Current Bears crop of wide receivers hard to swallow

By Edward Kensik  |   Tuesday, August 04, 2009  |  Comments( 0 )

Chicago Bears
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The names Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett and Juaquin Iglesias are ones you will not be hearing screamed during your friendly fantasy football draft.

But those are some of the guys that the Chicago Bears hope will become the names rolling off the tongues of Bears fans come this fall. Instead of going after the numerous, albeit mediocre, wide receiver free agents, Chicago opted to keep some of the wide receivers from last year and draft a couple. The Bears instead are going to back their top wide receiver job on Devin Hester, who as it showed last season that he needs help with a position receiver so that he is double teamed. Also, Hester is talking about punt returning.

But the chances of wide receiver draft pick making a big splash are far between especially in the later rounds.

There is talk that the Bears will go after Matt Jones, the former Jaguars wide receiver, but this would be very un-Bear like. The team got rid of Tank Johnson (possession of guns) and Cedric Benson (operating a boat while intoxicated and resisting arrest). Despite being acquitted of the charges, it probably turned out to be the best though for both Benson and the Bears since he was dragging down the team with his two yards and dive routine. But it just shows that Chicago under the McCaskey regime is very leery about picking up anymore problems. Jones arrest of possession of a controlled substance and then violation of parole does not lend to being a Bear.

Even if the Bears do pick up one of the veteran wide receivers that are still seeking employment or a late preseason cut, Jay Cutler will not put up the numbers that he did at Denver last season. Not only will it be because they do not have Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal, but also the Bears affinity for running. Cutler will not put up 4,526 passing yards and 25 passing touchdowns. With the almost 20,000 that were in Bourbonnais watching the seven-on-sevens, the main attraction was Cutler. There has never been the passing attraction like him, probably in the modern history of the club. And many of the fans have thoughts of 1995 for the 2009 season. 1995 was the year that Erik Kramer set the passing mark for the Bears.

One of the main differences between the two seasons is that Chicago had Rashaan Salam. The running game is being run by Forte this season. This though could change if Forte goes down. The main running backup would be Kevin Smith, who is probably far from his days while with the Lions. Many of the fans who were at the seven-on-sevens last weekend felt that Knox (rookie, fifth round from Abilene Christian) looked very good. Other watchers have pointed to Hester dropping a lot of balls during practice.

But you can’t go much by these seven-on-sevens or even practice. The only item that you watch for during practices is health. The first taste will come August 15 when the Bears travel to Buffalo in the first exhibition game.

While many are sorting through the receivers, a couple of players that might benefit the most from the arrival of Cutler are Bennett and tight end Greg Olsen. Cutler and Bennett know a little bit about each other from their days of Vanderbilt, but many were scratching their head when Bennett said after the end of last season that he did not understand the play book through most of 2008. You would think with a Vanderbilt education that he would have been able to comprehend a psychology no less the Bears playbook. In Olsen before this season, he has rectified the team’s decision to pick him for the 31st pick of the 2007 draft. But Olsen might even blossom more this season because Cutler has been known to work well with the tight end like last season with Denver’s Tony Scheffler. Barring any injury, Olsen is sure to put up more than the 574 yards and five touchdown numbers of last season. The one wide receiver under the radar is Rashied Davis who caught 35 passes for 445 yards, but is not considered the receiver to compliment Hester.

While most of the time veteran quarterbacks play very little in the first preseason game, the Bears might want to give more time to Cutler so that he develops some chemistry with his receivers. The game against Buffalo might be a good indication of who the former Bronco might be hooking up with come the start of the regular season.
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