The Chicago Bears wide receiving corps has caught plenty of flak from experts over the past few months. Many view the group as the worst in the NFL. The easiest sign is that the new regime led by GM Ryan Poles failed to arm Justin Fields for the coming season properly. Much of that pessimism stems from their failure to acquire big names in free agency or the draft. All while losing Allen Robinson at the same time.
One person isn’t ready to admit it’s that bad. In fact, he’d go so far as to say what Poles has pieced together is better than people think. Clay Harbor was a tight end in the NFL for eight years. He was a 4th round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles and ended his career helping the New England Patriots win a Super Bowl in 2016. He’s played on some really good offenses during that time. Based on what he saw during the first padded practice of Bears training camp, the team’s receiving group has significant potential.
My thoughts after the Bears first day of Pads.
1. Matt Eberflus is challenging these guys conditioning w tempo.
2. WR core is better than most have anticipated
3. TE group as a whole is very solid. Cmet has to produce more in red zone.
4. Great energy on both O & D#BearsCamp
— Clay Harbor (@clayharbs82) August 2, 2022
Lots to like here from Fields to Velus Jones. The Tennessee product has an extra gear in space.
The ball placement doesn’t hurt either. Whew.
— Ryan Fowler (@_RyanFowler_) July 31, 2022
Early returns suggest the Chicago Bears indeed have something.
It hasn’t always been pretty during practices, but the flashes are there. Darnell Mooney looks like the go-to guy Justin Fields needs. That isn’t any surprise. No, the real eye-opener is Velus Jones. The rookie 3rd round pick has done all sorts of impressive things, from running routes to highlight-reel catches and some top-quality run blocking. Free agent addition Byron Pringle is finding open space down the field. Even trade acquisition N’Keal Harry has had a few nice moments.
The problem hasn’t been the receivers. It’s been the offensive line. As the defense has controlled the early part of training camp, the biggest reason is their ability to pressure Fields. He’s had to run way too often because the blockers can’t hold up. That concern appears far more valid at this stage. The Chicago Bears continue seeking ways to fix it, but this situation was several years in the making, thanks to mismanagement by former GM Ryan Pace.
One can only hope offensive coordinator Luke Getsy can get it figured out. If they do, this receiving corps may have a chance to make Harbor’s proclamation a reality.