Marquess Wilson has his eyes on Bears' No. 3 receiver spot

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by short faced bear, Jun 7, 2014.

  1. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach
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    Second-year pro has been working out with Marshall, Jeffery in hopes of grabbing vacant job

    By Rich Campbell, Tribune reporter

    3:38 p.m. CDT, June 7, 2014

    More than three months remain before the Bears' regular season starts, so Marquess Wilson's status as the third receiver on the depth chart represents an opportunity more than it does reality. But he can solidify that role with more catches like the one he made during team drills Tuesday.

    The second-year pro cut sharply toward the left sideline and used his frame to shield cornerback Kelvin Hayden. Quarterback Jay Cutler led Wilson away from Hayden with a low throw toward the sideline. Wilson lunged and hauled in the pass for a 15-yard gain as he went to the ground.

    The play showcased qualities the Bears seek from Wilson as the front-runner in their No. 3 receiver competition: body control, strength, precise timing and sure hands.

    And now that Wilson has built on his rookie experiences by training for more than two months this offseason with Pro Bowl teammates Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, he expects to make similar plays consistently and to win the job this summer.

    "Going out there with Brandon and Alshon, seeing how they worked and them showing me the way, how to be a pro, and taking me under their wing … was an eye-opening thing," Wilson said.

    Trace the origins of Jeffery's breakout 2013 in his second NFL season, and it's clear why optimism surrounds Wilson.

    Last winter, Marshall invited Jeffery to train with him at Fit Speed Athletic Performance, the South Florida facility Marshall co-owns. This winter, Marshall extended the same invitation to Wilson, who knew he would be a fool to decline it. Jeffery also trained there again.

    But it's ambitious to expect Wilson to emerge as the same caliber of weapon Jeffery became last season. After all, they have different pedigrees and builds.

    Jeffery was a second-round draft pick. Wilson was selected in the seventh.

    Jeffery had 24 catches for 367 yards as a rookie. Wilson had two for 13.

    Jeffery is 6-foot-4 with 33-inch arms. Wilson is 6-3 with a 31 1/8 -inch reach.

    However, the Bears believe in Wilson enough that they released Earl Bennett, last year's third receiver, in a salary-related move in March.

    One reason for that faith is Wilson's natural stride, something Fit Speed director and co-owner Matt Gates lauded after his work with Wilson this winter. Gates focused on Wilson's first-step explosion and getting him to top speed as quickly as possible after the snap.

    "It's a matter of getting your body comfortable being in uncomfortable positions, basically," Gates said. "Gravity wants you to stand up so you don't fall on your face, but we've got to teach these guys to keep that chest down and get their feet placed in the correct contact with the ground every time. If we can do little tweaks like that, your first-step explosion is going to get better just by fixing those technique things."

    Wilson arrived in South Florida near the start of February. As an unproven player, he didn't face the travel and time demands Marshall does. That enabled him to settle in and attack his training program.

    The Bears wanted Wilson to get stronger and add weight. He said Tuesday he weighs 207 pounds after weighing 194 at the scouting combine in February 2013.

    Wilson lifted weights five days a week. His strength program included multidirectional lunges and, for the upper body, multidirectional and explosive push-up-type exercises, Gates said.

    Throughout the program, Marshall and Jeffery motivated Wilson by example.

    "Just the time they put in in the weight room or going out on the field and running a few extra routes and getting the steps down," Wilson said. "I went out with them one time, I thought I was done, and they just kept going. They were like, 'Nah, we're going to get a few more.' So I strapped back up and just took on the work."

    In his quest to gain weight, Wilson didn't face the dietary restrictions and caloric limits Jeffery did a year ago when he tried to get leaner. As long as Wilson ate healthfully, he could create his own meals, Gates said.

    How Wilson's strength and weight gains affect his performance will be clearer during training camp, when players can wear shoulder pads and hit.

    Marshall and Jeffery are quality run blockers, and those contributions are a critical component of the Bears offense. Veteran Josh Morgan, who's competing with Wilson for the third receiver spot, has a similar track record. That area of Wilson's game, in particular, will be scrutinized.

    On one play at practice last month, rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller beat Wilson to the inside with a rip move and blew up the play behind the line of scrimmage. It was only one play in May without pads, but it served as a reminder of Wilson's remaining work.

    With that in mind, the Bears have not anointed Wilson as their third receiver. General manager Phil Emery, coach Marc Trestman and receivers coach Mike Groh have emphasized how Wilson has to earn his playing time.

    "He's had a good offseason," Emery said May 1. "His attitude has been fantastic. He's training like a pro. He's acting like a pro, and I expect him to come out and show his best side, and we'll see how it works out for him. But obviously, we've signed other receivers, and he's going to have to compete for his job."

    Wilson, at least, has made a positive impression on the receivers he looks up to.

    "Sky's the limit for him," Jeffery said. "We can't wait to see what he's got."

    Jeffery remembered how experience and training boosted his confidence entering his second season. Now, Wilson feels the same.

    He's scheduled to return to Fit Speed this month after the Bears' minicamp with his eyes on more catches like the one he made Tuesday.

