With Super Bowl expectations heavy on their minds, the Chicago Bears will begin preparations in earnest for the 2019 season this week when they report to Bourbonnais for training camp.
As the team arrives in the Chicago suburb, we’re taking a look at 10 of the players that will have the biggest impact on the Bears’ fortunes in the coming year, and today we’re focusing on wide receiver Anthony Miller.
How 2018 Went for Miller:
The rookie wide receiver got off to a hot start with the Bears, but he ended the season on a down note as he caught only four passes for 25 yards in his final five games of the regular season.
The electrifying playmaker gave a jolt to a receiving corps that had been lackluster in previous seasons, and helped take some pressure off teammates Taylor Gabriel and Allen Robinson II, but in all likelihood his shoulder issues helped keep him grounded in the final weeks of the regular season.
The Biggest Question He’ll Face:
Miller is coming off of offseason shoulder surgery, but the fact that he isn't on the team's PUP list to start training camp seems to be a good indicator that he is just fine on the health front.
Aside from health, the biggest question Miller faces is whether he can figure out a way to add more consistency to his game. While he did have some strong performances last year, the fact remains that he was held without a catch in three of his final four games last season, and injury or not he wasn't quite getting the separation that fans were used to seeing from him in the early stages of the year.
He did redeem himself somewhat in the NFC Wild Card Game, with three catches for 34 yards.
Miller has to take a big step forward in his development for the Bears in 2019 if he's going to become one of Mitchell Trubisky's go-to weapons in the team's offensive system. He has the speed and athleticism to make big plays happen, but he has to show that he can put that product on the field on a consistent basis.
At his healthiest, Miller is a field stretching wide receiver who can occasionally grab a deep pass and is capable of making guys miss on short yardage plays, earning crucial extra yards for his offense.
With that in mind, we're projecting a serious bump upward in his catch numbers, with 60 receptions and 600 yards well within reach for the coming year.
For more on our examination of the 10 Bears players to watch this season:
7/25 - Defensive end Akiem Hicks
7/24 – Cornerback Kyle Fuller
7/24 – Tight end Trey Burton