Drama missing from Bears receiver corps...for a change


Drama missing from Bears receiver corps...for a change

For so many recent Bears training camps, there was some drama to play out at the receiver positions, some position competition, something to resolve, usually something significant and pressing.

Not this year.

The training camp “issues,” such as they are, are not really issues at all. There is no "Devin Hester as No. 1 receiver." No "How will they use Brandon Manumaleuna?" Not even "Who will win the No. 3 slot?"

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Drama around the tight end position dissipated when Martellus Bennett attended the mandatory minicamp and said he intended to be there for training camp. What the Bears are able to get from oft-injured Zach Miller or Dante Rosario are not front-burner concerns.

Brandon Marshall is gone, which by definition reduces the “drama” quotient by somewhere between half and two-thirds. The only drama now is performance-related, whether or how quickly rookie Kevin White reaches the level of excellence set by Marshall and expected of a No. 7-overall draft choice. White missed a number of offseason sessions, some for an unknown reason, but no indication of worrisome drama there.

“It'll happen, slowly but surely,” White said. “It'll all come together.”

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His bosses agree: “It’s always tough [for] rookie receivers,” said offensive coordinator Adam Gase. “It’s completely different than anything you’ve done, and just getting used to the tempo and the speed of practice and being able to maintain it. Coach Fox said it best: ‘You’re getting ready for a 20-plus game season, where the most you’ve ever gone is 13.’ And so for [White] to get ready, it’s going to be a mental challenge, but I think he’s up for it.”

Alshon Jeffery is a known NFL quantity. The only “drama” there is whether the Bears go to him before season’s end with a new contract to pre-empt his reaching free agency. The assumption is that the early stages of talks have begun and that the Bears will not stint on keeping an impact receiver of Jeffery’s stature in place.

Replacing Marshall with White has obvious payroll effects, even with the money spent to add Eddie Royal this offseason.

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Royal effectively removes any of the drama around the No. 3 receiver spot. Marquess Wilson displayed promise in the early days of camp 2014 before suffering a broken clavicle. But the anticipation of Wilson’s return from injury seemed inflated; Wilson caught 17 passes over the final six games but averaged a very modest 8.2 yards per catch and scored just once, doing nothing to lead the new coaching regime to do anything but upgrade the No. 3 position with Royal, who is on a mild mission of his own.

“I’m trying to show that I’m more than a slot, that I can play outside and I can play everywhere,” Royal said. “As a receiver, you don’t want to be defined in just one role. You want to try to expand that, and that’s what I’m trying to do now.”

Wilson projects as depth at, ideally, more than one position. Josh Morgan caught 10 passes in spot duty last season (seven starts) but signed with the New Orleans Saints in May. Josh Bellamy returns but is in roster competition with rookie free agents Ify Umodu and Cameron Meredith, Rashad Lawrence and possibly Marc Mariani, whose chief value lies in return abilities.

Rams' trade for Jalen Ramsey will have a direct impact on Bears' season

Rams' trade for Jalen Ramsey will have a direct impact on Bears' season

The Los Angeles Rams pulled off a blockbuster trade for Jacksonville Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey Tuesday night, sending two first-round picks (2020 and 2021) and a 2021 fourth-round pick for the superstar defender.

It's the second trade the Rams have accomplished in one day. Los Angeles shipped CB Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens for LB Kenny Young and a 2020 fifth-round pick earlier on Tuesday, completing a makeover in their secondary that will have a direct impact the Chicago Bears this season.

The Bears travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams in Week 11 as part of a brutal five-game stretch coming off of their bye week. Ramsey makes it even worse.

The Rams had little choice but to pull off a mega-deal like this. They're entering Week 7 with the 19th ranked pass defense and an underwhelming 3-3 record, a far cry from the expectations for last year's Super Bowl runner-up.

Mitch Trubisky and the Bears offense will have their hands full on November 17. The combination of Aaron Donald on the defensive line and Ramsey in the secondary is as intimidating as any defensive duo in the NFL and is capable of destroying even the smartest and most efficient passing attacks. And that's not exactly Chicago's pass offense so far.

Trubisky, who's expected to return from a left shoulder injury Sunday against the Saints, hasn't proven this season that he's capable of staring down the barrel of a Donald-Ramsey alliance. It will be a ridiculously difficult challenge for a quarterback who's still finding his way as a pro.

Ramsey has missed the last three games for a variety of reasons, most of which appear as tricks to remain healthy in anticipation of a trade.  He's a two-time Pro Bowler and has nine interceptions from 2016-2018.

Now, Ramsey is an opponent on Chicago's 2019 schedule. 

Power Ranking Roundup: The bye week didn't do the Bears any favors

Power Ranking Roundup: The bye week didn't do the Bears any favors

The Bears didn't play last week, but did that stop them from falling in Power Rankings across The Web? It did not! Going into the bye on a loss never fails to stoke the panic. Here's what they're saying: 

NBC Sports Chicago -- #16
Their power rankings slide is because of how well other teams performed Sunday; Chicago doesn't feel like a top-15 team when compared to the rest of the NFL. -- #9
The Bears do have a player who's good at all that stuff when given a chance -- that would be running back Tarik Cohen, who already had nine such "big plays" through five games a year ago. In 2019? He has just one, despite being healthy and available each week. Bears coach Matt Nagy needs to get Cohen involved.

ESPN -- #16
Their vertical passing attack is limited with Mitchell Trubisky or Chase Daniel at quarterback. The offense has been equally ineffective on the ground. Chicago has gained eight or more rushing yards on just 10 running plays through five games.

Bleacher Report -- #10
Chicago had best make good use of this week off and get things figured out. Four of the team's next five games after the bye are against teams that made the postseason a year ago, including trips to face the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams.

Sports Illustrated -- #17
A Vikings win this week and strong starts from the Lions and Packers suddenly raises the stake Sunday’s game against the Saints. Unfortunately, New Orleans has a similarly great defense and a much better offense than the Bears.

CBS Sports -- #13
They come off the bye looking to generate more on offense. But it was the defense that also had some issues in London. That unit needs to pick it up as well.

USA Today -- #14
Coming out of bye, club currently just outside playoff picture hits brutal stretch with just two of final 11 opponents currently below .500.

Yahoo Sports -- #11
The Bears have only two games left against teams who are currently under .500. They face the Chargers and Giants, who are both 2-4 and not totally incapable. If the Bears make it back to the playoffs, it’ll be impressive.

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