Chicago Bears 2013 Position Battles: Wide Receiver

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by riczaj01, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    http://www.windycitygridiron.com/20...-position-battles-wide-receiver-roster-bubble


    Chicago Bears 2013 Position Battles: Wide Receiver
    By Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.@wiltfongjr on Jul 30 2013, 10:00a +

    Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
    Stay connected for news and updates Follow @WindyCGridiron
    While the players battle it out in Training Camp for a spot on the final 53 man roster, we'll take a position by position look at the Chicago Bears in this ongoing series. Next up the wide receivers.
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    There's a lot to be excited about for the passing game of the Chicago Bears in 2013. Head Coach Marc Trestman is bringing his West Coast Offense and his quarterback whispering skills to a team that has struggled when the ball was in flight. Trestman has been tasked with bringing the Bears offense into the new millennium, and new wide receivers coach Mike Groh will need to get his players to mesh with the offense.
    Jay Cutler is obviously the trigger man, but the wide outs will need to be on their game in order for the offense to truly flow. Luckily for the Bears, they have one of the very best to ever play the position.
    Roster Locks
    Brandon Marshall will hold every receiving record in Chicago franchise when he's done, and he'll be mentioned with the all time greats. He brings such a presence to the field, and just by lining up, he creates so many mismatch problems for a defense.
    As excited that I am to see Marshall play in the new offense, I'm more excited to see the development of second year man Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery flashed some serious skills last year, but his rookie mistakes really hurt him. He's in great shape after working out with Marshall in the off season, and I expect him to go over 50 receptions, and be a serious red zone threat.
    Earl Bennett had to work through some injuries in 2011 and 2012, but his rapport with Jay Cutler is still there. He averaged 50 receptions and 639 yards in '09 and '10, and with him solely focused on the slot, I see a very productive 2013 campaign in his future.
    The top three players on the Bears depth chart seem set in stone, but behind them things could get interesting. It could come down to nine players battling it out for two spots.
    A good bet to make it
    I thought Joe Anderson did some nice things last year as a special teamer once he had an opportunity, and early word from camp this year has him standing out as a receiver. Anderson will probably still need to be more than just a wide out to ensure his chance at sticking, but I've seen flashes from him that make me believe he could be an NFL receiver.
    More from WCG: Joe Anderson Making the Most of Opportunities
    On the Bubble
    Anderson's main competition may come from Eric Weems, who has plenty of experience covering kicks, but he can also return them. If Anderson can essentially replace what Weems can bring to the team, then Weems is on the bubble. But if Anderson struggles on special teams then look for Weems to find his way on the 2013 roster. I suppose there is a chance the Bears keep both Weems and Anderson, but I think that would be kind of redundant.
    I think the Bears will carry at least five receivers, and with Marshall, Jeffery, Bennett, and Anderson/Weems, that leaves room for only one other bubble guy to make his dreams come true.
    Devin Aromashodu will probably look good in camp and in preseason, but I don't think he'll get the benefit of the doubt over the younger receivers unless he really stands out. DA will have to severely distance himself from the youngsters if he wants to make the team.
    I believe seventh round draft pick Marquess Wilson will be given every opportunity to make the active roster. The early entrant to the NFL draft was one of the top wide outs in his class, and had it not been for his college troubles, he could have had some buzz surrounding him in the 2014 draft. So far he's stood out in camp on a few occasions.
    More From WCG: Bears Playbook - Marquess Wilson's West Coast Style
    The 6'5" Terrence Toliver could be a match-up problem for shorter corners, and he may stand out playing against third and fourth stringers once preseason kicks off. I can see him getting the Brandon Rideau Award, but ultimately being cut.
    Brittan Golden is on his second stint with the Bears so he has that going for him.
    Jerrell Jackson has some physical tools -- 22 bench reps, 4.5 forty, 41' vertical leap -- that he could parlay into a special teams role, but he's a long shot to make the final roster.
    As undrafted free agents, Marcus Rucker and Josh Lenz will really have to stand out to even win a job on the practice squad.
    Look for all these bubble guys to have plenty of chances in the preseason games, and expect at least one of them to find a job on the practice squad.
    The Hester effect
    A player we haven't mentioned, but could impact the amount of WRs the Bears keep, is return specialist Devin Hester. If Hester is performing at a ridiculous level during camp and the preseason games, he's a sure fire lock for the final 53, he's probably a lock regardless, but we'll get into that more in the specialists position battles post. Hester on the team could alter how many receivers the Bears break camp with.
    If Devin is truly covering punts, and playing a bigger special teams role, then the Bears could get by with just keeping one wide out that can double as a special teams ace. If Devin is just a returner, the Bears may need to keep an extra WR that can play the 3rd phase too.
    I also wouldn't rule out a visionary offensive mind like Trestman's finding a way to get #23 involved in the offense. It could happen...
    My early prediction for the final 53 man roster has five WRs; Marshall, Jeffery, Bennett, Anderson, and Wilson, with Hester sticking around too. Depending on the plans for the fullback position, the Bears may have an extra spot to play with, and a 6th receiver could make it over a FB.
    What do you think the Bears do at wide out? Four, five, six? And will Hester ever see the offense again?


