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Bears looking to shore up receiver position

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 8:54 p.m. CDT
(H. Rick Bamman file photo – hbamman@shawmedia.com)
Bears' Wide receiver Eric Weems takes the ball up field after a reception July 25 during the opening day of training camp in Bourbonnais.

BOURBONNAIS – With Brandon Marshall taking the day off and Marquess Wilson having surgery Tuesday morning on his fractured clavicle, the Bears’ search for a No. 3 receiver is in full force, and almost every receiver on the roster took at least one rep with the first team during Tuesday’s practice.

“We want to see guys who can make plays and take care of the ball, protect the ball, know what to do and how to do it at the right time – just like we ask of each and every player at their position and we’ll see what happens,” coach Marc Trestman said.

Alshon Jeffery did his thing and put on a show, catching almost everything thrown his way during team drills, but it’s Eric Weems, Chris Williams, Josh Morgan, Josh Bellamy, Micheal Spurlock, Armanti Edwards and Dale Moss who are under the microscope, and Trestman said that we might “see resolution in the next 48 hours” at the position, which could mean someone else is signed.

The receiver on the roster with the most knowledge of and experience with the offense is Weems, who took a pay cut in the offseason to stick with the roster and has had a “great camp,” quarterback Jay Cutler said.

“Just by playing with speed, quickness, getting open, so the quarterback doesn’t have to get in a situation where he has to throw it up, a jump ball, like he does with the big guy,” the 5-foot-9 Weems said that he could make up for a lack of size.

If Trestman wants to lean on overall experience and production, one would think Morgan would have the edge, with his 199 career catches.

Morgan wants to be known as an all-around receiver who can catch as well as block for his teammates.

“If you need me to make the big play or make the tough catch, or the catch in traffic, or the catch across the middle, I think if you watch film of me over the years, I’ve done all of that,” he said.

Even if the Bears do bring a player in, one of these reserves still will be asked to take on a bigger role going forward. Backup quarterback Jordan Palmer knows the reserve receivers well from throwing to them in practice, and he has confidence in the group competing to replace Wilson.

“I think that we’ve got a number of guys who can fill in. The No. 1 thing you’ve got to be able to do in this offense is know what you’re doing: line up in the right spot, run the right route, the right depth, the right angle,” Palmer said. “… I think, if there was ever a group to fill in for an injury like that, this is the group.”

Injury update: Tim Jennings (quad), Eben Britton (hamstring), Chris Conte (shoulder) and Craig Steltz (groin) all remained out. Isaiah Frey left practice with a right hamstring injury that he said felt like a pull. Jordan Mills did not finish practice because of a sore foot.

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