Bears receiving corps playing with chip on shoulder


Bears receiving corps playing with chip on shoulder

Friday, Jan. 14, 2011
9:03 AM

By John Mullin

Theyve heard it so long, they probably should be used to it.

The Bears dont have a No. 1 receiver.

The Bears need to draft a receiver in the first round.

Wide receiver is the Bears weak link.

They should be used to it. But theyre not. It still rankles.

And thats a good thing. A very good thing.

We always carry a chip on our shoulders, said Earl Bennett, one of those who never seems to be quite good enough. Last year we carried a chip and it just rolled over to this year.

You always hear the same thing: The Bears dont have any receivers, no receivers, they need a No. 1. Well, we feel like every guy in this group is a No. 1 so we just got to continue to go out and prove everybody wrong. This year its, the Bears need to draft a receiver. But I feel like everybody in this group has done a great job.

Big names, go home

The Bears have no receivers in the top 50 for receptions. Johnny Knox is the only one in the top 50 in yardage (960 yards, 21st).

Yet theyre still playing. Top-10 receivers like Brandon Lloyd (Denver), Reggie Wayne (Indianapolis), Andre Johnson (Houston), Calvin Johnson (Detroit) and Santana Moss (Washington) will be watching this weekend, along with a lot of other so-called No. 1s, when the no-name Bears receivers are busy in Soldier Field.

Theres a lot of receivers who wish they were on this team, Bennett said. The great thing about us is that everybody in here plays together and no one worries about whos No. 1 or any of that.

Actually, Bears receivers take turns being No. 1-for-a-day. Four different wide receivers posted team-high or tied for honors for games this season. Bennett led five times. Knox led five times. Devin Hester led once. Rashied Davis came off the bench for game-high receiving yardage in Green Bay,

The Bears rank a dismal 28th in passing yards. But the seasons of Dallas (6th), Denver (7th), Houston (4th), Indianapolis (1st), New Orleans (3rd), Philadelphia (9th), San Diego (2nd), Washington (8th) and the New York Giants (10th), nine of the top 10 passing offenses based on yardage, are finished this year.

They can have the numbers; the Bears will take the playoffs.

Nobody believes

And they will take the doubters.

Its a positive for us, said receivers coach Darryl Drake. Theyve come to the realization that its probably always going to be the case. Thats just the nature of being in Chicago.

But for us its motivation. I dont ever want them to get comfortable and think that its not there because sometimes you can think that youre there and you dont work as hard. I want people to say theyre worried because Earl Bennetts in town. People have to account for Earl Bennett. People have to account for Devin Hester. Thats all that matters. These guys are still in the process of growing at the NFL level.

Hester is 28. Knox is 24. Bennett is 23. Devin Aromashodu is 26. The old guy is Davis, and he is a leader on special teams. Only Davis and Hester has been to the NFL playoffs, to a Super Bowl.

The only guy whos been through all of this war is Rashied, Drake said. Theres never been a game where I sensed that they were in awe or afraid. It was always, Lets go get it done.

And possibly with a touch of lets show everybody.

Every week all year weve had a chip on our shoulder, every week we go out like weve got something to prove, Knox said. Thats something Ive heard --- that weve got no receivers --- since Ive been here, last year and up to this year weve gotten better and its shown.

John "Moon" Mullin is's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Tarik Cohen was NFL's best big-play RB in 2017

Tarik Cohen was NFL's best big-play RB in 2017

Tarik Cohen's rookie season with the Chicago Bears was an impressive blend of running, receiving and special teams play. He quickly became a household name. The combination of his diminutive frame and oversized personality made him a fan favorite, especially when he started gaining yards in chunks.

In fact, of all running backs with a minimum of 80 carries last season, Cohen had the highest percentage of runs that were 15 or more yards, according to Pro Football Focus.

Cohen will have a big role in new coach Matt Nagy's offense this season because of everything he offers a play-caller. He's a weapon as a receiver out of the backfield and can chew up yards on the ground like any traditional running back. He's a hold-your-breath talent who can turn a bad play into a touchdown in the blink of an eye.

Cohen had 370 rushing yards, 353 receiving yards and three offensive touchdowns in what can be described as a limited role last year. John Fox and Dowell Loggains didn't seem to ever figure out how to best use Cohen's skill set. That should be no issue for Nagy and Mark Helfrich, the team's new offensive coordinator, who both bring a creative offensive approach to Chicago.

Jordan Howard will be the starter and will do most of the heavy lifting. But Cohen is going to have a much bigger role than he had as a rookie, and that should result in more big plays and points on the board.

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith has more sheared sheep than tackles on his stat sheet as a pro football player.

Smith and several other Bears rookies participated in a hands-on community event at Lambs Farm in Libertyville, Illinois on Monday where he assisted farm staff with the sheep's grooming. Smith said it was a first for him despite growing up around animals. 

"It's like on the norm for me though, playing linebacker you're in the trenches," Smith said of the experience.

"Shaving a sheep, I never really envisioned myself doing something like that," Smith said via "I was around animals [growing up], but it was more so cows and goats here and there and dogs and cats. I've petted a sheep before, but never actually flipped one and shaved one."

Bears rookies got up close and personal with more than just sheep.

Smith was selected with the eighth overall pick in April's draft and will assume a starting role opposite Danny Trevathan at inside linebacker this season. Here's to hoping he can wrangle opposing ball-carriers like a sheep waiting to be sheared.