Bears

Bears: Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White think playing together could be 'special'

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Bears: Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White think playing together could be 'special'

They were to be one of the most formidable pass-catching pairings in not just the NFC North or the NFC, but rather the entire NFL.

But instead of Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White becoming a second set of 1,000-yard receivers in the last three years, the two wound up sharing not the football field, but spots on injured reserve from where they could only imagine the might-have-been.

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With the Bears holding the option of securing Jeffery for one year at a guaranteed $14.4 million, and White coming off a full season missed with a stress fracture, the prospects of them being together for 2016 are excellent, with expectations to match.

“I think we’ll do something special,” said Jeffery, who led the Bears with 54 receptions and 807 yards despite missing seven full games and playing just 50.3 percent of the Bears’ offensive snaps.

White was drafted No. 7 overall, not as a hedge against losing Jeffery, but rather to replace Brandon Marshall, who had 1,295 receiving yards in 2013, with Jeffery topping out at 1,421. He and Jeffery developed a quiet friendship despite White missing the entire season, something that left the rookie wanting to see what the Bears would have with Jeffery and him on the field together. That was close to happening this year had the Bears been in playoff contention and were now gearing up for the postseason.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

“I would love to see that,” said White. “We have a good connection on and off the field, same agent [Eugene Parker], so we would love to play together.

“I think we can be really good, especially with the receivers we’ve got coming back, and just the chemistry we have with each other. That can turn into some great things on the field.”

Anthony Miller sports Bears uniform at NFLPA Rookie Premiere

Anthony Miller sports Bears uniform at NFLPA Rookie Premiere

Anthony Miller has quickly become a fan favorite on social media. He has the confidence and swagger found in most top wide receivers and it comes through on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Miller was one of 40 players in attendance at the 2018 NFLPA Rookie Premiere where he not only learned about the business and marketing side of football, but also suited up in his Bears gameday uniform for the first time. Of course, he shared the moment on Twitter:

Panini America, a sports collectible company, snapped a picture of Miller with fellow rookie receiver Calvin Ridley (Falcons) and quarterback Mason Rudolph (Steelers):

Miller has become something of a standout for the Bears despite not playing a single snap. He's expected to have a big role in an offense that has several new pieces and roles that are up for grabs.

Miller will compete with former first-round pick Kevin White and free-agent addition Taylor Gabriel for reps opposite Allen Robinson. Miller has the necessary skill set to play as both an outside receiver and in the slot which should give him an even greater opportunity to be on the field quite a bit.

The Bears first three draft picks are all vying for starting jobs in 2018. Roquan Smith (first round) is a lock to start next to Danny Trevathan and James Daniels (second round) will start at guard. Miller should make it three-for-three in a draft class that could end up the best of Ryan Pace's tenure.

Ryan Pace ranked among bottom-third of NFL general managers

Ryan Pace ranked among bottom-third of NFL general managers

Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace is having what many believe is his best offseason since taking the job in 2015, but after three seasons and only 14 wins, he needs a big year in 2018 to justify the confidence ownership has in him. 

According to a recent breakdown of all 32 general managers, Pace ranks among the worst decision-makers in the league.

No. 23: Ryan Pace, Chicago Bears

There’s only so much you can accomplish in one spring. The problem is that Pace let himself accumulate so many needs to begin with. He needs Trubisky and Nagy to springboard a fourth-year turnaround. 

The rankings didn't include six new GM hires, which makes Pace's positioning even more troubling.

Even though the Bears haven't seen wins on the field, Pace has done a solid job through three draft classes and appears to have the right coaching staff in place. His first hire, John Fox, was a calculated move by a rookie general manager to have an experienced football guy to lean on. Now, several offseasons later, the team is starting to take on his identity.

Despite all the talent Pace has added through the draft and the slow but steady transformation of the team's overall culture, it's a win-now business and if his blueprint doesn't start producing more wins than losses, it will be hard to justify more time and patience for his plan to develop.