Rome Odunze 'absolutely chasing' Rams Puka Nacua record absolutely doomed

Los Angeles Rams OTA Offseason Workout, Puka Nacua
Los Angeles Rams OTA Offseason Workout, Puka Nacua / Ric Tapia/GettyImages
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Bears offense is undergoing a dramatic shift in 2024

Just showing up for the NFL is not going to make magic. While every rookie class gets high praise and hype in the days and weeks leading up to the annual NFL Draft, nothing has changed in terms of the learning curve. To truly succeed in the NFL, players have to put in the work. That is as true of veterans as it is of rookies. The only difference is, rookies have not done the work yet.

But bold claims by rookies need to be backed up with realistic projections. Unfortunately, the premise that Puka Nacua's rookie receiving yards record is within reach of rookie WR Rome Odunze is remote at best, and here's why:

I - Rome Odunze is a rookie wide receiver playing in the NFL. That means that he gets one shot at besting Puka Nacua's rookie receiving record. And he must do so while competing for the Chicago Bears in the NFC North Division. The NFC North has very competent teams that will not simply wave Odunze by as he tries to catch passes.

II - Caleb Williams is a rookie quarterback who will be throwing Odunze the football. As noted in the data table above in Slide 1, rookie record holders flourish due to the fact that they are catching passes from veteran quarterbacks. It's no stretch of the imagination to expect the Chicago Bears rookie quarterback to struggle at times in the pocket. Defenses will swarm to Rome Odunze as soon as they detect a pattern where Williams targets him in specific game scenarios.

III - How committed will the Bears be to passing the football in 2024? In 2023, the Bears offense threw 513 passes but ran 534 times. In 2022, the Bears offense threw 377 passes while running 558 times. That is a pretty lopsided trend to reverse in 2024. In fact, it is a clear demonstration that the Bears' entire offense has a huge shift of basic offensive philosophy to put Odunze into any position to perform at an elite level in 2024.

Goal-setting is fine. But rather than some pie-in-the-sky goal, true goal setting requires an action plan as well. To get to Nacua-level numbers, the Chicago Bears will need to:

  • Target Rome Odunze an average of 9.5 times per game
  • Complete 6.2 passes to Odunze per game (Completion rate of 65.3 percent)
  • Get an average of 87.5 yards per game from Rome Odunze in 17 games
  • Average 14.2 yards per completion to Odunze

While the 'I can do that,' boasting is cute and all, when you break down how to accomplish that goal in basic per game numbers, the huge challenge becomes apparent. How can an offense that has struggled to pass the football effectively for years suddenly master the practice with a rookie QB and WR to the level to break Puka Nacua's rookie receiving record?

As former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr once sang in one of his popular songs: "It Don't Come Easy"