Bears Pre-Camp Check; WRs

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by soulman, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Chicago Bears

    Pre-camp check: Receivers

    June, 25, 2014
    Jun 25
    9:00
    AM ET
    By Michael C. Wright | ESPN.com

    Overview: Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery combined for 189 catches, 2,716 yards and 19 touchdowns. The yardage ranked as No. 2 in the NFL of all duos behind only Denver’s Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker (2,718).

    So it’s not like Marshall and Jeffery will be sneaking up on any opponents in 2014, and there’s now the added pressure of raising the high bar already set.

    [​IMG]
    Marshall
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    Jeffery
    “I think we have a special group,” Marshall said of the offense. “Their approach to practice to their approach to the film room, it’s amazing, and I think if we continue to do that, we’ll continue to grow. We have a tremendous upside. But again, we have to prove it. If we continue to work, we’ll be OK. What we did last year was really tough. You bring in a new coach with a really sophisticated offense, you’ve got [quarterback] Jay [Cutler], he’s been in different offenses almost every other year. So for us to make that leap last year says a lot about our coaching staff and our players. This year, that’s something to build off and we can possibly be better.”

    Battle to watch: The Bears want Marquess Wilson to win the No. 3 spot, and that will be an important position for the team moving forward as defenses start to devote more attention to Marshall and Jeffery on the outside. A dynamic player that can threaten the seam -- similar to the way Martellus Bennett does from the tight end spot -- could open up things for everybody else on offense. So unless Wilson falters significantly in camp and in the preseason, the job appears to be his to lose.

    That means most of the competition will be for those final spots on the roster at receiver, and will involve veterans such as Josh Morgan, Eric Weems, Micheal Spurlock, Armanti Edwards, Chris Williams and Josh Bellamy. So we’re talking about six players competing for two, possibly three roster spots, and the ability to contribute on special teams will likely wind up being a major determining factor.

    Of the group, Morgan is probably the most polished as a receiver while Weems and Spurlock possess a combination of skills as receivers and return men.

    Dark horse: Terrence Toliver, believe it or not, is actually in his second stint with the Bears. The club first signed him in January 2013, before cutting him at the end of camp. The Bears then brought back Toliver last October. Toliver hasn’t caught a single pass in an NFL regular-season game, yet he’s spent time with five different teams. Toliver possesses some upside, and is similar to Marshall and Jeffery in terms of size (6-foot-5, 204 pounds). He’s shown gradual improvement throughout his tenure with the Bears, but the question is whether he’ll receive enough of an opportunity to show the club what he can do in training camp and the preseason.

    Who makes the cut: If the Bears keep five receivers, they’ll likely go into the season with Marshall, Jeffery, Wilson, Morgan and Weems. If they keep six, Williams would likely make the cut over the other competitors.
  2. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Weems Chris Williams instead. We already know what Weems can't do. It's time for a change.
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  3. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    I've read a few of these, seems like they aren't doing a lot of work and merely re hashing pre minicamp stuff w/out really updating anything; the qb one still had the Bears w/5 QB's and not 4.

    I think outside of 4 wr's, marshal/alshon/wilson/wilson(return guy) the others are battling over 2 spots, I think they'll keep 6. Those bottom 2 I would guess would be guys proving they can play ST's, and I expect 1 vet and 1 young guy, my guess would be Tolliver, if he continues to build off his strong minicamp, will stick, and that least the others, I would expect Weems to be in the lead.
  4. billatter

    billatter Veteran

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    I'm not sure how anyone can make judgments this early. We know 1 & 2 with a good idea of who is 3, but from then on it's guesswork until they're actually on the field, playing real opposition.

    For example, we may find that CWill offers more as a WR than KR/PR and I say this because of his size. Thanks to the difference in rules and size of field, pint-size returners can be very successful in the CFL. In the NFL, because of the smaller field and the difference in the punt rules, a returner has to have at least some size to shed tacklers.

    Thanks to the five yard halo in the CFL, the leading coverage guys have to put on the brakes, so the returner gets at least a couple of steps and one cut as a freebie before the coverage can get going again. No such issue in the NFL and often the first one or two guys downfield often have to be shed. I don't know how well he'll adapt to that.

    On the flip side, with one less defender, one less receiver and a narrower field, the receiving game will seem simpler for him so he may very well adapt to that more quickly. If a receiver has great hands, speed, cuts and jumping ability then size becomes less of an issue.
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  5. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Good to have a contrasting viewpoint Bill. I'm not overly concerned about Williams size because of his quickness and acceleration plus there are a lot of NFL return guys who aren't much bigger if any. Vision, acceleration, an ability to make cuts without breaking stride and flat out speed are what separated Devin Hester from the rest. I can see some of those traits in Williams as well. But you're right. He's gonna be on a much smaller field and guys are gonna be in his grill when he catches a punt so he needs to have great instincts because there's really no time to think it through.

    I think what's got me feeling very positive about him is the comments "Moon" Mullins made about him after seeing him in the OTAs and mini-camp. He seems to be a pretty accomplished receiver with good hands and that as much as anything should help his cause. The need to hold a roster spot for a player who can only contribute on STeams is what they want to avoid. That's one thing I think give Williams an edge over Weems because Weems has never impressed anyone with his abilities as a WR.

    Needless to say we've all become accustomed to having an exceptional KR/PR guy so I'm pulling for Williams to be that guy and to be an offensive weapon as well. They never could figure out a proper role for Hester but I'm betting that won't be an issue with Trestman and Kromer running the offense.
  6. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    God please cut Weems and keep some younger guy instead who at least might have some upside as a receiver.
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  7. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    I kind of agree, I would rather they keep Tolliver(sounds like he's having a solid off season), but I'd perfer a vet ST'r to step in for Weems.

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