Mailbag: Aromashodu, breakout star in '10?
April, 6, 2010
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com
Q: Jeff, who do you anticipate having a break-out season on the offense? My friends and I think Devin Aromashodu will blow up because of his on-field chemistry with Jay Cutler. What do you think? -- Anthony, Naples, Fla.
Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesDevin Aromashodu's big finish to the season is one reason Bears fans can be optimistic about 2010.
A:I think Aromashodu could indeed have a solid season, and you're absolutely correct when it comes to his on-field rapport with Cutler. What I like about Aromashodu is that he cleans up mistakes: passes don't have to be perfectly thrown because he can go get the ball. I'm sure that's a major reason Cutler is such a fan, because as we all know, he had the luxury of working with a bigger receiver (Brandon Marshall) in Denver. If Aromashodu can learn the Mike Martz offense and continue to work hard, he'll be a valuable weapon. One more player to keep an eye on is Matt Forte. Trust me, don't sleep on Forte just because the Bears signed Chester Taylor. My guess is Forte is more motivated than ever to prove his critics wrong after an injury plagued/mediocre 2009 season, and because of his versatility in the backfield, should do well under Martz.
Q: You give Jerry Angelo a lot of grief, why don't you ever talk about some of the good moves he's made on draft day? A little balance would be nice and long overdue. -- Larry, Deerfield, Ill.
A: You're right, I did recently lay out some of the poor high draft choices since 2002 -- Michael Haynes, Roosevelt Williams, Cedric Benson, Mark Bradley, Dan Bazuin, Michael Okwo, etc -- so it's only fair to acknowledge some of the good moves made by the Bears general manager. Personally, I feel the selections of Charles Tillman [second round] and Lance Briggs [third round] in 2003 was the high point for Angelo in Chicago. But I also applaud the picks of Bernard Berrian [third round, 2004], Kyle Orton [fourth round, 2005], Devin Hester (second round, 2006], Alex Brown [fourth round, 2002], Zack Bowman [fourth round, 2008] and Johnny Knox [fifth round, 2009]. We've also seen positive glimpses from Greg Olsen, Chris Williams, Earl Bennett, Forte and Danieal Manning, so hopefully some of these players can take that next step this upcoming fall. Not everything has been negative from a draft standpoint, but let's be real, there have been a lot more misses than hits in the last five years.
Q: When is this team going to get serious and add some help at safety? Look at the Giants, they had problems at safety, and they got Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant. What are the Bears waiting for? -- Michael H., Oak Forest, Ill.
A: Relax for a second when it comes to safety. Yes, the Bears need to upgrade the position [badly], but there's no need to rush out and sign any of these remaining free-agent veterans, because most, if not all, will still be available after the draft. Remember, this is a very deep draft at safety, and I anticipate the Bears will take at least one safety before it's all said and done. Then, if they're still not satisfied, maybe they explore adding another veteran. Also, don't discount the possibility that a talented safety gets cut loose by a team in May or June. Look, if the season started tomorrow, the Bears would be in a lot of trouble in the secondary, but the good news is they have months and months to get it sorted out.
Q: Any chance the Bears bring Alex Brown back at a lower rate if he finds the market isn't particularly good? I don't think that he is above that. He is very humble and seems to love Chicago and the fans [it's mutual]. I doubt the Bears would try it because they tend to stick to their decisions to the death. Just wondering if that was even a possibility. -- Drew, St. Louis
A:That a very noble idea Drew, but unfortunately, I don't see any chance Brown re-signs with the Bears at a lower cost. In fact, Brown is reportedly generating some major interest around the league this week -- he's too good of a player to be unemployed for long. Brown has always been loyal and humble, but this is business, and the defensive end needs to make the best business decision he can for his career and family. Coming back to the Bears doesn't seem to be in the cards.
Q: So if Lance Louis doesn't get suspended to start the year, will he start at left guard? I was holding out hope for Rob Simms, but what happens if the Bears don't bring in an experienced guard? -- Brad S., Wauconda, Ill.
A: First of all, I don't excuse anything Louis allegadly did to his former college teammate, but that was before Louis entered the NFL, so I really don't understand why the league would get involved. To me, that's between Louis, his accuser and the courts. As for Louis' potential on the field, the Bears obviously think he has a bright future, and will no doubt give the former seventh-round pick an opportunity to earn some playing time. Personally, I'd like to see the Bears upgrade the guard spot via free agency and the draft, but if they fail in that regard, Louis certainly has a shot. I remain a fan of Josh Beekman, but sometimes feel like I'm the only one fighing that battle. Nobody gets to the second level of defenders better or faster than Beekman, who got unfairly pushed aside last season in favor of Frank Omiyale, but the Bears clearly have reservations about his size. Former practice squad member Johan Asiata may also jump into the mix if the Bears don't add another body or two inside.