Wyoming

Get your popcorn ready: The Mitch Trubisky-Tanner Gentry connection is back

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USA TODAY

Get your popcorn ready: The Mitch Trubisky-Tanner Gentry connection is back

It doesn't take a football expert to see that Bears rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky is limited when it comes to weapons in the passing game.

The Bears did something to patch up part of that problem on Wednesday.

In a move that likely should have been made before Trubisky's first career NFL start, the Bears promoted wide receiver Tanner Gentry to the 53-man roster.

Gentry, an undrafted free agent out of Wyoming, had a strong preseason and developed some chemistry with the Bears rookie quarterback. In four preseason contests, Gentry caught four receptions for 77 yards which included a 45-yard touchdown pass from Trubisky in a victory over the Titans.

Gentry, who was signed to the practice squad following the preseason, was on the Bears active roster in a Week 2 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gentry hauled in two passes for 27 yards and was placed on waivers and signed back to the practice squad shortly after.

To make rook for Gentry on the active roster, the Bears released wide receiver Deonte Thompson.

Thompson, who played the most snaps out of any wide receiver on the Bears through the first four games of the season, had 11 receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown in 2017.

Thompson played in 28 games across three seasons with the Bears and registered 35 receptions for 455 yards and three scores. Thompson also served as the Bears primary kickoff returner during that span.

The Bears also added linebacker Carl Bradford and wide receiver Darreus Rogers to their practice squad.

Bears training camp preview: 3 burning questions for the wide receivers

Bears training camp preview: 3 burning questions for the wide receivers

With training camp starting next week, CSN Chicago’s Chris Boden and JJ Stankevitz are looking at three burning questions for each of the Bears’ position groups heading into Bourbonnais. Wednesday's unit: the wide receivers.

1. Kevin White

Need we say more? Okay, we will. Or ... maybe not. You guys are already familiar with the career numbers for the 2015 seventh overall draft pick: Four games played. 28 games missed. 19 catches. 187 yards. Zero touchdowns. Two serious injuries and surgeries on his left fibula. Oh, and he’ll be working with three new quarterbacks and a third wide receivers coach in as many years. That. Is. A. Lot.

“It’s got to happen now,”  White said in June of a potential Bears career crossroads season. “I’ve got to turn it up. So to me, year three, it’s time.”

2. Who gets hot in the slot?

If Cam Meredith and White get through the preseason healthy (and with the Bears the past two seasons, a big “if”), the position battle turns to playing time in the slot, where Eddie Royal was supposed to be the answer in the Ryan Pace/John Fox regime. Ex-Pittsburgh Steeler Markus Wheaton was given the sweetest contract of a free agent trip (two years, $11 million, six million guaranteed) and has the most speed. Kendall Wright excelled with a 94-catch season with the Tennessee Titans under Dowell Loggains in 2013, until gradually sinking further into the doghouse. And Victor Cruz has the tape — two great seasons with the New York Giants. But the second of those was five years ago for the now-30-year-old, and he played a total of six games in injury-plagued 2014 and 2015 seasons. If this trio all proves something, and deserving of roster spots, that may only leave Josh Bellamy (who’s proven value on special teams) as the sixth receiver, along with White and Meredith.

"The more routes I run, the more I build a rapport with Mike [Glennon] and get myself out there learning the plays," Cruz said after his signing, "I think I have that potential to be the guy you saw a few years ago.

"We’ve got a lot of guys who are looking for opportunity," said Wheaton. "A lot of guys that are hungry and have something to prove."

3. An unexpected, immediate-impact surprise?

Deonte Thompson had 22 catches when pressed into action last season, and has a history with new wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni at Florida (2010), but now has competition after a year and a half as the primary kickoff returner. Rueben Randle had a 71-catch season three years ago with the Giants, helping them offset the loss of Cruz, but must overcome a “lazy” reputation after not hooking on with a team at all last season. Daniel Braverman was All-Bourbonnais a year ago, but the seventh-round rookie (and "future Wes Welker") got into only three December games, with zero catches. Wheaton-Warrenville South product Titus Davis (older brother of Titans' 2017 first-round pick Corey Davis) is only 24 and "retired" from New York Jets camp a year ago. A darkhorse (perhaps only for the practice squad) could be undrafted rookie Tanner Gentry, who has size (6-foot-2) and a catch radius after leading the NCAA with 49 deep target throws (22 receptions) from potential top 2018 draft pick Josh Allen at Wyoming last season.

Recruiting News and Notes: Samson Evans nearing college decision

Recruiting News and Notes: Samson Evans nearing college decision

Samson Evans (ATH), Prairie Ridge

Prairie Ridge three-star junior Samson Evans (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) is planning to announce his college decision soon.

"I'm planning to make my college decision soon," Evans said. "I'm just going to make my decision and put it out there. I'm not going to narrow anything down or name any favorites. It's easier that way and I just don't want any sort of drama."

Evans, who has a dozen scholarship offers, has made multiple visits to Iowa over the past year and is seen as a Hawkeyes lean. Evans' Prairie Ridge teammate, junior offensive guard Jeff Jenkins (6-foot-4, 280 pounds), pledged to the Hawkeyes in January. 

Addison West (OG), Cary-Grove

Cary-Grove sophomore offensive guard Addison West (6-foot-4, 275 pounds) recently added his first scholarship offer from Central Michigan. 

"The coach from Central Michigan was in my school on Monday," West said. "They watched one of our morning workouts and I was able to talk to the coaches later on and that's when they offered me."

West has seen a steady flow of college coaches at Cary-Grove this spring.

"We've seen a lot of college coaches in school so far this month," West said. "Penn State, Michigan State, Western Illinois and Illinois State have all been in school recently. The feedback from the coaches has been pretty positive. They all want me to come and camp with them this summer."

[MORE: 100 Days to Kickoff - Andrew]

Charlie Gross (OT), Loyola Academy

Loyola Academy junior offensive tackle Charlie Gross (6-foot-5, 280 pounds) has added several scholarship offers and strong Power 5 interest this spring.

"I have 13 scholarship offers now," Gross said. "Last week we had schools such as Penn State, Illinois, Boston College and several smaller level colleges watching our workouts. A lot of the coaches want me to come and camp with them this summer, including several Big ten schools."

Gross has also started to plan his summer camp travels.

"I'm going to the North Central College satellite camp, along with the Elmhurst college satellite camp," Gross said. "I'm still trying to sort it all out but I know I'll add a few more camps soon. Penn State, Illinois and Purdue all want me to camp so I might end up camping at those schools this summer."

Owen Goldsberry (QB), Hersey

Hersey junior quarterback Owen Goldsberry (6-foot-1, 195 pounds) has added five scholarship offers this spring, and continues to draw strong recruiting interest heading into the summer camp period.

"I have offers now from SIU, WIU, South Dakota, South Dakota State and Indiana State," Goldsberry said. "Lately, schools like NIU, Ohio, Wyoming and several other MAC schools have either been in school or they have reached out."

Goldsberry is set to take part in the Northwestern Showcase camp in early June and plans to schedule more camp dates.