Chicago Sun-Times

Opportunity Knox: How can other WR Aromashodu get involved?

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The sudden emergence of rookie Johnny Knox through the first two games has raised an interesting question about a wide receiver that had a breakthrough during training camp and preseason--Devin Aromashodu.

Wide receivers coach Darryl Drake jokingly referred to Aromashodu as Wally Pipp and Knox as Lou Gehrig, a funny analogy but one that doesn't fit. Aromashodu can't be Pipp because he hasn't been out on the field with the Bears in the regular season yet. It's impossible to lose a gig he never had. But on the fields of training camp and in preseason, he quickly emerged as one of Jay Cutler's preferred targets. At 6-2, 201 pounds, he has good size, and the relationship was evident at the very beginning of camp. It was cemented in preseason when Cutler actively worked to feed him the ball.

But a slight quad pull sidelined Aromashodu for the season opener at Green Bay, creating an opening on the game day roster for Knox, who otherwise appeared destined to be inactive. He took the opportunity, and a few passes from Cutler, and ran with them. The Bears have only dressed four receivers for the first two games--starters Devin Hester and Earl Bennett--Knox, and Rashied Davis. It's going to be hard to justify bumping up another wide receiver when you consider special teams needs. Davis is a four-phase contributor on special teams, and that matters. He forced the game-ending fumble against Pittsburgh on the kickoff coverage unit. It's clear Cutler wants to see Aromashodu at some point, but the wideout will likely have to prove useful for special teams coordinator Dave Toub. Fourth and fifth wideouts have to be major special teams players.

"D.A. has a lot of ability,'' Cutler said. "He's a little bit of a different receiver for us, a bigger guy, he can still go up and get it. So there is going to be a place for all of these guys, the way we are mixing guys in there and getting the ball to different guys, there is going to be places for him. I'm sure of that."

*** The Bears will bring a couple defensive players into the media room starting at noon. I'll be Twittering some highlights, and we'll keep an eye on injury news today with Alex Brown's left ankle. The Seahawks have 13 players on their injury report, so I'll monitor that as well. Check back later on.

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I have not heard anything about Iglesias lately. What is the story there? I thought he was coming along as well as Knox and that boded well for the immediate future. Was he injured, cut, or what?

Opportunity Knox? That's a good one Brad, very clever. And no, I'm not being sarcastic.

You know, I saw some footage of Knox in training camp and I was seeing him make some tough catches; diving catches, catches where the ball was thrown behind, catches with a defender draped on him etc. I was high on #13 and (have to give credit where it is due) I remember Brando was too. Then we saw in preseason how this guy could blow past secondaries and make defenders look like snails (Knox by the way ran an unofficial 4.26 40). I'm really not all that surprised by his success. But it is kind of scary to think that if Aromashodu never got injured, Knox would have been wasting away on the sidelines.

Knox, ROTY? Is it to early to think like that?

I think we need to find a way to get our playmakers on the gameday roster. If D.A. is capable of presenting mismatches and making big plays with his size and speed (especially against some of the smaller corners we will face this year), then we should find a way to make sure he dresses.

As important as special teams has been to the Bears for the last several years, shouldn't we do what most teams do, and focus on our offense and defense as more important? We finally have a weapon at QB, and we need to make sure he has all the tools to succeed. We can't keep banking on a big special teams play week after week. It just can't happen. Olsen is being limited (and sadly lit up on those wheel routes) by the defensive scheme because they see him as our biggest offensive threat after Forte. That's why Knox, Bennett, and Hester have all done so well so far. The deep threat exists with Knox and Hester, which should be able to pull coverage away from Olsen, but as we saw in the Buffalo game in preseason, Hester (and Knox for that matter) is not a jump ball guy, and occasionally, the QB needs that security blanket when the pressure is coming. Knox has done some good things, but we don't know whether what D.A. could do is better or not as good until he gets a chance on the field

I think we need to look at what each guy brings to the table on offense first, then special teams. Rashied Davis is a solid special teamer, probably because of his time as a CB in the Arena League and with the Bears. He is a much better tackler than most wideouts because of that. But on offense, he is limited in what he can do for us. Knox or Hester are better in the slot, and he is not really suited to flanker or split end. I would be interested to see whether a 6'2" 200 lb receiver on the outside as a punt gunner would be able to do well. Aromashodu, if he embraces it, has all the physical tools to be a stud on special teams, and could force his way onto the game day roster. He has the size to play split end, and he has the speed that Davis just doesn't have.

