Bears WRs Have High Ceilings......................

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

  1. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Bears' receiving corps will have high ceiling

    Everything in place for Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery to lead group with plenty of upside



    [​IMG]
    By Brad Biggs, Tribune reporter
    10:51 p.m. CDT, May 24, 2014

    Brandon Marshall had enough tears of joy and pregnant pauses in his 30-minute news conference Thursday, three days after signing a new contract on national television, to make one believe there would have been drama in the season ahead if he had not received an extension.

    But the Bears avoided that by rewarding a player who has been a stalwart on offense. At 30, Marshall, who said he was hoping for a new contract a year ago, had three years and $30 million tacked onto the remaining year of his contract so he will be in place through 2017.

    General manager Phil Emery had no problem extending Marshall early and guaranteeing him $22.3 million because he has been a leader since arriving in a 2012 trade, he has had the best back-to-back seasons by a wide receiver in franchise history, and the deal is club friendly when you consider what other elite receivers have received.

    It's a win for everyone involved after some minor drama early last season when coach Marc Trestman declared Marshall healthy but the wide receiver was excused for four days for personal reasons at the end of preseason, ostensibly to have his hip checked out. Then, Marshall openly wondered about his role in the offense during the first month of the season when he was actually getting more balls thrown his way than the year before.

    Now all of the attention can be turned to the field, where the Bears should again have one of the better wide receiver corps in the NFL.

    Marshall and Alshon Jeffery combined for 189 catches, 2,716 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2013, and that seems like a good benchmark when looking to this season. Marshall is entering Year 9 of his career and believes he still is in his prime, and Jeffery has room to grow.

    "If any of us aren't getting better, we might as well give it up," wide receivers coach Mike Groh said. "So there is always room for improvement, and it will be the finer things. It will probably not be as noticeable to the average fan or somebody who doesn't have the opportunity to watch (Jeffery) down in and down out like we do. But he's got quite a lot of room for growth. "There are details in routes we can improve. It's really the small things now. It's not the big things anymore."

    Beyond Jay Cutler's top two targets, the Bears could be improved even with Earl Bennett declining a pay cut and being released before signing with the Browns on a one-year deal for the minimum. Bennett is smart, could play every position and was always where Cutler expected him with usually steady hands. But concussions made him a durability concern, and now Marquess Wilson, the seventh-round pick from a year ago, has an opportunity to flourish.

    "It's too early to tell," Groh said. "Marquess is comfortable, but we have basically had walkthroughs. To say what he is going to do out here, in underwear against no defense, it's hard. We're not going to anoint him yet.

    "He's had a tremendous offseason. He's shown up in great shape. He's gained weight. I think from a strength standpoint and a bulk standpoint, he has a lot more confidence. Hopefully that will show when we get to go against the defense and can see if he can hold up at the point."

    Emery wasn't going to make the mistake of putting Wilson in a position where he doesn't have to battle for a job and playing time. Josh Morgan and Domenik Hixon have been productive complementary receivers previously in their careers. They're very much in the mix, and it will be interesting to see if Trestman can find a role for 5-foot-8 Chris Williams.

    "This is competition," Groh said. "Last year there was none. Everbody knew who they were going to be and where they were going to be. It's not like that this year."

    Marshall called the group special, and he hosted his teammates in Florida for workouts earlier in the offseason. "Just seeing the intensity out there and the guys having fun, their approach to practice to their approach to the film room, it's amazing," he said. "If we continue to do that, we'll continue to grow. We have a tremendous upside, but we have to prove it."

    bmbiggs@tribune.com
    Twitter @BradBiggs
  2. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Glad to hear that Wilson's offseason work with Marshall paid some dividends on the physical side. I watched and ITB episode down in Florida where Marshall and Jeffery had him working out like crazy pushing him to add some pounds and some strength. He's still only 21 years old so he really hasn't filled out yet and I think over the next year or so he could easily be playing somewhere north of 200lbs if he isn't quite there yet.

