Year-End Position Grades: Wide Receivers & Tight Ends

DEPTH CHART & STATISTICS (Including Playoffs):

Wide Receiver Depth Chart  –  #  –  Last Name, First Name  –  2010 Age

1) 13  –  Knox, Johnny  –  24

2) 23  –  Hester, Devin  –  28

3) 80  –  Bennett, Earl  –  23

4) 81  –  Davis, Rashied  –  31

5) 19  –  Aromashodu, Devin  –  26

Tight End Depth Chart  –  #  –  Last Name, First Name  –  2010 Age

1) 82  –  Olsen, Greg  –  25

2) 86  –  Manumaleuna, Brandon  –  30

3) 87  –  Davis, Kellen  – 25

4) 88  –  Clark, Desmond  –  33

Statistics  –  Games Played  – Catches  –  Yards  –  Yds/Rec.  –  TD

Knox  –  18  –  57  –  1,064  –  18.7  –  5

Hester  –  18  –  42  –  479  –  11.4  –  4

Bennett  –  16  –  50  –  619  –  12.4  –  4

R. Davis  –  18  –  9  –  84  –  9.3  –  1

Aromashodu  –  15  –  10  –  149  –  14.9  –  0

Olsen  –  18  –  47  –  547  –  11.6  –  6

Manumaleuna  –  18  –  5  –  43  –  8.6  –  1

K. Davis  –  18  –  3  –  61  –  20.3  –  2

Clark  –  6  –  1  –  12  – 12.0  –  0

Most people will blame this unit for alot of the troubles the Bears had on offense this season.  The first thing I noticed when doing this breakdown was the overall young age of our TEs and WRs.  Knox, Bennett, Olsen, and Kellen Davis are all 25 and under; Hester will be the old man of the group next year at 29. Also take into account that Knox, Bennett, and Davis are all learning their 3rd different offense in 3 years; Olsen his 3rd different offense in 5 years; and Hester was a CB his entire life until about 3 years ago. Furthermore, the only two I can say with any certainty that were coached up on the finer points of the game (beating jams, running routes) in college were Bennett (at Vanderbilt) and Olsen (at Miami).  Kellen Davis spit time in college between DE and TE; Hester was a CB; and I can bet you Knox was not jammed at the line EVER while at Abilene Christian.  The overall raw ability of this group cannot be questioned; and they will only get better and better, as long as they are coached up by Mike Martz.

That being said, some of the eyeball-test things you look for to gauge the competitiveness of an NFL receiver were lacking in this group, as a whole. The downfield blocking was inconsistent. Quitting on routes or not fighting for balls in the air that led to interceptions. Getting taken out of games by CBs or LBs who jam at the line. There were also some dropped passes, mainly by Knox and Hester, that HAVE to be caught.

Now, onto the individual grades:

JOHNNY KNOX: Was a legitimate deep threat, averaging 18.7 yards per catch; but had trouble beating the jam off the line, and rarely fought DBs for 50/50 passes. FINAL GRADE: B-minus

DEVIN HESTER: Averaged only 11.4 yards per catch. Showed some heart, but did drop some passes; and quite frankly seems out of place in this offense as anything more than an occasional slot receiver. FINAL GRADE: C

EARL BENNETT: Emerged as the WR Cutler trusts the most; runs good routes, and catches almost everything that goes to him. Lacks the speed that Martz really covets for this offense. Plus this play against the Lions is in my Top-5 Bears Plays of the Year. Bennett missed all of OTAs and started the year hurt; with a full offseason, I expect him to be able hit 70 catches next year, for close to 1,000 yards. FINAL GRADE: A-minus

RASHIED DAVIS: Is valuable to the Bears as a special teams player; but frankly, should not be getting ANY snaps in this league as a WR. Had 9 catches this season. Would not be surprised if he is not on the roster next season. FINAL GRADE: D.

