The Bear Den: Chicago's Persistent Lack of a No. 1 Receiver
Going into the 2008 NFL season and just two years removed from a trip to the Super Bowl, the Chicago Bears had a few question marks on their roster. Some of them still remain heading into the 2009 Training Camp.
The Bears receiving corps in that Super Bowl run was led by Muhsin Muhammad and Bernard Berrian. Those were two proven receivers who helped the Bears greatly. Both of them left the team in 2008 Free Agency, as expected.
Without those two receivers, the Bears struggled quite often last year in the passing game. In fact, running back Matt Forte and tight end Greg Olsen were two of the leading receivers on the team. That's something that doesn't equal a whole lot of success in the NFL.
The team let go of veterans Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd, who were each signed last offseason to one-year deals. Their stays in Chicago were short-lived. In fact, the Bears only return two starting receivers that had more that five catches all of last year in Devin Hester and Rashied Davis.
The Bears needed to address their problems at the receiver position this offseason, and to my dismay did not do a good job of it. They passed on T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Marvin Harrison, Plaxico Burris, and Torry Holt in free agency. They did offer the Cardinals a deal for Anquan Boldin, but after the marvelous Cutler trade, they had little to offer.
The Bears did draft three receivers in the draft. Juaquin Iglesias should be a good slot target for Cutler, and I really expect rookies Johnny Knox, who has blazing speed, and Derek Kinder to make the team because the Bears are slim on wideouts. Knox can accompany Hester on the speed side of the ball, while Iglesias and Davis are more of slot receivers.
There are still more question marks about this position. Who will step up and be the No. 1? Can Hester do it? Hopefully the plan at Halas Hall is to bring in a veteran or big-name wideout to give Cutler a better option.
Realistically, the Bears are a No. 1 wide receiver from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender, but, until they do that, this team will barely compete for the division.
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