Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press
With Martellus Bennett sitting out the preseason opener because of a suspension handed down last week, via ESPNChicago.com's Michael C. Wright, veteran tight end Zach Miller took full advantage of his opportunities Friday night.
Miller led the team with six catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Miller finished with a plus-2.4 overall grade on the night in 21 snaps.
The 29-year-old Miller is often confused with the former Pro Bowl tight end of the Seattle Seahawks with the same name, but he has quickly made a name for himself throughout training camp and the early portion of the preseason.
Prior to landing in Chicago late last December, Miller spent three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the majority of the 2013 offseason with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Quarterback Jordan Palmer, Miller's teammate at one time in Jacksonville, was not surprised by what he saw on the field from Miller Friday night.
"You know, if anybody isn't surprised about how Zach played, it's me," Palmer told ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson. "I was with Zach in Jacksonville and he's one of my good buddies. I told people when the Bears signed him; watch how Zach runs his routes. He can really catch the ball."
Miller made five starts with the Jaguars from 2009-2012 and amassed 470 yards on 45 catches with four touchdowns.
Despite limited success in Jacksonville, quarterback Jay Cutler has been impressed by Miller in training camp and the preseason, via Dickerson:
[Miller has] had a good camp. We just want to get him in games and see how he can do. Every time he's had an opportunity he's made a play. We just have to keep progressing him along. He has been a nice addition for the offense and we're excited to use him more.
While Miller had a strong showing Friday night, he will have to prove his worth with the second team now that Bennett has rejoined the team, via the team's sideline reporter Zach Zaidman:
With his performance from Friday now in the rear-view mirror, Miller understands he will need to make the most out of the opportunities he gets.
"When you get an opportunity, you have to make the plays," Miller said to David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune. "You have to prove you can do it when the lights are on."
While he won't be taking over Bennett's role any time soon, his strong showing on Friday has his stock going through the roof.