    Hixson and Morgan are both decent #3 or #4 WR types and it would be interesting to see Trestman find some way to to create a "Hester Package" for this kid Williams. They keep saying it'll be an open competition for the return gigs but they didn't pay this guy $100k bonus to come to Chicago without the thought that it's his job to lose. It sure would be nice if he slid into Hester's role and took it over from there and was able to contribute some big plays on offense that Hester always fell short off.
  3. Chicago_66

    Chicago_66 Veteran

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    I think all of our receivers will be better this year. Marshall isn't recovering from surgery, he's grinding to get better. Teams will pay more attention to Jeffery which gives Marshall more to work with. I think we'll see Marshall's best year with the team so far. I don't know about numbers, but I think he'll be dominating all year.

    Jeffery's arrow is pointing sky high and to go from what he is now to what he came into last year as.. he's only going to be better. Week 1 Jeffery isn't as good as Week 17 Jeffery and I think ANOTHER year of working with Marshall and getting the fine things down will only improve his game. Marshall is a master at his craft and Jeffery is getting tutelage that not every wide receiver of his caliber has the benefit of receiving. Usually #1's like Jeffery dont' come into situations where there's an established #1 to teach them and take pressure off them like this.

    Wilson's biggest drawbacks were character and slight frame. His character is obviously good enough thus far and he's getting bigger and stronger. Marshall's saying he's the steal of his draft and I think he could be right, the guy has the tools to be great and he's in such a perfect situation. When will he ever see the top defender against him? Who's going to cover him? When you have Marshall and Alshon on the field and probably Bennett it just doesn't make sense to give Wilson your best defender. He's going to capitalize on this and I think it'll make him look real good.

    Even the 4's and 5's are going to be more impressive, all of these guys Wilson on down are good enough to be #3 and we have them all. Good WR's will get cut and I think Trest is actually capable of doing a Hester package type thing. It's not just talk, he'll build packages that capitalize on Chris Williams speed like we should have done for Hester. I think Trest is the perfect man to get the most out of this offense, there won't be talent wasted with someone like him running the show.

    This OL should be better after a full season together. If you think of the first few weeks compared to the last few it's a huge difference. Being together game in game out, season in season out.. it makes a huge difference. Kyle Long is having a hell of an offseason I hear just always at Halas Hall working.. I think he could be first team Pro Bowler this year rather than a reserve who gets in because people dropped out. I think we'll be a lot better and even Forte stands a chance at having a better year than the prior. Like Cutty said, it'll take 3+ years to be truly comfortable in this offense so we haven't even seen them at their best yet. That's crazy to think about.

    This defense has the potential to be good-great and this offense can be one of the very best in the NFL. The special teams was lacking in punting and we've beefed that up. We've gotten some playmaking ST players who'll make it hell for returners we face. This whole team should be better. Exciting time to be a Bears fan.
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  4. Ski-Whiz

    Ski-Whiz George Halas Staff Member

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    One thing that is for sure, Cutler is in the position to be the Mayor of Chicago or the guy who will be RUN OUT OF CHICAGO if he doesn't deliver.

    The tools are all set up for this offense to be spectacular. Will he deliver or fumble?
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  5. Chicago_66

    Chicago_66 Veteran

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    Or fumble? Gives me flashbacks of Grossman with that phrase.
  6. BSBEARS

    BSBEARS Pro-Bowler

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    As long as the line holds up should be a good year. I suspect in year 2 of offense and Trestman's coaching Cutty will be able to get rid of the ball quicker and not hold on to it as often which should cut down the chance for injury and probably raise his effectiveness in this offense with shorter to mid range passes, couple shots down the field to keep the defense from sneaking up to the line and the RB's should be able to grab some yards too. Really looking forward to seeing how Cutler improves on his decisions and getting rid of the ball.
  7. Ski-Whiz

    Ski-Whiz George Halas Staff Member

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    Good ole Rex!!!
  8. Chicago_66

