Bad News Bears Receivers

Revisiting one of the few correct 2008 Bears predictions

Before the season started, the Bears were given a simple, but widely endorsed diagnosis: They were good at defense. They were not good at offense. Their secondary was maybe not the best, but their linebacking corp and their deep defensive line made up for it. Matt Forte was a wild card, but their quarterback situation was a sad mess, and their receivers would largely rely on the normally unproductive Brandon Lloyd, veteran Marty Booker, and the hope that Devin Hester finally understood the position. Overall, the Bears were a mediocre team.

Largely, that prediction has held forth, even if the offense has looked much, much better -- thanks to surprisingly good seasons from Kyle Orton, Matt Forte, and the offensive line -- than most expected. Still, one offensive prediction from the preseason held forth. The Bears wide receivers are largely awful.

The Sun-Times' Brad Biggs succinctly summarized the damage:

Now the Bears have a collective mess on their hands at wide receiver, with none of them able to work off a jam at the line of scrimmage, the fashionable way to defend them these days. As if the troubled defense doesn't have enough to worry about, now comes the realization that this team can't play from behind against any team remaining on its schedule if the passing game doesn't turn around.

The issues are manifold, but they start with Brandon Lloyd's knee. Before his injury, Lloyd appeared to be a valid threat for Kyle Orton, or at least someone that could create separation and make catches on the perimeter. Now Lloyd's hobbled, and his status on the team has dwindled.

Another issue is that Marty Booker, who -- despite the occasional flair of his former self -- has largely looked like Marty Booker, old wide receiver.

And yet another issue is Devin Hester's struggles. Hester might yet pick up on how to be a professional wideout. He's still young, and he has time. But this season, he hasn't gotten anywhere close yet.

So after 12 games, after knowing everything and nothing about the Bears all the time, one prediction really came true: The Bears will need better wideouts to succeed. Acquiring them will be easier said than done.

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