Chicago Bears

The Bears actually had the best receiver in football for a stretch last season

The Bears actually had the best receiver in football for a stretch last season

This may surprise you, but the 3-13 Chicago Bears actually had the best wide receiver in the NFL for a stretch in 2016.

And no, it was not 2013 Pro Bowler Alshon Jeffery, who is considered one of the top receivers in the game when healthy. In part, because he was only on the field for 12 games last season and when he was playing, only produced 52 catches for 821 yards and two scores.

It was actually Cam Meredith, Chicagoland native and Illinois State University product:

In the final five games of 2016 — with Matt Barkley throwing to him — Meredith caught 31 balls on 43 targets for 439 yards and two touchdowns. That's a 72.1 catch percentage.

As a special bonus, he also threw a two-yard touchdown pass.

If you extrapolate those few weeks over a 16-game season, Meredith would be on pace for 99 catches, 1,405 yards and six TDs. AKA: Jeffery's aforementioned 2013 Pro Bowl season (89 catches, 1,421 yards, 7 TDs).

On the 2016 season, Meredith had 66 catches on 97 targets for 888 yards and four scores in only his second season in the NFL as an undrafted free agent.

Beyond Jeffery's health issues, Meredith's emergence looms as a possible huge reason why Ryan Pace's front office let Jeffery walk this offseason.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: John Fox hasn't decided who will get first-team QB reps on Sunday

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: John Fox hasn't decided who will get first-team QB reps on Sunday

David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Phil Rogers (MLB.com) and Anthony Herron (670 The Score) join Kap on the panel. 

John Fox hasn’t decided who will get reps with the first-team in Sunday’s all-important third preseason game? Could Mitch Trubisky get a look with the ones?

Javy Baez hustles and scores the winning run for the Cubs. Is his the most entertaining athlete in Chicago? Plus will Nicky Delmonico still be on the White Sox in a few years when they are ready to contend for the postseason?

Listen to the full epidsode here

For Mitch Trubisky and the Bears' QBs, things remain status quo...for now

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USA Today Sports Images

For Mitch Trubisky and the Bears' QBs, things remain status quo...for now

Is there a way for Mitch Trubisky to take first-team snaps in Sunday’s all-important preseason game No. 3 without slighting Mike Glennon?

“I think probably not,” coach John Fox said. “… We’ll evaluate that and see where that goes.”

That’s not a definite answer, but Fox also didn’t totally dodge the question posed to him after Monday’s practice at Halas Hall. And it doesn't mean the Bears won't necessarily still give Trubisky some first-team work. 

Fox, though, stressed earlier in his press conference that he and his coaching staff haven’t talked about what the plan will be for Glennon, Trubisky and Mark Sanchez Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. 

“We’re very, very early,” Fox said. “We’re not even into preparation for the Titans yet. We’ll meet on that. We’ll talk, and we’ll keep you guys posted.”

Trubisky, as expected and for the second consecutive game, was the third Bears’ quarterback to take the field Saturday night against Arizona, taking over for Sanchez after the veteran backup played one series. Whether or not Sanchez plays on Sunday is another question, but the 2,285 passes he’s attempted in his seven-year career (compared to 630 for Glennon and zero for Trubisky) mean the Bears feel comfortable cutting into his snaps to give more to Glennon and/or Trubisky. 

Testing Trubisky — who’s largely played with and faced third and fourth stringers — with running a first-team offense against first-team defense could provide an important evaluation in his development. Fox, though, has said that getting Trubisky reps, no matter with what team, is the most important thing the team can do for his growth during training camp. 

Trubisky was hit hard a few times against Arizona behind the Bears’ third-string offensive line and played mostly with undrafted rookie Joshua Rounds as his running back. While he made a couple of poor throws — Tanner Gentry’s offensive pass interference probably prevented an interception — he finished his night having completed six of eight passes for 60 yards with a touchdown. 

“I thought again he showed good toughness,” Fox said. “I think he took a couple shots. They did a couple things different we hadn’t seen, as far as (our) protection. But I thought he showed good accuracy, probably mainly a couple decisions that he’d probably change. But I thought all in all he did well.”