DEVIN AROMASHODU: At 6 foot-2, and 200 pounds, he should be the physical WR the Bears so desperately need. However, Aromashodu seems more interested in complaining about playing time than actually learning his playbook or honing his craft. Should be gone in 2011. FINAL GRADE: F

GREG OLSEN: I don’t buy the whole argument that Mike Martz will not use his TEs—I just think he lacks the drive to use his abilities and put up numbers like Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark, or even Brent Celek. Olsen has as much ability as all of them. But for a guy that should be able to out-athleticize LBs and Outmuscle DBs, Olsen PLAYS TOO SOFT. On the plus side, he seemed to really improve his blocking this season. And, if the BEars can improve the offensive line this offseason, maybe Olsen would have more freedom to go out for passes and use his ability. FINAL GRADE: C-minus

BRANDON MANUMALEUNA: I have a hard time deciding who was laughing the hardest when the Bears gave all that guaranteed money to Manumaleuna this past offseason—his manager; or the other 31 GMs in the league. He was NOT the blocker that he was advertised to be coming into the season; and he caught 5 passes. 5. I expect (read: hope) him to be a cut this offseason. FINAL GRADE: D-minus

KELLEN DAVIS: Was good on special teams; and when he was finally used at TE in the passing game, he caught 3 passes for 61 yards and 2 TDs in the playoffs. Is a HUGE target, and a guy I think will be starting in Manumaleuna’s spot and spell Olsen next season. FINAL GRADE: B

DESMOND CLARK: Only appeared in 6 games, and caught 1 pass. Should be et go this offseason. FINAL GRADE: INCOMPLETE.

One response

  1. johnnyharvard

    My only changes would be giving Davis a C. Rashied Davis that is. I’ve been an advocate for his release for awhile but he showed me some toughness this season something this unit has lacked all season from three of our WR’s and maybe one of our TE’s. When Hester, Knox and Aromashodu clearly wanted no part in competing and beating the jam against Green Bay Davis was the one who did. Sad yes but true. still am with you on his status with theteam. I thnk they have to add a couple receivers this season which makes it unlikely he, and probably Aromashodu make the team. I think Davis makes it to camp to compete however where as DA is cut and not even tendered.

    As a receiver I’d give Hester a D. he’s a veteran enough now to where he should be much more of a leader and show some toughness out there if not knowing what the hell you’re supposed to do. Against the tougher press CB’s in the league Hester disappeared. That doesn’t sit well with me. I’d actually drastically reduce his snaps on offense to specific gimmick sets and decoy plays. Thats it! He’s 100% on kickoffs and Punts if its me.

    Knox had a good statistical year, but again he made bone headed mistakes which made Cutler take the blame for a lot of his INT’s that were once again his fault. now that I’d excuse him for a little, because he is young from a small school in a new complex offense, but his questionable toughness I won’t excuse him for. I want my players competing hard most of all. I didn’t see that from Johnny. He gets a C- from me. I know I’m a tough grader.

    Olsen gets a solid C/B- from me. I don’t think Olsen shys away from things as much as he’s just not a naturally physical guy. But I do see him competing for balls and I saw a huge improvement from him in his run blocking. He had an issue with some hot reads early but by the end of the year was right on it so he learned the offense very well. I like that. He also was a focal point in most defensive coordinators game plans as the top receiving threat om our team which is another sad statement.

    I think Bennett being injured a good part of the year early and than later hurt. If he was healthy from wire to wire that would have put two guys to watch and maybe opening up at least one more option for the Bears to use if Bennett was occupied. I think its time to give Kellen Davis more snaps. I think he’s a real threat on 3rd downs and in the Red Zone. He’s also a willing and devastating blocker. Thats a guy who I would never worry about competing and going up and getting the ball.

    Bears need another threat. They need PRO receivers. Guys who know the position, and aren’t learning it like they’re in freaking high school. Pro wide outs. Guys who know the intricacies of the position like how to run routes and get separation and positioning for passes, techniques ect. The fundamentals of the position. Like when you run a slant run it in front of the DB not behind so it doesn’t get picked or tipped as Hester and especially Knox did all year. WR was a very frustrating and disappointing position all year long and needs as much consideration as any on this team.

    February 9, 2011 at 10:59 am

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