In the Before Times, Anthony Miller was one of the best conversations in the Bears' locker room. 

Usually available and always engaging (which the 65-year old sportswriter in me thinks is maybe kind of related to having a locker close to Allen Robinson), Miller has typically been candid about what's been, objectively, a mercurial two season start to his NFL career.  There's been good, like the time when his 9-catch, 142 yard game helped the Bears go into Detroit and beat the Lions, on Thanksgiving, while getting back to .500, on three days rest:

“That’s what I was telling coach every time we ran off the field," he said. "Keeping throwing the ball, man. My receivers are going to make plays, I’m going to make plays, everybody’s going to make the plays for you ... I was just telling God, ‘Use me like you made me, you know what I mean? And he did, he came through for me.” 

And there's been bad, like the time his six-catch (11 targets), 54-yard performance against the Rams on Sunday night showcased his struggles as a route-runner. 

"I mean, we should have won the game," he said. "We made a lot of mistakes, a lot of execution mistakes. They didn’t do anything special. I think we are better than them, we are a better team, we just didn’t execute." 

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Miller's confidence and competitive spirit make up a lot of what the Bears like about him so much. He's indisputably the Bears' WR2. Last year, while getting roughly half the targets that Robinson got, Miller put up some surprisingly similar stats: 

2019 Yards Before Catch per Reception (YBC/R)
Robinson: 8.9
Miller: 8.4

2019 Yards After Catch (YAC)
Robinson: 272
Miller: 217

2019 Yards After Catch per Reception (YAC/R)
Robinson: 2.8 :(
Miller: 4.2 :) 

2019 Average Depth of Target (ADOT)
Robinson: 11.1
Miller: 10.1 

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This obviously doesn't tell a whole story; Robinson is a much, much better receiver right now. But it does help confirm at least some of what Miller's eye test screams: he can really play. Trying to predict how much a bum shoulder may stop him from sustaining that performance feels as fair as it does pointless – for all the talk of Miller's concerning durability, he's played 31 games in two years and been on the field for over 50% of the offensive snaps in 24 of them.  Financially, he's under control for two more years at a good price. Truth be told, even if he only becomes a full-time slot receiver – like ESPN's Bill Barnwell recently wrote – the Bears would be fine with that. 

All that being said, the offense certainly needs help from the other guys. Technically a receiver, Cordarrelle Patterson's a singular player. Additions like Ted Ginn (who the advanced metrics don't love but whatever not the time) and Darnell Mooney mean we'll be getting at least a few deep balls per game this season. Riley Ridley and Javon Wims were destined for a Preseason All-Star clash of the ages. And while it'd be great if they did, the Bears don't need any of those guys to step in 2020. The same can't be said about Miller.