DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 11: Johnny Knox #13 of the Chicago Bears shares a laugh with Earl Bennett #80 and Devin Hester before a game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 11, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Back in August, the Bears had an embarrassment of riches at receiver. Though no number one wideout had emerged, the Bears had plenty of targets for Jay Cutler to hit. The team had returning Bears Devin Hester, Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett.
Roy Williams and Sam Hurd arrived from Dallas, and undrafted free agent Dane Sanzenbacher. Add in tight ends Kellen Davis and Matt Spaeth, plus the good hands of running back Matt Forte, and it seemed like the Bears didn't even need a number one receiver.
Eight different players made catches during the Bears season opening win over Atlanta. Seven of them had multiple catches.
Fast forward to yesterday's loss to Seattle. Six players caught passes, with only two getting multiple grabs. The team with more receivers than they could handle now was struggling when looking for targets.
An unbelievable storm of events conspired to get the Bears here. Bennett missed five games with a chest injury. Sanzenbacher shined early on, but fell out of favor with Cutler after missing routes. Williams, who was known for drops when he was in Dallas, had the same problems here. Hester shined as a return man again, but that plus an ankle injury limited his role as a receiver. Forte's knee was injured. Hurd was busted for federal drug charges and cut from the team. Finally, Knox injured his back on an ugly play and is out for the season.
Even if Caleb Hanie was somehow a competent quarterback, he doesn't even have a reasonable set of people to throw the ball to. Though roster spots exist because of Hurd's release and Knox's inevitable move to injured reserve, the Bears won't be able to pick up anyone of great impact. They will have to hobble along with the receivers they have.
Rebuilding a corps of receivers could be a major first task of the Bears front office in the off-season. Considering how this year's corps fell apart, do you trust the front office to do it?