Again, we are back to the concept of player development. We don't know what we have on the roster, because we never get to see it on Sundays. There is a lot more going on in practice, film study, meetings, and the like, but at some point, you have to know what these guys are capable of. At some point, you have to give them a shot to see what they can do. Is sitting Davis for a week going to kill your coverage units? Probably not. Or you put one of your extra DBs on the bench for a week and load up on offense. Why not occasionally go out with 4 WRs and Olsen in a passing formation, putting either Knox or Hester in the backfield as a potential sprint option to the edge? It will certainly tax the defense to cover the speed of Hester, Knox, D.A., Olsen, and Bennett at the same time....

Anyway, just a thought.

I was a big fan of Devin Aromashodu during the pre-season also, but the way rookie Johnny Knox has been coming on, can you really afford to take him off the field right now? As far as who you go with, I said it before, you let em duke it out in practice and play the best guy, obviously it's been Knox.

Cutler does bring up a good point about Aromashodu when he say's "He's a little bit of a different receiver for us, a bigger guy, he can still go up and get it." Meaning, Aromashodu could prove very useful down inside the red zone, an area Chicago needs help in. A big receiver like Aromashodu [6-2] would be nice to pare up with a tight end like Greg Olsen [6-5] down inside the 20. Cutler could throw it up for one of them to go get it, their height would create mismatches with shorter defensive backs. Aromashodu proved during the pre-season he can also stretch the field. Eventually, Chicago has to get Aromashodu on the field to see what he's got. But the way Knox has been playing of late, he's definitely the guy right now GO BEARS!!

I always thought it was better to diversify and have different types of receivers on the roster. I'm happy for Knox, but it's almost like he's taken over Hester's roll in the offense these two games, with Hester now taking Bennett's job and acting like a possession receiver instead of a long-ball threat.

I think sooner rather than later the offense is going to need (want) a receiver with a big body, that can go up and get it, especially in the red zone. Aside from the TEs, Aromashodu could be that guy (same reason I thought Rideau would be a good fit), and I hope the coaches find a way to get him his chance.

From a roster point of view, you don't want to take Knox out because he's on a roll right now. I'd be in favor of sitting R. Davis despite his being a good ST player, but it looks like the coaches will not go in that direction. Bennett's experience with Cutler makes him a valuable go-to guy in a pinch, and you're not going to unseat Hester no matter what. But receivers will get banged up (not that I wish for it) and Aromashodu will get his shot eventually, so patience.

I think DA will get a chance just not right now. I believe in going with the hot hand. Who knows how good this Knox, Bennett, and Hester can be. All of the skill players on this team(Hester,Knox.Bennett,Olsen,Forte,Kellen Davis) have been in the league less than 4 years and we have a 26 year QB. DA has been cut several times. I seriously doubt he got that much better this offseason. He just came to camp with the most experience at receiver. He has nowhere near the upside of the other guys. I think the offense mostly the o line will continue to get better every week and they'll be a very dangerous team by season's end.

What is the story there? I thought he was coming along as well as Knox and that boded well for the immediate future. Was he injured, cut, or what?

Nothing more then just being a weekly inactive.

He is the 5'th WR and so far Lovie has only kept 4 of the 6 active on game day... DA is inactive because of injury. Knox benefited from DA's injury because he likely would have been inactive had DA been healthy. Now, it will be hard to get Knox out of the lineup because he has solidified his position on the Active list.

Rasheed is active because he is a 4-phase special teamer. It's just a numbers game now. If Iglesias was stout on the special teams he would probably be activated.

Perhaps Lovie will leave McKie inactive and give Aromashodu a shot. We could use Gaines as the "H" back... It's not like McKie has been blocking anybody anyway !! All he does is wiff or gets blown up by LB's in the hole. McKie just flat out sucks. The only thing he does well is catch out of the backfield when he doesn't drop passes.

Go Bears !!

Just bite the bullet, and active 5 receivers for a game, try it out. I know, radical thinking, but use a 4 receiver set, just once, and see how it looks.

Don't underestimate the importance of special teams. I think some coaches overestimate them (Hank Stram used to say they're 1/3 of the game), but ask any coach and he'll tell you how important they are. That's why Rashied Davis will be on the 45 man roster every week. If both of these receivers can contribute significantly, there must be someone else who's not contributing as much who can sit out.

Hey Biggs (or anyone else),

Can you explain the point of the gameday roster? I've never understood why you're allowed to have 53 players but can only play 45. It's not like it saves the owners any money. In fact, they're paying those guys just to sit around. Why not let all 53 into the game? What am I missing?

Are people going to start crying over DA the way they did Rideau, who, BTW, is still on the street, in spite of his ENORMOUS upside and potential.

You don't bench Davis. He plays special teams too well, and he is actually good enough to be a No. 4 receiver on a team.

I agree though with Brendan H. If you really want to test him, dress five guys.

