seven. So if the Bears had the opportunity to trade for a pro bowl receiver, like it has been mentioned, wouldn't you consider it. I'm not advocating doing this but I also think all eight of the above mentioned linebackers have value. Like JA says the Bears explore all options. Why be so quick to arbitrarily dismiss this possiblity? Am I nuts? Some people say so! Am I a BEARS FAN, absolutely! GO BEARS!

""I do agree with whoever said Olsen should play some (only some) WR. He would be a great mismatch in a shift with the 2 TE set, or in the slot in the single back 3 WR set. As either a safety or a linebacker would have to cover him.""


Kellen Davis should be playing (some) WR..... He is bigger and faster then Greg. It would be cool to see Olsen and Clark lined up in a traditional (2) TE set with Kellen spread wide. This would be especially effective in the red-zone. I don't think any team could match up with that defensively.

Go Bears!!

Kellen Davis at WR? Do you have any idea how silly that sounds? Name one other WR in the NFL the size of Davis. There is a reason for that. Big guys with straight line speed do not scare CBs. Speed and shifty route running does. Kellen Davis will never get separation from an NFL CB. He has no moves other than lumber down the field. Just for your information, Olsen is faster than Davis and in fact can play a little bit of WR. Not a lot, but he at least has the chance to get separation from a DB.

We needed a blocking tight end and we signed on in Gaines. I have my doubts about K. Davis even making this team, let alone having him play (some) WR. He has to learn how to block if he has a hope of making the 53 man roster. The coaches wound up replacing K. Davis on 3 TE goal line stands with Chris Williams last year because Kellen is such a terrible blocker.

OK...Some of you get wood when you talk about WR Davis, but, let me tell you this, the first job of a RECEIVER is to CATCH the ball. If that does not happen, he's pretty useless...Davis has to go!!!
LET'S GO RIDEAU !!!!

I say line him up turn him loose see what happens if special teams knocks out a potentially solid WR because he has to be a special teams player is stupid in my opinion. What the heck are all those other LB's and DB's for anyway. Let's hope Rideau doesn't end up somewhere else and burn us down the road because he wasn't a special teams player.

I've been saying this since I saw Kellen Davis in the 2008 preseason: this guy's got a great future in the NFL IF he learns to block. Big "if," but at his size there's no reason he can't be an at least above average blocker. It's all about his attitude; if he dedicates himself to learning to block, he'll learn. If not, he can go flip burgers or do whatever these guys do when they can't play ball professionally.

Honestly, I think Hester is really going to step up this year. Hester's best attribute as a receiver is his speed. And now we finally have a QB who can take advantage of that. You're not going to see Cutler underthrowing Hester the way Orton did. I think Knox is going to step up and be huge as well. Same with Iglesias. Yes, they are rookies and WR is brutal learn at an NFL level, but having Cutler's accuracy and arm is going to help them bridge that rookie gap. Bennet could end up bein huge as well in his 2nd year in the system.

My prediction is that if Burress can get out of his legal jam for this year and also avoid a big suspension, the Bears will pick him up. They will beat out the Bucs and the Jets for him. Do I like that idea/him? - Doesn't matter. If hes in the clear to play, he will be here in Chicago. Angelo is serious this offseason.

He may be a moron OFF the field, but he is a proven threat ON it. And think of it what we may, in this NFL, gameday performance matters more than personal integrity. Practice squad for either Kinder or Rideau, Burress and Hester and ? as your big three. We shall see.

And PS - anyone else just doggedly counting the days til Aug. 15th at Buffalo?!!? lol. I know its only a preseason game but i am FIENDING for Bears football. Happens every June, my resistance/patience wears out. Anyways,,,, BEARS!!!!!!!!!
-Bear the **** down, Chicago!!!!!! -

For those waiting for Rashied Davis to be dropped, might not happen? As others have said Davis is solid on special teams and was pretty good hands except for last year. Don't forget that he was pretty clutch last minute TD against Minnesota, in playoff games and the NFL championship etc in 2006. Who caught the TD pass against Atlanta last year that left only seconds on the clock, not that it matters, I cannot remember, was it Davis who caught that big pass from Orton?

Please remember that Davis is solid in the slot but last year he was asked to play on the outside as well. His trouble came when he had to play in a position that he was not familiar, like many players they lose confidence, over thinking instead of reacting. Not a good scenario.

My picks for making the team as receivers are Davis, Bennett, Hester, Iglesias, Knox and Rideau.

Kinder and the rest will be practice squad.

I don't see a veteran being signed at this point, although I would place a proven vet Wr on the field in place of Rideau, if a good one were available like D.J. Hackett. Rideau has not proven that he is ready for the NFL with his speed, strength and stamina an issue.

heron25 when have you gone against or seen Rideau do anything none of the other fans have seen or is this your best guess? He finally is getting an opportunity after showing well 2 consecutive pre-seasons. Yes you will say "it's pre-season" and maybe even say "it's against players who won't be on the roster" still he has not been given a clear chance with all these so-called experienced Wr's bought in [i.e. Booker] it's about time now this pre-season maybe he'll get a chance with the one's and will will see not guess. GO BEARSSSSS

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on June 5, 2009 9:24 AM.

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