The Bears’ offense might be run-oriented, as coach John Fox said, but receiver Kendall Wright believes it’s capable of much more if needed.
“If we had to open it up, we could,” Wright said. “It’s not a weakness over here at receiver. We won’t be a weakness if they call us on to be that group to start us off, move the chains and do whatever we need to do get the offense going.”
The question isn’t whether the Bears’ receivers and tight ends are capable of doing that, but rather when — or if — they’ll get opportunities to do it.
Fox’s influence on the offense is underrated. Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains might plan the attack, but Fox is charge of the entire mission.
Fox is the one who wants to keep quarterback Mike Glennon’s pitch count low. It’s a concerted effort to limit turnovers. It was the same at times with Jay Cutler.
The Bears’ game plan against the Falcons clearly was conservative. More than half of Glennon’s 40 passes came in the fourth quarter when he needed to throw.
“For us as receivers, we’ve just got to be patient and block for the backs,” Wright said. “We’ve got good backs.”
But don’t be surprised if that changes Sunday against the Buccaneers or as the season plays out, especially if rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky takes over.
Losing receivers Cam Meredith and Kevin White undoubtedly hurts, but Loggains’ cupboard isn’t as bare as many think. At least, the Bears don’t see it that way.
The Bears don’t have to replace White’s production. They have to replace his potential for production.
The latter is less problematic since White only has 21 catches for 193 yards in five career games and because of the Bears’ offseason decisions. They prepared for some attrition.
Signing Wright, receiver Markus Wheaton and tight end Dion Sims deepened the Bears’ roster, but also diversified an offense that finished 28th in scoring last year. Speed, size and true slot receivers were added.
Drafting tight end Adam Shaheen in the second round and running back Tarik Cohen in the fourth added more size and speed to the mix. As Week 1 showed, Cohen can do just about everything.
The problem is that Cohen is the only aforementioned player who had a worthwhile performance against the Falcons.
Sims’ first reception came on the last play of the third quarter; all of Wright’s production came in the fourth; Shaheen played only eight offensive snaps; and Wheaton (broken finger) didn’t dress.
In general, Loggains’ offense still is learning what it does best. It’s too early in the season and there are too many new players to say otherwise.
The Bears featured 26 different offensive lineups in Week 1, which was tied for the fifth-most in the league. More is coming. Cohen and Shaheen, for instance, played only two snaps together. How about Cohen and Wright in opposite slots?
The Bears’ skill players might be overlooked, but it’s a group looking for more opportunities. They might surprise everyone.
“There’s a lot of talent to spread the ball around, but there’s only one ball,” Wright said. “Whoever it is making the play, you just got to make it. We obviously have people in every position that can make plays.”