Johnny Knox led the Bears in receptions, yards, yards-per-catch, and receiving touchdowns last year. He’s 24 years old.
You would think all of that would have him locked in to a starting gig this year, but you would be wrong. Roy Williams is challenging Knox for snaps at split end, according to Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
We initially figured Williams would play at the expense of Devin Hester. But Hester is apparently locked in to the team’s flanker job, while Earl Bennett plays the slot. Williams and Knox were splitting first team reps before Knox missed a few days with a minor back injury.
‘We need a position battle,’’ Bears receivers coach Darryl Drake said. ‘‘Roy isn’t going to be handed anything. He’s got to earn his stripes, and Johnny’s got to improve from where he’s at.”
Knox should feel threatened. Mike Martz said Williams could catch 70-80 passes, which would be tough to do off the bench.
Ultimately, the Bears should be able to figure out how to keep Knox on the field. Even if that means putting Williams or Hester on the sideline more.
UPDATE: Knox had some interesting quotes on the matter Saturday, via the Chicago Tribune.
“It is hard to accept,” Knox said. ”It’s kind of tough because I’ve been here. I understand [Williams] has been in this offense. He’s a veteran receiver. But at the end of the day, it’s all about competition. And I do want to compete for the starting job.”