Lewis: Who will step up opposite Marshall?

Lewis: Who will step up opposite Marshall?
July 27, 2013, 8:15 pm
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Everybody knows Jay Cutler needs to improve, but he's not the only offensive player that needs to produce in 2013. The pass receiving group, tight ends included, have to play a bigger role in the offense.

Last season, it was a one man show with Brandon Marshall's 118 receptions. Earl Bennett had 29 receptions, Alshon Jeffery recorded 24 and Devin Hester hauled in 23. The tight ends were invisible in 2012, led by Kellen Davis' 19 catches.

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You can be certain Marc Trestman wants to spread the ball around which means Bennett and Jeffery need to become big time contributors. One or both need to be in the 50-plus reception range, depending on how much Cutler can utilize Martellus Bennett. For Jeffery, it may come down to a matter of staying healthy and if he does it could be a breakout season for him. He has the skill, size and speed, but he needs to take the next step in 2013.

The other issue with the group is who will step up and be the No. 4 WR? Someone needs to stand out and show they can be relied on to contribute, especially in the case of injuries. Right now it's one of the thinner areas on the roster.

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My guess is the offense is going to be much more prolific than it was a year ago, but spreading the ball around will be a key reason the unit finds more success.

Training camp and the preseason should be competitive and shed some light on who will fill out the wideout position. The opportunities for all everybody will be there.