Josh Morgan emerging in battle for Bears' No. 3 receiver

Josh Morgan emerging in battle for Bears' No. 3 receiver
August 15, 2014, 8:45 am
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Tony Andracki

The Bears are one play away from truly being in hot water with their wide receiver status.

And on Thursday night, that situation almost became a reality.

At the beginning of the second quarter, Alshon Jeffery went down to the ground in the process of catching a Jay Cutler pass and was promptly hammered into the Soldier Field turf by Jaguars safety Winston Guy, Jr. The play drew a flag, but more importantly, Jeffery was shaken up on the hit and had to come off for the next two plays.

Jeffery ended up being alright and returned to the field, but with projected No. 3 receiver Marquess Wilson already sidelined to start the regular season, the Bears can't afford another injury to the unit.

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As is, Josh Morgan, Eric Weems and Josh Bellamy have been competing to replace Wilson as the No. 3 receiver on the depth chart and when Jeffery went down, Morgan got the call to replace him on the outside.

Morgan stood out among the group Thursday evening, totaling three catches for 41 yards. He started the second half off with catches on back-to-back plays, including a nice leaping grab along the sideline.

The 29-year-old wideout is the seasoned pass-catching veteran of the trio with 199 receptions in 79 NFL games already under his belt entering his first year with the Bears.

"This is my seventh year and I've really learned how to just take it one week at a time, one day at a time," Morgan said. "As Coach Trestman always says, 'Try to win the day.' If you try to win every day, you're doing good.

"We all know the big picture. Every team in the NFL, every player in the NFL, they wanna win a Super Bowl this year. That's always the big picture. But if you focus on the little things in smaller increments, you're doing good. Don't stress yourself out about anything else. Let everything else play out. Just do your job."

Weems, also 29, has always been more of a special teams player. He only has 27 catches in his career, never recording more than 11 in one season.

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Bellamy has yet to record an NFL catch, but the third-year wide receiver threw his name in the ring with a couple of nice plays in the middle of the second quarter. He fought through a defensive pass interference call to make an 11-yard catch and then drew another flag on the very next play, running the same route.

"It's tough. We've got a lot of guys battling it out for that spot," Cutler said of the third wide receiver opportunity. "We'll probably mix it up a little bit next game and just put some different combos out there just to see how everyone feels and how everyone works together.

"You've got a bunch of guys working really hard, a bunch of guys that have practiced really well."

Morgan has played a big role on winning teams in the past, catching 48 balls for 510 yards from Robert Griffin III for the 10-6 Washington Redskins in 2013. He also recorded 15 receptions in five games in an injury-shortened season with the 13-3 San Francisco 49ers in 2011.

He thinks he can have a similar impact on the Bears in 2014.

"I definitely feel like I can help this team win," Morgan said. "Whatever they need me to do, that's what I'm gonna do. I just try to go out there and play football.

"I love playing this game. I love winning, even in the preseason, so whatever they need me to do, stepping in for Alshon, playing special teams, it doesn't matter. I just wanna win a Super Bowl."