Can Bears Solve Their Wide Receiver Quandary?

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For the Chicago Bears it’s a new season filled with the same old same calamities. The Wide receiver many thought to be a team weakness and very nondescript just became more weakened and nondescript. After suffering a huge blow in the Bears 3rd preseason game against the Tennessee Titans when ascending talent Cameron Meredith suffered an ACL tear and was lost for the 2017 season, the challenge was passed onto snake bitten Ryan Pace’s first top 10 draft pick Kevin White to finally stand up and show he could be the team’s number Wide Receiver. Unfortunately, that will not happen due to White suffering a possible season ending broken shoulder blade. The best case scenario is

Unfortunately, that will not happen due to White suffering a possible season ending broken shoulder blade. The best case scenario is he is out 8 weeks and comes off IR and plays the remaining 7 games. The consensus opinion is this may be the last time you see Kevin White in  Bears Uniform. He will still be under contract so he will have a chance to compete for a spot in next years camp so you never know. The big picture for the Bears is they will likely invest heavily in the off season at the Wide Receiver position so the odds are against White. Now in the short term, the Bears will now turn every stone in search of an answer at the wide receiver position.



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STREET FREE AGENTS:

This time of year finding a legitimate coverage dictating receiver even on the smallest level is going to be as easy as finding a needle in a stack of needles. However, there are some neon glowing red needles amongst the pile of glistening chrome ones that may make it easier for them to be found.

One very interesting name is former LSU Wide Receiver, Malachi Dupre. He was cut by the Green Bay Packers after suffering a very serious concussion in game 2 of the preseason, so that has to be it concerning and in need of proper due diligence. However, if he checks out medically it could be something worthy of investigation. The concussion made him play catch up and not able to win a spot on a very talented group of Wide Outs who have been groomed and developed by one of the best developmental staffs in all of the NFL. Quite frankly, I was surprised to see that he was still out there just as I was surprised to see him fall in the 7th round. It’s a pretty good sign seeing that he was picked by a team that has an eye for talent and especially so at the Wide receiver position. May be worth a look.

Another name that caught my eye was Bug Howard. Howard is a big receiver who was a special teams demon for North Carolina and oh, by the way, is Mitch Trubisky’s former teammate. Think they may have some chemistry left with each other? Also of note, Howard adds an extra value as a special teamer which is why I am the most surprised he’s still out there.

This is an extreme long shot, especially with this regime who puts a heavy premium on a player’s love for the game and a 24/7 365 days a year dedication to their craft. Something Dorial Green-Beckham has never been accused of since being drafted. He has had all kinds of issues at Missouri including being accused of pushing a female student down a flight of stairs. However, if he ever did get his head out of his ass and showed he was a changed human being with the work ethic to match he could be a pretty dangerous weapon in anyone’s offense.

If the Bears do pick up a Free Agent it’s more likely they’ll bring in someone who has been with the team before and knows the system a bit. Getting a Wide Receiver up to speed on the offense can be a lengthy project. So don’t be surprised if you see the return of names like Titus Davis, Daniel Braverman, maybe even Marquese Wilson or Victor Cruz. Marc Mariani anyone?



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PILLAGING OTHER TEAMS PRACTICE SQUADS:

Another option is to offer a contract to another team’s practice squad player(s). The Bears are also bound to include said player(s) to their 53 man roster and are not allowed to use them as developmental practice squad players. There are other rules as well, but I’ll leave a link for those who are more curious about the rules. Here is the NFL CBA link It’s under article 33. 

Some interesting names to consider on other people’s practice squads are Chargers Artavis Scott, Jaguars Amba-Etta-Tawo, Jets Damore’ea Stringfellow, and Packers DeAngelo Yancey. Scott played opposite Mike Williams of Clemson and if anything knows how to catch passes without the best ball placement as that was not DeShaun Watson’s forte nor is it Glennon’s. Tawo was Syracuse’s big play target catching passes from NFL Quarterback prospect Eric Dungey at Syracuse and was extremely productive. Also, has a very interesting skill set as you can see by his combine numbers on the link I included. Stringfellow is another big bodied downfield Receiver who can make catches in the spectacular fashion. He’s ironically comped to Tre McBride who the Bears actually picked up from the roster cut downs after the final Preseason games and is on the 53 man roster. Yancey is probably most interesting because of what team believes in him. He’s a big downfield high pointer with some speed. Something the Bears could use on their team. Maybe not now but certainly when the Bears finally insert Mitch Trubisky. He played and produced in the Big Ten which means he’s used to the bright lights and playing against big time NFL talent.



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HELP FROM WITHIN:

This is the most likely way the Bears address their Wide Receiver issue. The obvious promotion of Tanner Gentry probably is first on the list of roster additions. He knows enough of the offense to be able to come in cold and make plays. He also offers a downfield threat. The other options are just having their current guys step up and develop. In particularly Deonte Thompson who possess’ nice speed and can get in and out of breaks well. The other is Josh Bellamy. Looks like he has improved hands. Sure, he dropped a possible diving catch for a game tying Touchdown this past Sunday but he was blatantly held on the egregious no call by the refs. As mentioned briefly earlier in my piece the Bears also have Tre McBride on the roster and is a very interesting prospect. It’s clear the Bears plan on getting him involved once they feel he’s up to speed with the offense, verbiage and sight adjustments. There are no superstars out there to be had. Not in a trade either. Trades this time of year in the NFL just don’t happen and no one appears to be on the block at the moment. Like it or not this is it.

update:

As I mentioned earlier the Bears were most likely to promote Tanner Gentry and that is indeed what happened. They also made a corresponding move replacing Gentry on the practice squad with Mario Alford who was in for a work earlier last week after Meredith was lost for the season. First reported earlier by Brad Biggs Bears beat writer for the Chicago Tribune.

are expected to sign WR Mario Alford, who was in for a tryout last Tuesday, to the practice squad.

 

3 thoughts on “Can Bears Solve Their Wide Receiver Quandary?

  1. Good analysis. Sad to see these injuries to both Cam Meredith and Kevin White. I love Tanner Gentry and think he deserves a shot. I like your idea about Malachi Dupre and maybe going back to Marquess Wilson. I have another name…..Jordan Westerkamp. Westerkamp is more of a slot receiver though and it looks like the Bears probably need a wide out who can stretch the field. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes exactly! I was thinking more in line to guys who can stretch the field. Good news is Gentry appears to be a guy who has a knack for getting behind defenses despite not being a blazing speed guy with a 4.51 40 at his pro day. Also, Tre McBride has 4.41 speed and just like Gentry is a guy who can make acrobatic catches in traffic, is fearless in the middle of the field, and has plus hands. His issue as observed by some is he doesn’t seem to play up to that speed on the field. We’ll soon see though as he obviously is in the short term plans eating up a valuable roster spot. IMO this all gets better when Trubisky is inserted as he seems like he does a better job going through his progressions and is more accurate not to mention the playbook will expand as he can execute more boots and waggles and Glennon can not. Thanks for reading and the compliment. Much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Also, the TE’s and backs will be a part of the short passing packaged plays. They need guys who can be big downfield. At least the threat of it. Or else those short passes the Bears will be running with Mike Glennon will be flooded by defenders in zones and tighten up those passing windows and Glennon doesn’t have the arm strength or accuracy to make those throws. Let’s not forget teams will be expecting a heavy dose of run plays and will be near the line of scrimmage as it is.

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