The Bears’ signing of Santonio Holmes in the quest for a No. 3 wide receiver was a mild surprise only from the fact that the veteran wideout had worked out for the Bears two weeks ago, after Marquess Wilson suffered his fractured collarbone in a camp practice. He didn’t impress them enough to make the signing at that point.
A reasonable question would be, what changed from then until Saturday, when the Bears and he agreed to a one-year contract?
As much as anything, Eric Weems happened. Or rather, didn’t happen. Had the Bears deemed Holmes an upgrade over Weems two weeks ago, they would have made a move; GM Phil Emery’s mantra that the search is always on for bettering the roster as been consistent and acted upon repeatedly, albeit not always with the name recognition of Holmes.
Weems was a hoped-for replacement not only for Wilson in the short term, but also Devin Hester. Thursday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Weems played his way off the roster in both areas. He fumbled a kickoff to set up Jacksonville’s only touchdown, and later had a route miscommunication with Jay Cutler.
In the first case he was decidedly un-Hester. Unfortunately, in the latter he was too much Hester, who was consigned to returner-only duties and not used even as a reserve receiver with a simplified playbook. Cutler didn’t trust him as a receiver. Cutler had words for Weems after their missed play on Thursday, which was nullified by a Jacksonville penalty but for Weems, the damage was done. Cutler does not make personnel decisions but if he lobbied for a receiver, the coaching and personnel staffs would take the input.