However, the wide receivers did some nice things this season and performed much better than most of the experts figured they would, although the finer points of playing the position – the scramble drill, adjusting routes, blocking downfield – still need some work. Devin Hester and Earl Bennett proved to be competent starters, with Hester catching at least four passes six games in a row and Bennett recording no fewer than two receptions in 15 of 16 contests. Off the bench, rookie Johnny Knox came out of nowhere as a fifth-round draft pick from a Division-II school to score five offensive touchdowns, plus one more on a kickoff return, and forgotten practice-squad veteran Devin Aromashodu appeared to be the best of the bunch after finally getting regular playing time in Week 14.
Rashied Davis is officially nothing more than a coverage guy on special teams since he only caught five passes for 35 yards, while third rounder Juaquin Iglesias got the proverbial redshirt year and never dented the stat sheet.
Inside the Numbers
It may not happen because of the financial commitment they've made to him and the support they've given him publicly, but the Bears would be wise to move Hester out of the starting lineup and use him as more of a slot specialist and mismatch creator – like the Vikings have done with the equally-unpolished Percy Harvin. Aromashodu has late bloomer written all over him and needs to be a major component of the passing game in 2010, with Bennett the trusty possession target and Knox the quick strike waiting to happen. Assuming Davis has played his last game with an orange C on his helmet, Iglesias can then slide into the rotation and give Cutler a solid quintet to throw to each and every week.
Cutler got hot the last two games once he had some time, putting together a strong touchdown-to-interception ratio of 8 to 1, so general manager Jerry Angelo should resist the temptation to add wideouts and instead stockpile offensive linemen.
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John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.
2009 Position by Position Review: WR
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