As we count down the final days to the start of Chicago Bears training camp, we’re doing a preview of all of the position groups. We’ll look at our projected starters, key backups, training camp battles as we review the additions and subtractions to the Bears roster over the offseason.
TODAY’S POSITION: WIDE RECEIVERS
Key Departures: Earl Bennett
Expectations are through the roof for the Bears wide receivers. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery form arguably the best WR duo in the NFL. Marshall had 100 catches for 1295 yards and 12 TD’s while breakout star Alshon Jeffery burst onto the national scene with 89 catches for 1421 yards and 7 TD’s. Did you ever think you’d live to see the day the Bears would have the best wide receivers in the league? We’ve come a long way from Jerry Angelo telling us Devin Hester was a #1 wide receiver or Mike Martz projecting 100 catches for Roy Williams.
Behind Marshall and Jeffery, things get a little dicey. Former Cutler favorite Earl Bennett is gone, refusing a pay cut before hitting the streets. After a cup of coffee, almost literally, he’s back on the street. Could he make another comeback for the veteran minimum? A lot will depend on things shake out at camp. Second year receiver Marquess Wilson is expected to emerge as the third wide receiver, but the former 7th round pick won’t just be handed the job.
Special teams ace Eric Weems will look to secure a roster spot as a reserve wide receiver, but we know he’s not contributing much in the passing game, having just one catch for 8 yards last season.
There are a lot of fresh faces rounding out the back end of the Bears wide receiver group heading to Bourbonnais. The most notable is veteran Josh Morgan, who should be able to grab one of the coveted spots. Morgan should be able to fit the bill as a possession receiver, but isn’t much of a downfield threat. The 7-year veteran was with the Redskins the last couple of seasons, catching 20 balls for 214 yards last season. His experience should give him an edge to get a spot, as long as he can stay out of trouble off the field.
Former Canadian league return specialist Chris Williams is probably the frontrunner to grab the kick return job, but will have to hold off veterans Michael Spurlock and Armanti Edwards to earn a roster spot. Williams may have an edge to get a roster spot because he might have potential to contribute out of the slot on offense. Youngsters Terrence Toliver and Josh Bellamy will have an uphill climb to get a roster spot.