If everyone is healthy, the team can get away -- maybe -- with sitting a DB that isn't great at special teams.

And that, of course, is the thing. If he could do it, he would dress. I know some of you think you can stick any mule out there and play ST, but it doesn't work that way.

That is why Stelz and Davis are deservedly on the team, in spite of your protests.

But there probably is a spot, given that McBride was hurt and cut, that can be expended for DA.

I agree with sitting J. McKie for a game and let's see what D.A. is capable of bringing to the game. It would surely surprise whatever team the Bears play that week, having never seen them in a 4 reciever set. Who knows ? I've seen E.Bennett drop a few so far, D.A. might just be as good or better !I don't really care if he (Bennett) was a high draft pick or that he went to college with J.Cutler. Put playmakers on the field !

now that there a WRs stepping up, why don't they limit Devin Hester's snap so that he could again concentrate on punt and kick returns?

We want Rideau
We want Rideau
We want Aromassoodda
We want Aromassoodda

Man you guys got it all wrong. What about Mike Hass? Yeh Mike Hass is the man. Hahahahaha, the same guys pop every year, "cough" Kevin A. Fans who fall in love with guys like Baldwin, Okowo, Hass, Balogh, it's always some guy. I will tell you one thing, Mike Hass is going to make me some money, I got about 6 bets out there with meathead Bear fans who bet me Hass would be a star in Seattle. Hahahahah. practice squad star maybe. God I love the football stupid of the world, there like my own little treasure trove joke writers, they just don't know it.

"How come Wolfe is playing behind Peterson now? Did you not see him at northern?" Hahahahahahaha

"Why is Lance Louis not being given a chance to start over Pace?" Some of the questions that come out of the mouths of children.

You don't bench your only FB in favor of a No. 5 receiver.

The madness!

Iglesias just hasn't performed as well as the other options at receiver for the Bears. As was said before the last cuts he made the team because he was a 3rd round draft pick and Brandon Rideau was a journeyman free agent. I'm not writing Iglesias off but I felt even on draft day that Knox had more potential and hopefully he can turn into this year's Eddie Royal or DeSean Jackson.

I don't understand how you could construe opinions to put Aromashodu in the game as just sentimentality. If Johnny Knox is your dream WR and satisfies all your WR needs, then that's fine, I hope you're right. But I just don't see it that way.

A QB with Cutler's abilities oughta get a chance to play with all of his toys, and one of the toys that he doesn't currently have, but what many of the top passing teams around the league possess, is that big WR that has speed AND can go up and get it. I bet any QB would love to have a big WR where you know that in certain situations, if you aim the ball just high enough, only the WR will have a chance to come down with it. Aromashodu is the tallest WR we have, looks like he can hold his own in a footrace, has decent hands, and would've played if not for the injury anyway.

I am somewhat surprised that so many of you already seem absolutely satisfied with what we have at WR.

At the risk of sounding redundant (and I know some of you will say I am redundant), I do not underestimate the importance of STs; it's the only reason why a sub-par offense and defense found themselves in playoff contention last year. But if I had a say (and I don't), I would risk R. Davis' play on ST, and take a chance on other ST guys stepping it up and Aromashodu taking advantage of what little opportunities are presented to him and making some important catches. And I don't think it's a bad bet.

Knock it off with the Hass bashing, Creighton. He was on the Bears, and therefore should be in the Hall of Fame. There's nothing wrong with dropped passes. Like missed field goals, they add mystery and excitement to the game. How about that David Ball fellow?

Posters, thanks for the info re Iglesias. I just wondered what was happening with him,and you guys filled in the blanks. Knox has looked solid and has that great speed. In some ways, a case could almost be made that the Bears are in great shape regarding receivers rather than weak in that area. It's a solid benefit to be able to have solid players on the inactive squad and must be a challenge to the coaching staff to make decisions in that regard.

Fine. Activate DA.

I'm simply saying you don't take out the player who has been your best ST player thus far this season.

And you certainly don't bench your only true FB.

Josh Bullocks has been active every game. He serves as the fifth safety. He's above average on special teams -- not a bum, but not the best on the team. Unlike Davis, he does not return kicks. Davis is the primary gunner. And with Payne and Stelz healthy, there is probably no chance he sees the field.

It's not inconceivable to see Davis on the field as a WR, especially since, as sad as it is, he's probably the best blocker among the WRs (another underrated skill no one cares about).

Bullocks? Neither he nor Stelz will ever see the field unless of a major injury.

And in an emergency, you could just throw Graham a FS, and let him play just as badly as Stelz and Bullocks.

If you want D.A. on the field, Bullocks, not Davis, is the option.

And frankly, I would not be surprised to see that take place this Sunday.

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