Is Donald Driver Right About the Chicago Bears Wide Receivers?

Scott OttersenCorrespondent IJuly 20, 2009

LAKE FOREST, IL - MAY 20: Devin Hester #23 of the Chicago Bears leaps to catch a pass during an organized team activity (OTA) practice on May 20, 2009 at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Much has been made of the Chicago Bears wide receiver corps.

Do they have quality receivers?

Can they win with the receivers they have?

Is the acquisition of Jay Cutler nullified by the fact that they don’t have a wideout to match his skills at quarterback?

And then, last week, Donald Driver, an 11-year veteran of the Green Bay Packers, went on record with saying that Chicago “[doesn’t] have the receiver group…you’re going to need receivers to make plays down the field, and they don’t have that right now.”

Is he just the latest to jump on the obvious train?  Or, is he speaking too soon about the young receivers that the Bears have on the roster?

It is hard to make a point about how receiving corps are “bad,” considering the low amount of games they have been able to show their skillset in.  Devin Hester and Rashied Davis are the only two receivers on the team that have played in enough games to where a scouting report could even be written up on them.  They are also the only two receivers with more than seven receptions total in their career.

Juaguin Iglesias, Johnny Knox, Derek Kinder, and Eric Peterman are all rookies.  And, for all intents and purposes, Earl Bennett could be considered a rookie with the lack of playing time he has received at wide receiver.

So, he may have been right if he called our receivers inexperienced, but how can he know that none of them can make plays down the field?

With the addition of Jay Cutler, a quarterback who can make the throws downfield, the Bears may be able to open up the playbook and call plays that involve the receivers to run further than five yards before the ball is coming their way.  Therefore, all the receivers need to do is run into an opening and be able to catch a ball perfectly thrown to them.  All receivers can run, right?

I have always respected Donald Driver.  I think he is/was a good route runner, has/had great hands, and was a decent playmaker.  His judge of talent may be good and it may not be, but I think he was overstepping his boundaries with this last statement.

Had he spoken along the lines of the past Bears receivers, I could see him making a comment like that, but not with a completely revamped wide receiver corps.  In today’s world of fantasy sports and what I like to call "paper-matchup-ing," he was making a comment about something that not anybody can know anything about.  It’s why they say “that’s why they play the games.”  Until the start of the season, we will know nothing about how the Bears receivers do, or if they can make plays down the field.  Perhaps one of the rookies will turn into this years Matt Forte of the wide receiver world.

If I had it my way, of course I would prefer the Bears had some experienced All-Pro wide receivers on their roster.  But, that is just not the case.  We have what we have, and we need to make the best of it.  It is up to the coaches to work with our young guys, and get them to understand the routes they are running, the blocking schemes they are a part of, and the differences between being a college receiver and an NFL receiver.  After that, it is on the shoulders of the players to have good instincts, good improvisational skills, and with hands to match.

What do you feel about Donald Driver’s comments?


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