Nobody Wideouts Stating Their Case

The Chicago Bears took a weak receiving corps to Bourbonnais for training camp, but two unknowns, Brandon Rideau and Devin Aromashodu, have both taken this opportunity to get noticed. After playing well in a 17-3 preseason win over the Giants, Bear Report's Beth Gorr spent some time with them.

Brandon Rideau never reads his press clippings. Devin Aromashodu hasn't paid much attention to media reports, but he might be changing his mind about that some time in the near future.

Both wide receivers have the potential to become weapons in the updated Bears offense and could find themselves in the news more often than not during the 2009 season.

For Rideau, it's all about concentration.

"I don't want to know what people are saying about me," he said in the locker room Saturday after a 17-3 preseason victory over the Giants. "It can become distracting. My focus is completely on the game as it is happening. I know afterwards what I've done right and what I've done wrong. I certainly don't need anybody to tell me."

Rideau did admit, however, that his friends often update him on what is being said around town.

"I tell them to stop, " he said, "that I really don't want to know. They're excited for me, and I guess they think they are being helpful."

Rideau also saw considerable time on the field with special teams, a situation he seems to enjoy – and something he needs to do well if he wants to ensure a spot on the 53-man roster.

"Just get me out there," he said. "Special teams, wide receiver – I'm happy with any role. Let me show what I can do. I enjoy things whenever I am playing."

When asked about training camp, Rideau felt that he "finished strong" and was pleased to come out of the experience "slightly sore but with no injuries." He's looking forward to an expanded role with the offense this year, "wherever and whenever the coaches want to use me."

Aromashodu had most fans scanning their lineup cards after a spectacular 38-yard catch from Jay Cutler midway through the second quarter. The play set up a 1-yard touchdown pass to Desmond Clark for the score just a play later.

Rideau caught two balls for 21 yards Saturday.
AP Images: Charles Rex Arbogast

Aromashodu, who joined the team in early December of 2008, realizes he's not yet a familiar player to most who follow the team.

"I certainly hope they know who I am sooner than later," he said, standing alongside Rideau. "Being with the Bears this season is a wonderful opportunity. I was here a short time at the end of last season, and already I can sense a new energy in this team. There seems to be renewed emphasis on the offense."

Aromashodu felt that much of the optimism among the players was due to the acquisition of Cutler.

"We have a Pro Bowl-quality quarterback now," he said. "It changes a lot in terms of your outlook on the season. Some innovative plays are being used with a number of receiving options. That should spread the defense and give us some chances that perhaps weren't there a year ago."

Aromashodu was one of a multitude of receivers utilized Saturday versus New York, including Cutler's Vanderbilt teammate Earl Bennett, who had 42 receiving yards. Clark, Devin Hester, Greg Olsen, Garrett Wolfe, Kellen Davis and Matt Forte also saw significant action.

"I think the more options you have out there, the more vertical your field has the chance to become," said Aromashodu. "It's a little easier to keep the momentum going when you can keep getting those first downs."

But both pass catchers realize that a number of offensive options can also mean competition for position.

"That's fine," said Rideau. "It's all part of this game. I think, if anything, the competition here right now in terms of receivers makes us all better. We know there is a strong arm behind center who has the ability to get the ball to us. It's out job now to maximize our skills and be able to catch that ball every single time."

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Beth Gorr has been covering the Chicago Bears for eight years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.

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