As the title goes, there may be some controversy as to who will start adjacent of Hester this year. Where Roy Williams has the production and history to back him up, he hasn't shown any signs of his former self where Johnny Knox is hell-bent on getting his starting job back. Lets see what each player brings to the table, then vote as to who you, the fan, want to start as the X WR for Martz.
At first it all but appeared Roy Williams was guaranteed to be one of the starting WRs this season, where Johnny Knox would see a major demotion. But now, heading into week 3 of the preseason we haven't seen any signs of our boy Roy returning to his All-Pro form that he once was under Martz in Detroit over 5 years ago. Its not to say as to whether or not we won't see the greatness return to #11, but when we see Plaxico Burress come out of jail and shine in his debut where Roy comes literally empty handed, there is room for concern. Meanwhile, Knox has shown commitement to regaining his role on offense. So, lets see what we have with each player.
As stated he once was an All-Pro for Mike Martz while he was with the Lions, in 2006 he recorded 83 recs for 1,310 yards and 7 TDs. The following year he missed 4 games, yet still produced 838 yards and 5 TDs. When we combine the numbers, that is in 28 starts under Martz, he amased 2,148 yards and 12 TDs as a Lion from 2006-2007. He brings size (6'3" 215 pounds) and good speed to go with solid route running (at least from what I saw against the Giants). But his major issue, drops. As shown this past Monday night, he still has issues holding onto the ball in key moments of the game. Its plagued him throughout his career, and it was real evident while he was with the Cowboys. Again he had this position on lockdown until he started showing otherwise. Not to say its the end of the world, but he needs to start developing his chemistry with Jay Cutler as immediately from week 1 out we have a tough schedule to deal with. If he can go into these final 2 weeks of the preseason and show he is dependable, then life is good. If not, then we might need to look at other options. And speaking of other options...
Coming off his second and best season in his young career, we all thought he was going to be a starter this year. Boy were we wrong! But its not saying he didn't deserve some competition at the least, as Knox dug himself into a whole last year, not being discaplined in route-running while dropping his fair share of passes. To top it all off, out of Cutler's 16 ints last year, 12 of them were thrown in the direction of Johnny "Blaze". Simple math; 12/16 = 3/4 = 75% of Cutler's ints went towards Knox, and as the target he deserves some of the blame. Another concern was his softness against press coverage, that was highlighted in the infamous NFCCG against the Packers. Once he got just a little shove, he was effectively taken out of the play completely. He has gone out and worked hard on improving himself, though. He reportedly added 10-15 pounds onto his frame, and he appears to be more focused on his routes. If he can just grasp the fundamentals (run good routes and catch) and pair it with his speed, we have ourselves a dangerous weapon for Cutler to throw to. After all, his YAC is something we can't ignore (>18 yards).
If both players show massive improvements, then I could easily see a lot of 3-4 WR looks on offense this year. If not, then at least we would have 2 solid players for our QB to launch passes to (including Earl Bennett; Devin Hester still has some ways to go). I feel both players add something to the table, and both deserve playing time. But now the guantlet has been thrown down;