    I keep hearing people say that Hester will replace one of the WR's, but what if he holds a different spot, a backup RB spot, or a DB spot on the roster and they keep 6 WR's? It's possible, there is nothing that says he'll take one of the WR slots. That is closed box thinking that I don't think Emery or Trestman will hold too.
  2. JJ-30

    JJ-30 Veteran

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    I can see all five of these WRs; Marshall, Jeffery, Bennett, Anderson, and Wilson making the team as of right now. Weems might get pushed out on ST by Anderson with Wilson being our #4 WR.
  3. Grizzblue

    Grizzblue Pro-Bowler

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    I could very well see it going something like this.

    1.Bmarsh
    2.AJ
    3.Anderson (no not a typo)
    4.Bennett (for the 4 or so games hes not hurt)
    5.Wilson (will get some time when Bennett goes down)
  4. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Wilson has looked good before the pads went on, but most reports said he didn't have enough upper body strength to play on Sundays yet. I think you'll see Wilson either barely make it or find himself "hurt" and put on IR for the year; I'd say PS but I don't think he'd last there.

    I could be wrong, if Wilson shows he could do something like KR/PR duties then he might well take that 5th spot. But ya Anderson is looking that impressive right now.
  5. omc1969

    omc1969 Veteran

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    I think they see Wilson as a diamond in the rough but they will have to keep him on the active roster bc he won't last on the P.S. Some other team will sign him for sure.
  6. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    Right on, Ric. Wilson won't last long on the PS (Philly sign him?) so there has to be another plan.
    Either he squeaks in as the 5th WR or, if he needs a year to bulk up, he gets the "Lovie Redshirt". You know, where he gets mysteriously "injured" right around the time of final cuts and can sit the year out safe from being pilfered by another team.
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  7. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    Lovie always did love the color red ever since they let him throw the flag... Would actually be a good move in this instance though...
  8. Grizzblue

    Grizzblue Pro-Bowler

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    I think that he will end up on the roster as our 5th man. I could see the "redshirt" year, but I think that if he can show any signs of being able to do us any good he will be dressed. I could see Wilson being able to make some kind of contribution on ST and could find a way to catch a few balls on Sundays. I'm not expecting more than 10-20 catches from him, but if he can run decent routes and Gogh can really work on overcoming his strength with solid technique on getting off a jam, then I don't see why we would even gamble with putting him on the PS. I strongly feel that you are right, if we try to move him to PS he will be snagged and we may live to regret that.
  9. Mr. Deliverance

