Bears-Raiders WR/TE viewers guide: 'Paging, a No. 3 option'

Bears-Raiders WR/TE viewers guide: 'Paging, a No. 3 option'
August 22, 2013, 10:30 pm
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Brandon Marshall needs no introduction. He may, however, need an introduction to an offense not centered around him, which most have been in his NFL tenure. Distributing the football is not a specific goal of Jay Cutler and “we’re going to call plays,” stated coordinator Aaron Kromer, “and where the plays and the coverages dictate he’ll throw the ball.”

Meaning: If it’s to Marshall, so be it.

But the passing offense right now has three glaring needs: an impact Alshon Jeffery, an involved tight end and a threat at No. 3 receiver, where Earl Bennett’s future after a second concussion remains in question.

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The Bears invested a No. 2 pick in Jeffery and the expectation is for him to have the kind of impact that 2013 No. 2 pick Jon Bostic is having over on defense. Comfort level is crucial with Cutler and that appears to be increasing.

“I think I'm more and more comfortable with him each and every day,” Cutler said. “He's becoming a true pro. From the start of practice to the end of practice, there's no lull in his performance.”

Finding an alternative to Bennett is less encouraging. No receiver has stepped up and time is growing short. If the No. 3 is not going to be Bennett, Cutler has very limited time with others by virtue of amount of time working them.

Eric Weems started in a three-wides package vs. San Diego but Bennett had more catches (29) in an off year last season than Weems, who caught just two passes last season, has for his career.

[MORE: Bears-Raiders RB viewing guide: Forte, Bush looking like 'Trestman backs'

Devin Aromashodu has size (6-2) and some comfort level with Cutler. Joe Anderson worked in with the No. 1 offense at times in Bennett’s stead but has not delivered consistently.

The wild card may be rookie Marquess Wilson, who caught four of the five passes thrown to him at Carolina, then none vs. San Diego.

Tight ends

Martellus Bennett, it is time.

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Bennett was beaten for a sack on the second play of the San Diego game. He has yet to be thrown a pass in preseason. He also isn’t worried about Cutler seeing him.

“Nah, he sees me,” Bennett said. “I’m 6-7, big black guy running down the field. He sees me. I wear white gloves, so he can see the white gloves when I wave them, like Mickey Mouse.”

Bennett and Steve Maneri project to be forces in the offense. Kyle Adams is a special-teams factor. It is still, however, a position that needs to be part of the offense.