With Marquess Wilson (foot) ruled out and Eddie Royal (knee) questionable for Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers, the Bears approach their second game in the last eight without two of their top three receivers.
Without Wilson, who injured his foot on the final play of Wednesday’s practice, and likely Royal, the offense again turns toward Josh Bellamy, Marc Mariani and Cameron Meredith. Mariani started against the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers, both wins by the Bears.
Additionally, tight end Zach Miller has started all but Week 9 against the Chargers, won by the Bears on Miller’s fourth quarter touchdown catch. And the Bears have started three tight ends in three of their 11 games.
“It’s a mindset,” said coach John Fox. “I think our whole team is kind of used to it and understand it. The reason they’re on the 53-man roster is we think they’re good enough. So where you are on the depth chart, when you’re called upon, we expect you to perform.”
"You’re going to get everything he’s [Miller's] got. There is no ego there. He doesn’t do anything you don’t ask him to do. He’s going to give you 110 percent. You know exactly where he is going to be and when he is going to be there. So you gotta appreciate that.”
Royal has not practiced all week and hasn’t played since Week 8 against the Minnesota Vikings. But the Bears officially listed him as questionable, a designation that typically says the player is 50-50.
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The offense was able to pull out a win at Kansas City with touchdown catches by Wilson and Matt Forte, with both Royal and Alshon Jeffery inactive. The Denver Broncos held off the Bears in Week 11 with both Royal and Jeffery out.
Safety Antrel Rolle (knee) was also held out of practice and is listed as questionable. Quarterback Jay Cutler and defensive lineman Bruce Gaston were limited with an undisclosed illness, with Cutler probable and Gaston questionable against the 49ers.