After catching 5 passes for 71 yards in the season opener, Bears' WR Devin Aromashodu saw no action in the Bears' week #2 win against the Cowboys in Dallas. This is mystifying especially seeing how Aromashodu blossomed into Cutler's favorite target in the closing weeks of the 2009 season (22 catches for 282 yards and 4 TD's in the final four games).
What's even more mystifying is the fact that Aromashodu is a big WR with good speed (6' 2", 202lbs and 4.4 speed). You would think that Aromashodu would be a prototypical WR in a Mike Martz offense that values big, fast receivers.
When asked why Aromashodu didn't see any playing time in the Cowboys game, Coach Lovie Smith had this to say:
We feel good about the receivers we had out there. Earl Bennett gave us some good play. We look to go through and get to every game week, and see who practices well and we think gives us the best chance to win. That’s the combination we decided to go with last week. Each week, it could be a different one.
Now that's just coach-talk; it's speking without saying anything meaningful. OC Mike Martz also chimed in:
Devin’s a bit of a specialist in that he does not play the slot, which we asked him to do in the opener. He’s not comfortable in there, he’s not familiar with it. All four of our other receivers … do play the slot and the outside. Devin just plays the outside, so his opportunities to play are reduced dramatically because of his limited knowledge of what we do at that position.
At least that's more of an answer. My next question is if Aromashodu is 'only' an outside receiver, then why not play Aromashodu on the outside and put the dangerous Devin Hester in the slot? Aromashodu on the outside matches up better with the corners due to his size and speed and Hester in the slot will be matched up against either a nickleback, safety or line backer; which is an obvious mis-match.
In fact, this is what Martz said regarding Hester back in an interview in February:
I think he’s still the best special teams return guy in the league, period. We have to be careful about how much we ask him to do on offense. That’s really a reason the Bears have won some games is because of Devin and what he does in the return game. So we’ll be very judicious in what we ask him to do offensively. But he’ll be very involved and we’ll ask him to do some really dynamic things where we can get him isolated in [favorable] personnel match-ups.
He’ll be outside occasionally too. But if you put him in as a third receiver and move him around inside, who’s going to match up with him, either their third corner or a safety or a nickel back? That’s what we look for. To line him up outside and leave him outside on a good corner, he’ll win out there and do well. But to me the craziness of it would be to put him inside and if they stay in a zone or leave a linebacker on him, my goodness, we can’t get him the ball fast enough.
So, I go back to what I've been saying all along: It's mystifying as to why Hester continues to be utilized as a #1 WR and Aromashodu rides the bench. I think Hester as a full-time return guy (as he was back in 2006-07 when he returned 7 punts and 4 kick-offs for TD's) and slot receiver is much more dangerous than Hester as a full-time receiver and punt return man only. Could egos be getting in the way of good football sense at Hallas Hall?