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That brings me to Zach Miller who checks all of those boxes. The Bears just re-signed Miller to a one year deal which came as a surprise to some because the one box Miller hasn’t been able to check is health. He hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2011 due to injuries, but he has all the tools teams look for in a Move TE.
Miller is 6’5, 236 pounds which is just about ideal size for the Move TE position (maybe a little light). Coming out of college Miller ran a 4.56 40-time which is elite tight end speed and more than fast enough to be a deep threat in the seam. Bears fans haven’t seen much of Miller, but there was a play in week 1 of the preseason last year where he caught a screen pass then broke 2 tackles and juked another defender on his way to a 17-yard play. Miller showed the toughness to break tackles, the agility to elude defenders, and the talent to gain yards after the catch. Lastly, Miller was a quarterback in college (Nebraska-Omaha) so should have the intelligence to understand offensive schemes and the ability to read defenses and make route adjustments as needed.
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We saw a glimpse of Miller’s talent as a Move TE in the Bears first preseason game against the Eagles last season when he had 6 catches for 68 yards and 2 TDs. The talent is there for Miller to be an ideal Move TE, he just needs to stay healthy.
It’s not the same recurring injury or a degenerative problem that keeps sidelining Miller, it’s been a combination of freak injuries and bad luck. In 2011 Saints S Roman Harper undercut Miller and he separated his shoulder on the landing. In 2012 he tore his Achilles tendon and calf muscle on the same play. In 2013 Miller had concussion related symptoms and then last year after his break out game in the preseason, he tore a ligament in his foot.
Miller’s injury history is troubling, but what could go wrong next? As Miller said himself in a recent interview, he is due some injury luck. There is little doubt that the talent is there for him to be an asset as a Move TE. The only doubt is whether Miller can stay healthy, but if he gets hurt again it will cost the Bears less than a million this year so there is no real risk in rolling the dice with such a talented player. If the stars align and Miller stays healthy, then we could see a breakout season. A healthy combination of Martellus Bennett and Zach Miller could give the Bears the dynamic TE combo they have been looking for the last few years and significantly improve the Bears offense in 2015.