I know, I know… will we even have a SEASON, let alone a training camp…but let’s just go along with the assumption that it will happen…
With the Bears “expected” to be at Training Camp at the end of July, there are a few things Bears fans will be excited to see. One of them will be how the offense will improve, specifically the passing game. Everyone knows the Bears have had some major struggles on offense recently and WR play is a huge part of that. Allen Robinson is obviously at the top of the depth chart, but the rest of the WR pecking order is wide open. Especially after the Bears released Taylor Gabriel earlier this off-season.
Let’s look at who’s on this roster:
The clear top dog on the roster. Not much to say about his contribution to the team. Dude is a stud.
You would think that Anthony Miller would be the clear-cut No. 2, and he probably will be, but he has had issues in the past regarding route running, penalties, and injuries. His route running has definitely had an effect on Trubisky’s accuracy (lord knows the quarterback situation needs all the help they can get), and penalties have hurt the team, but I think injuries are a huge concern at this point.
He’s played through a lot, but someone who’s healthy and not needing to take plays off could be a better fit. Miller did have better numbers in his second season (aside from TD production) than he did his rookie year which is what you want to see, but I can’t help but feel like he took a step backward. The highlights for him this past season that stick out to me were costly penalties, bad route running, and a drop in TD production. Didn’t exactly blow the doors off after Taylor Gabriel missed basically 9 games either, so I’m not convinced he can carry the burden of that No. 2 role.
Ted Ginn Jr.
This guy isn’t going to play every down and he’ll most likely only be in town for one year. He was brought in for his speed and special plays, not to be an every-down wide receiver. The vet has the experience though. If the other guys aren’t working out, he could end up playing a larger role than anyone is anticipating. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that point.
I’m not sure what to make of this guy, but the Bears did take him in the 4th round of the 2019 draft. He only played in 5 games last season and was often just flat out inactive. For all the struggles the Bears had last season and everyone knowing the team wasn’t good enough to make the playoffs, it was surprising he didn’t get more of an opportunity. All that being said, should Anthony Miller still continue to struggle, he would be a good candidate, being paid 4th round pick money, to slot right in there. This training camp will be the opportunity to prove he’s ready after his training camp last year was cut short by a hamstring injury. Those could be nagging and might be the reason he never really got it going last year.
Another Georgia Bulldog. Wims has been around the Bears’ organization for a couple years now, and has shown a bit of promise in both preseason and regular season games, but hasn’t done enough to get a consistent role. In 2019, he did appear in all 16 games, but that only turned into 18 receptions and 1 TD. Although only seeing limited action, the Bears apparently see enough in the young wide receiver to keep him around. For some reason, I’ve had a ton of faith in this guy and was excited when he ended up on the Bears. He was the best wide receiver on that 2017 Georgia team that won the SEC and made it to the Championship game only to lose to Alabama in OT. Mix in the talent with his size at 6-foot-2 and 220lbs and he seems like he could really make some noise.
The Bears’ 2020 5th round pick is coming out of college with a reputation of running good routes and running them fast. He ran a 4.38 sec 40-yard dash at the combine, and his reputation has earned him a speedy rating in Madden 21 this year. It’s hard to imagine Mooney gaining a lot of reps once the season starts and the wide receiver he might most threaten for snaps is Ted Ginn Jr. who’s somewhat of a specialist anyway. However, the rookie excels at something that we’ve seen Anthony Miller struggle with… route running. If the Bears’ coaching staff’s patience runs thin, the rookie could be thrust into a bigger role. Some of these guys ahead of him on the depth chart don’t exactly have a ton of leverage or a case to keep their job having not really produced in their young careers, so stay tuned.
The reason I didn’t list Patterson towards the top up there is that Patterson hasn’t had a prominent role as strictly a wide receiver this far in his 7-year career, so I don’t think we can expect that to start now. We’ll continue to see him primarily in the backfield, the return game, and the gadget plays. He’s a good player, but won’t be starting opposite of A-Rob anytime soon.
Reggie Davis and Trevor Davis
Reggie is a rookie out of Georgia (what is with Pace and Georgia by the way?) who didn’t really even do much with his time at Georgia, so we shouldn’t expect a whole lot out of him. At most he’ll be a practice squad guy. Trevor on the other hand, has some NFL experience in Green Bay and Oakland, mostly in the kick return game. He won’t overtake Cohen or Patterson in the return game, but he might be a candidate for special teams that can actually function as a wide receiver or kick returner in an emergency.
There’s a ton of opportunity coming up for the young guys on this roster to really take the reigns and cement themselves as someone who helps carry this team. While I’d love to validate my feeling of Wims becoming a good wide receiver, I think Ridley is the guy that poses the most threat to Miller’s playing time and becoming a big part of the offense. We’ll get our answers soon enough when both training camp and the preseason starts…if we have them.
What do you think the Bears’ depth chart should look like? Do you have faith in Miller as a #2? Comment below and let us know what you think.