Buyer beware: Top wide receivers on the market

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Buyer beware: Top wide receivers on the market

Rare will be the day that goes by without free agent assessments and this year, with the Bears having cap space, clear needs and a new GM with a mandate to move, ones that address wide receivers in particular are of interest.

Don Banks over at SI.com assumes the role of devils advocate with respect to the cast of wideouts coming free (well, definitely not free in the fiduciary sense) as he posits some buyer-bewares on some of the bigger name receivers. The Bears have had first-hand experience with just about all of the likely suspects over the past 27 games.

Steve Johnson lit up the Bears for 145 yards on 11 catches when the Bears saw the Buffalo Bills in Toronto last year. But Johnson displayed a maturity shortfall and for what youre going to have to pay a franchise-grade receiver, thats not worth the risk.

The Bears see the Philadelphia Eagles just about every year so they know a little about DeSean Jackson who managed just 2 catches for 26 yards last November and 2 for 16 this season. Don pegs him as a me-first character risk and Jackson likely hasnt made Lovie Smith say we gotta get this guy based on what Jacksons done to Smiths defenses.

Vincent Jackson had his way for 165 yards and 7 catches when the Bears were beating the San Diego Chargers (and losing Jay Cutler) this season. Hes had a couple DUI issues and whether a family oriented organization will open the vault for that is an unknown.

Dwayne Bowe was Kansas Citys No. 1 receiver when Phil Emery was with Kansas City Chiefs personnel. Bowe has shown some toughness questions, which wont play well in the meeting rooms of coach Darryl Drake and offense of Mike Tice, and his 4 catches for 49 yards didnt include the Hail Mary this season.

Wes Welker put 115 yards and 8 catches on the Bears in Dec. 2010 but hes 31 and if he isnt bringing Tom Brady with him to Chicago...

The best combo platter is developing to be New Orleans Marques Colston, whos 6-4, a consistent 70-catch1,000-yard receiver.

The Bears didnt have to deal with Colston in week two because hed broken his collarbone the week before against the Packers. He was supposed to miss four weeks and missed two -- think that kind of tough wideout would work in Chicago?

Bears, Lions have been totally different teams in fourth quarters

Bears, Lions have been totally different teams in fourth quarters

Apart from any specific player or statistic, one unavoidable part of Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions looms ominously in front of the Bears, and there is no way they can avoid it: The fourth quarter.

Every game has one, and it has been the blessing of the Lions’ 2016 existence and the bane of the Bears’. The Bears talk constantly about the importance of playing a 60-minute game.

Before last Sunday’s 28-13 win over the New Orleans Saints, the Lions had trailed in the fourth quarter of all seven of their previous victories this season. A team that had traditionally found undisciplined ways to squander games has been finding ways to win them, according to a formula.

As Detroit Free Press columnist Jeff Seidel noted, “every single one of these games has looked the same: There was the drive, the field goal and the huge defensive play or, at least, some variation of those things."

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This is particularly relevant — and concerning — for the Bears, who have been the virtual opposite: Three times this season (at Houston, at Indianapolis, vs. Jacksonville) they have led in fourth quarters and lost those games.

The reasons lie in different phases, not simply cases of one, same unit failing.

"With us it’s not excuses, but we’re young, on our third quarterback, and that can affect it as far as experience and just being in that situation,” said coach John Fox. “To close the game, sometimes it’s just a mindset. When you have young players, it’s learning how to deal with adversity and learning how to deal with prosperity.”

The Bears did not outscore an opponent in the fourth quarter of any of their first 10 games this season, finally getting something going late in the Tennessee and San Francisco games, outscoring those two opponents by a combined 19-3.

“Being able to finish games, that’s something we’re learning and I think I saw examples of it last week in the San Francisco game and even going back to Minnesota, games where we have closed it, even in the first Detroit game, although we made that one interesting,” Fox said. “We found a way. So a lot of it’s experience under pressure and hopefully we’re figuring it out and can figure it out the last four games of the year.”

Beginning Sunday, presumably, against the NFL’s reigning comeback team.

Brandon Marshall doesn't remember 3 TD game from Bears-49ers in 2014 because he was on pain pills

Brandon Marshall doesn't remember 3 TD game from Bears-49ers in 2014 because he was on pain pills

Remember back in 2014 when the Bears rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the 49ers 28-20 in San Francisco on Sunday Night Football?

Well, Brandon Marshall doesn't.

And he had three of the four touchdown catches, two of them coming in the last quarter.

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The former Bears wide receiver, who had been dealing with a high ankle sprain, said he took pain pills before the game and doesn't recall much of it, including the incredible one-handed grab that went viral.

"I don't really remember much about that game because I worked really hard to get back from a high ankle (sprain)," Marshall said during a conference call Wednesday. "I'll say it, I took a couple pain pills that masked the pain. I really wasn't supposed to play. I came back from a high ankle (sprain) within 10 days. I was supposed to be out four to six weeks. I don't remember much from that game. I just remember catching those balls. And that was pretty much it."

If only Bears fans could forget that season entirely, which ended in a 5-11 record and the end of the Marc Trestman era.