    Chicago_66 Veteran

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    I think being in Trest's system for the second straight year is beyond valuable, it's his first time since what? 2011? This is the best set of players he's ever been around and his first time going more than 1 year in a system in waay too long. I agree with you, if the line holds up this year should be good. Last year he was having his best statistical year since the Broncos or it might even have been better, I think this year we'll see even more improvements. Last year at this time they were just getting a peek at their playbooks, now they're pretty well versed in the system. It should be fun to watch providing there's not too many key injuries.
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  9. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I'm not hearing anything about Terence Toliver, the 6'5" practice squad guy. I realize he was already a long shot. But he's not even getting mentioned in any of these WR articles. That can't be good for him making the team this year. I was sure hoping he'd take another step this year and make the team. He's a fast guy for a big guy......Brandon Marshall speed but an inch taller.
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  10. BearJim

    BearJim Veteran SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Yeah 99, I thought he looked good last preseason. I was hoping he would go train with Marshall & the boys in Florida because for his height he is build kinda thin. Ya never know, he could be one of the stars of training camp. OTAs & TC can't get here soon enough.

    Are you & your son going to TC this year?
  11. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Well the media isn't saying anything about him but that doesn't mean the coaching staff isn't aware of his potential. With Marshall as the only long term vet it just made good sense to bring in a couple of others who've been around for awhile and have proven to be dependable options as #3 type guys.

    I'd love to see Wilson take charge of that #3 spot and I'd love to see another young guy like Tolliver come in as a #4 guy and learn all of the receiver positions so he could back up at any spot. These are they guys along with Jeffery who have the high ceilings but Hixon and Morgan are known quantities so Tolliver is gonna have to work his tail off to beat one of them out.

    Unless for some reason Wilson falls flat on his face or there's an injury it should be him at #3 along with Marshall and Jeffery. Even if he doesn't lock it up I don't see any way they'll let him go so then it's Tolliver along with Hixon and Morgan in the running for the fourth spot. Williams is most likely a lock too based solely on his potential as a return guy. That's five WRs and maybe a sixth but I think I'd rather see more depth in other areas than to carry six WRs.

    These younger guys have a huge advantage having Marshall to work with in the offseason. If they all respond as well as Jeffery did our problems at WR will be over for a very long time. The Bears with one of the top receiver cores in the NFL? Imagine that!!
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  12. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Yes, we're planning on it. We have some guys here who make the pilgrimage every year. We started when my son was a little guy. He's in college now.....but we still go with the same guys as when they were little. Everyone will be home from college during the training camp.
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  13. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Pictures......we need pictures and lots of them. Also a few personal interviews with the coaching staff would be nice and a couple of autographed footballs and jerseys and maybe a helmet or two and uh lets see what else..........

    Oh yeah, some of those pain killers the '85 guys say the trainers hand out in the plain unmarked envelopes. My back has been bothering me lately so I may need a few. Those last treatments by my massage therapist were a little tough on the old spine. :10 1 132[1]:
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  14. BearJim

    BearJim Veteran SuperFan DBS Writer

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    99, I agree with Soul, many pictures please. Seriously, keep us informed as time allows & above all have a good time bro'.
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  15. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    Wondering the same thing myself. Did Tolliver train at camp Marshall? I'm still bummed we lost Joe Anderson. I think he'll make an impact with the Eagles.
  16. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I wondered the same thing. I Googled everything I could find regarding the players who trained there with Marshall, and didn't find anything mentioning Toliver. I realize that he may have been there, but simply wasn't mentioned because he isn't a "name" player most folks know or care about, since he wasn't drafted. I hope he attended. If I were trying to make in in the NFL as a young undrafted kid, I'd be BEGGING to go down to train with the guys in Florida. I'd walk there if I had to on hot burning coals.

    But maybe not everyone was allowed to come. Heck, I don't know. But I did wonder the same thing SFB.

    BTW, the reason I'm enamored with Toliver is because he's not just tall, he's got some speed too. To have a guy who's an inch taller than Brandon Marshall, who possesses his speed too, would be pretty nice to have on the team. The only downside I see in the guy is that he needed to develop his body (he looked on the thin side, needing more muscle mass added).

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