Odom in a Slump

Lake Forest - Joe Odom has started four games at strong side linebacker, but it appears that will change when the Bears face the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

Odom wasn't the Bears first choice at strong-side linebacker. In training camp Marcus Reese quickly jumped to the top of the depth chart despite missing the majority of off-season workouts because he was in NFL Europe.

However, a hamstring injury sidelined Reese and Odom received the role by default.

In three starts Odom hasn't played poorly, but at the same time he hasn't done anything to separate himself from the pack.

Now, Hunter Hillenmeyer will get a chance to start at the strong-side, something he hasn't done since his junior season at Vanderbilt.

Odom understands why the coaching staff is making the move to promote Hillenmeyer.

"Right now I know I'm not playing as well as I know I can and they can't continue to wait for me to pickup my game," Odom said. "They've got to have the best person playing there right now, which I understand. It still hurts because I know that I'm good enough I'm just not playing up to my abilities right now."

The opportunity to make plays at SAM is limited compared to the middle and weak side. The strong-side linebacker comes off the field in nickel situations, which cuts the number of plays Odom is on the field. Still Odom has just 15 tackles in four games.

"It's one of the positions where you just don't get the opportunities, but when you do you've got to take advantage of it," Odom said. "I haven't been playing bad by any means, I just could have made a lot more plays if I was playing at my peak level.

"I'm in a slump and I'm struggling right now. Maybe I'm just trying to hard to get myself out of it and that might be a draw back. Right now, I have to stay positive and not get too down on myself, which is easy to do."

Considering Hillenmeyer has never played anything but middle linebacker in the NFL, Odom is trying to remain a good teammate despite a demotion.

"It's not all about starting, it's about winning," Odom said.

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