Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Rome Odunze Has One Goal For 2024 And Boy, It’s Ambitious

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One doesn’t become as good as Rome Odunze was in college on talent alone. One of the biggest reasons the Chicago Bears were drawn to him was his unrelenting work ethic. His hamstring strain that sidelined him for rookie minicamps came from practicing too hard. It is how Odunze is wired. He aims to be great and is willing to make any sacrifice necessary. Another way he accomplishes this is by setting a high bar for himself. Whenever he enters a new situation, one of the first things he does is figure out the receiving records for that location. He did that in high school, college, and now the NFL.

Odunze’s reaction when he heard the Bears’ career-receiving record held by Johnny Morris was priceless. That is definitely one of his top targets as he starts his career in Chicago. However, it isn’t the one that has his direct attention. First on the agenda is Puka Nacua’s single-season rookie record of 1,486 yards. The 5th round pick took the NFL by storm last season, almost single-handedly helping the Los Angeles Rams back to the playoffs. Odunze stated at his latest press conference that he’s definitely aiming for that mark.

Rome Odunze has a personal incentive to chase Nacua, too.

The two were teammates at Washington in 2020 before Nacua transferred to BYU. He played well there but nowhere near the level that made people think he’d be an All-Pro in his first season. The guy went in the 5th round for a reason. He ended up landing in the perfect situation with an elite quarterback and mastermind offensive head coach. Odunze doesn’t have that same setup. While he has a talented young quarterback in Caleb Williams, he isn’t at the level of Matthew Stafford. Not yet. Matt Eberflus is also not an offensive head coach, so it falls to offensive coordinator Shane Waldron to scheme things up.

There is also one other factor. Nacua didn’t have much competition for football last year. Cooper Kupp spent much of the season battling injuries. Tyler Higbee and Tutu Atwell weren’t front-line targets. Nacua basically became the go-to guy by default. Rome Odunze can’t expect that to happen in Chicago with D.J. Moore, Keenan Allen, and Cole Kmet as other options. Still, that won’t dissuade him from doing everything possible to will the football in his direction.

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Bubba Ho-Tep
Bubba Ho-Tep
Jun 13, 2024 4:29 pm

Is it Puka like Puke, or Pooka?

citizen34
citizen34
Jun 13, 2024 9:03 am

While I admire Rome’s goal-setting, he has no chance to reach them this year, while sharing the ball with DJ, Kmet and Keenan. I will say that I think he will be the next Larry Fitzgerald if he continues to learn and work hard! He has amazing talent and if he can learn from true pros like DJ an Keenan, we are set at WR for the next 4 years!

Dr. Steven Sallie
Dr. Steven Sallie
Jun 13, 2024 7:26 am

An admirably high, but totally unrealistic, goal for several reasons not mentioned here. Puka was simply great, excellent, and outstanding.

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