    "If I know my role and I know the plays, I shouldn't feel pressure on myself," Wilson said. "I can't play with pressure. I've got to play with confidence. That's one mindset I've got to stand by."

    rcampbell@tribune.com


    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sport...ceiver-spt-0608-20140608,0,7372691,full.story
     
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  2. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    I know there are a lot feel-good camp-hero stories every year this time but damn it's hard not get excited about Wilson in this role. He saw what AJ did last year and it seems to made a huge impression on him. Can he get us 30-40 recs and 500 yards this year?
     
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  3. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas
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    Whoever our #3 is, as long as they have talent, should be able to put up great stats. With B-Marsh and Highlights out there... they should get some good time being uncovered
     
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  4. soulman

    soulman Hall of Famer
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    I don't see why not. He's another guy whose gonna be tough to cover because of his size and his speed plus he'll have Josh Morgan breathing down his neck in camp and preseason so he' ash to prove that he can be trusted and be productive in all phases of the offense. He's making a big jump this year.
     
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  5. BossK

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    I'm chubby. Straight up.

    Cannot wait for the season to get started; I am convinced that the offense will light it up even more than last year.
     
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  6. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    I'm trying to not get all giddy and over-optimistic about this but I agree that Wilson looks primed for big things.

    If the reports are true, he's bulked up from 194 (Combine) to 207. That seems like an ideal playing weight for WR who is 6' 2-3" tall and still fast. Marshall and Alshon appear to have had a tremendous mentoring effect on him and MW put in the offseason work down in Florida at Brandon's "WR training camp". What's not love there?

    Coming from Marshall, I take his words of "steal of the draft" a lot more seriously than I otherwise would. Marquess was widely thought of as a ~ 2nd round talent if not for the unfortunate end of his playing days at WSU. We now know those events seem to be have been much more about his asshole coach than about MW having some sort of behavioral problem. An amazing pickup by Phil in getting him in the 7th via a trade-down.

    3 WR options running 6' 2" or better? Maybe 4-5 depending on Morgan/Tolliver making the team? Remember not too long ago when we had Hester, Knox, and Rashied Davis out there? Holy shit, we have size, speed, hands, talent, and depth at WR (even after losing Hixon) that a couple years ago we didn't dare dream of.

    Going off Earl Bennett last season who had IIRC about 25 recs, 250 yards, and 3 TDs, Wilson should easily be able to improve on that in year 2 of the TCO. Wilson has size and speed that Earl lacked and he should have Cutler's confidence thanks to Marshall's work and vouching for him.

    Add in Forte and Black Uni and damn we should be beastly on O if we can stay fairly healthy. Opposing secondaries are going to have nightmares in coverage.
     
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  7. okay

    okay Rookie

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    Earl Bennett was faster than people give him credit for. Ran 4.48 at combine compared to Wilson's 4.51. And I thought he played fast too. Bennett also had Cutler's confidence and decent size at 6'1. Problem with Bennett was his injury history. Last season though he was healthy most games if I remember correctly but hardly saw the ball - I'm guessing it was because he was the 5th target on the list and they weren't trying to feed him the ball.

    Wilson does have the height/length advantage though, and I believe Wilson's biggest asset athletically has been his short area quickness. Watching his highlights I remember noticing him move really fluidly making sharp cuts. This is backed up by his 6.65 three cone time at the comebine, very impressive or a 6'3 guy. Hope he's maintained that quickness with the extra weight he's added.

    http://www.nfl.com/draft/2011/profiles/marquess-wilson?id=2540177
    http://www.nfl.com/combine/profiles/earl-bennett?id=733

    I am excited about Wilson but wouldn't expect too much production out of him if he is the 5th target like Earl was.
     
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  8. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Assistant Head Coach
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    If Wilson is the #3 guy, my hope is that he quickly gets ramped up so that if we lose Alshon or B.Marsh to injury, the season isn't over. Wilson plus the remaining guy (Alshon or B.Marsh) can be enough to keep the offense going. I realize it will be significantly diminished, but my gut feeling is that Wilson could be a better option than Earl B. if pressed into being one of our two main WR's due to an injury situation.
     
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  9. BSBEARS

    BSBEARS Pro-Bowler

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    I am not to worried about WR position. We have good depth there to cover a potential inj.
     
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  10. soulman

    soulman Hall of Famer
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    I had said in a previous post that I expect all three of the top WRs to be somewhat interchangeable as far as where they'll line up on certain plays. Wilson may still be preparing for that but Marshall can line up at all three spots and by now Jeffery can probably handle that too so if it all works out as planned when you add Bennett and Forte into the mix that a powerful bunch of pass catchers.

    I thought one huge step Wilson had to make this year was to add some weight and some muscle and if he's truly in that 205-210 range then he obviously has. The other key is to get him accustomed to his blocking assignments. Marshall absolutely excels at it and I don't think Jeffery is all that far behind him but all three need to be very good downfield blockers so that's something else he needs to pick up quickly.

    I think CWill is gonna end up making the roster because of his return skills and they'll use him as a #5 WR because of his big play possibilities so that leaves Tolliver and Morgan and maybe one or two others battling for the #4 spot. Morgan isn't a bad vet to have around either. He has decent size and he seems happy to be with the Bears now and out of Washington so altogether we should have a pretty strong group at WR.
     
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