The Bears have struggled to find talent at the wide receiver position lately. The team hasn’t had a receiver record 1,000 yards receiving since Marty Booker posted 1,000+ yards in 2002.
Running back Matt Forte led the team in receptions with 52, while Johnny Knox and Roy Williams tied for second on the team with 37.
Neither Knox or Williams will be on the Bears roster this season. Williams wasn’t re-signed and Knox is still recovering from a vertebra injury that he suffered in Week 15 last season.
Knox will likely spend the season on the injured reserve hoping to recover from that devastating injury.
Earl Bennett reeled in 381 yards and one touchdown, while Devin Hester added 369 yards and one touchdown.
Undrafted rookie Dane Sanzenbacher led all Bears receivers with three touchdowns, while reeling in 276 yards on 27 receptions.
The unit was definitely inconsistent a season ago, but, with the additions of Brandon Marshall and rookie Alshon Jeffery, they could be much improved.
Here are the career stats for each wide receiver on the Bears current roster.
Brandon Marshall: 91 career games (75 starts), 494 receptions, 6,247 yards, 34 touchdowns and 12.6 ypr.
Earl Bennett: 51 career games (22 starts), 124 receptions, 1,659 yards, six touchdowns and 13.4 ypr.
Devin Hester: 60 career games (41 starts), 194 receptions, 2,565 yards, 13 touchdowns and 13.2 ypr.
Eric Weems: 54 career games (six starts), 24 receptions, 205 yards, two touchdowns and 8.5 ypr.
Devin Thomas: 55 career games (11 starts), 43 receptions, 482 yards, three touchdowns and 11.2 ypr.
Dane Sanzenbacher: 16 career games (one start), 27 receptions, 276 yards, three touchdowns and 10.2 ypr.
Marshall has five straight seasons with 1,000+ yards and his two best seasons (07, 08) came in Denver with Cutler leading the offense.
He will be looked upon to be the go-to receiver for the Bears. Cutler and him have always had great chemistry together so that will only help.
Earl Bennett could have his biggest season with the focus on Marshall in the passing game.
Hester will be used mainly on punts and kicks, but he will be utilized in his own package on offense.
Rookie Alshon Jeffery won’t come in right away and be a stud wide receiver, but he will progress as the season goes on. He will likely learn a lot from Marshall who has a similar frame.
Eric Weems will contribute mostly on special teams, but could see time in the slot.
Like mentioned Wednesday with the running backs, it could be a numbers game here at wide receiver.
Dane Sanzenbacher, Devin Thomas and Brittan Golden will likely battle for the sixth receiver spot if the Bears opt to keep six.
Sanzenbacher was impressive at times last season, but isn’t a special teams player. Thomas has been up and down so far through his career at receiver, but is a big target and can contribute on special teams.
Golden is an undrafted receiver from Texas A&M who is a longshot to make the roster, but he has the speed and hands to be a legitimate threat on any NFL team. He could be stashed away on the practice squad.
The Bears should be excited about the wide receiver position they have in place. The offense has improved its talent on the field greatly.
Next Up: Tight End Position
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