Prior to the season, one of the biggest question marks for the Chicago Bears was their receivers, or there lack of a true No. 1, and the overall experience of their receiving unit.
And while the Bears still may not have a true No. 1 receiver on the team, the unit of Devin Hester, Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett as well as tight end Greg Olsen have come together and given quarterback Jay Cutler numerous options to throw the ball to.
Running back Matt Forte is also used out of the backfield as a receiving threat by the Bears as well.
The lack of a true No. 1 receiver has probably even helped this Bears offense, who seems to be coming together at the right time.
Defenses cannot concentrate on stopping one main receiver so they do not know who to double team, which basically ensures that one of the receivers will be open.
At one time or another, on any particular play, all of the Bears receivers have contributed this season with big plays.
Johnny Knox, a fifth round draft choice, leads all Bears receivers with 40 receptions for 740 yards and two touchdowns. Knox has had 34 catches for first downs and 196 yards gained after the catch with a long of 67 yards. He stands to be the Bears first 1000 yard receiver since Marty Booker did it back in 2002. The fifth round pick the Bears used for Knox was the throw in pick by the Denver Broncos in the Jay Cutler trade.
Devin Hester, known for his explosiveness as return man, is second in receiving for the Bears with 31 receptions for 370 yards and two touchdowns. His open field explosiveness shows with 213 yards after the catch with a long of 39 yards.
Running back Matt Forte is third in receiving on the Bears with 34 receptions for 353 yards and three touchdowns. He has an amazing 349 yards after the catch with a long of 89 yards.
Earl Bennett, who was Cutler’s teammate at Vanderbilt, has been a clutch receiver for the Bears this season with 32 receptions for 353 yards and three touchdowns with a long of 48 yards.
Tight end Greg Olsen, thought to be an afterthought in a Mike Martz run offense, is still Cutler’s favorite target in the red zone with five touchdowns. He has 29 receptions for 331 yards with a long of 39 yards.
And while the Bears offense and receivers can not yet be compared to Martz’s “Greatest Show on Turf” offense while he was with the Rams, it is coming together for the 8-3 NFC North leading Bears.
Maybe the thought of a true No. 1 receiver is overrated and working together as a team can still turn into victories.
Nolan Thomas: Bears Receivers Proving Their Worth