    Mr. Deliverance Guest

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    I think too much is made about Wilson's strength. Last time I checked a lot of the Bears receiver issues were staying healthy and actually holding on to the ball. Wilson is a guy they ned to lock onto the 53man roster. He's an intriguing talent and you can't take a risk with him on the PS. I personally think he'll show enough in the preseason to lock a spot down.
  10. Mr. Deliverance

    Mr. Deliverance Guest

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    I think too much is made about Wilson's strength. Last time I checked a lot of the Bears receiver issues were staying healthy and actually holding on to the ball. Wilson is a guy they need to lock onto the 53man roster. He's an intriguing talent and you can't take a risk with him on the PS. I personally think he'll show enough in the preseason to lock a spot down.
  11. Grizzblue

    Grizzblue Pro-Bowler

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    Well the upper body strength doesn't really effect the guys chances of getting hurt, and isnt a big factor factor in holding on to the ball. Where it may hurt him is his ability to get off the line against press coverage, and or create separation downfield. If he can get off a jam, then I think that there is no reason he wont be on the 53 man roster. Yes, the elite WR need to possess the strength to make the superstar plays (going up in traffic to get a ball and possibly take it away from a defender) we won't be asking Wilson to do this. What we will ask him if he makes the roster and sees some snaps is to just simply be an option, run solid routes, and if hes open make a catch. I would be more concerned with his ability to run the right routes and learn the playbook way before I want to know what his bench press is. In that sense, I agree with you that a bit too much is being made about his upper body strength.
  12. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Grizz, and most rookie wr's struggle to do just that, learn the playbook, and now the Bears playbook is huge. And he will struggle to get off the line and gain separation from NFL CB's if he's not strong enough.
  13. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    No one in their right mind thinks Wilson is going to do anything significant this year. He has upside but needs to learn and bulk up a bit. He's a year away from a chance at contributing.

    Question is....is his potential great enough to "protect" him from being poached from a PS spot? If not for the run-in with dickhead Leach, he was thought of as a projected 2nd-3rd round talent. So we got a good value for him in the 7th since his behavioral concerns seem confined to one particular coach from the past. The choices are either put him on the 53 man roster as a #5 (prob inactive most games of the year) or give him the faux "injury redshirt". I don't think he will last long on the PS and we will lose him.
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  14. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    I agree MP, he won't last on the PS, I see a Faux injury, unless he shows he can contribute on ST's as a KR/PR.
  15. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    Good point, Ric. Maybe he earns a roster spot if he can backup Hester. Otherwise, fake an injury. Because he's the type of sleeper talent that teams like New England/Green Bay/New Orleans could poach and turn into something in a year or two.
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  16. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    If Wilson is anything then he should be "redshirted" like Melton was back in the day. I know there has been a lot of fuss made about him on the old board but he needs to get stronger and learn the playbook period. With that said anyone with some height, hands, and some up's not being coached up by Drake is fine by me.
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  17. motownbear

    motownbear derp daderp daderpidity derp Staff Member Staff Member

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    the bright side here is when was the last time as fans we have been this intrigued by all the receiving options on offense? What the Booker-Robinson connection lol wow. In just two offseasons I cant complain about wr or te. I can still complain about other crap though lol
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  18. JJ-30

    JJ-30 Veteran

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    How many of us sitting here would have thought two or three years ago that today we would be talking about not a #1 or #2 or even a #3 WR that might make the team but a #4 or #5 guy and we are more then happy to read about it.
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  19. BearJim

    BearJim Veteran SuperFan DBS Writer

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    The coolest thing about it is since our top 3 WRs are pretty much set the young guys will get a lot of work in the preseason games. It's going to be a fun preseason to see how this plays out.
  20. Mr. Deliverance

    Mr. Deliverance Guest

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    All legitimate points Grizz.

    I will take a wait and see approach and see exactly what his game looks like in preseason though. As much as I like Bennett, he just continues to have too many injury issues. We need someone from this draft class to really come in and provide a boost. I can't just chalk Wilson off tot he PS. Weems is not a good WR option. Neither is Hester, of course. And Anderson...well...he's unproven of course.

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