The Chicago Bears might have won their first preseason game, but injuries are still a part of the team's offseason as they relied on depth at the wide receiver position to get them by against the Miami Dolphins. That could end up paying off in the regular season as the team moves on from Brandon Marshall. With both Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White missing time on the field, Eddie Royal and Marquess Wilson are developing into strong assets.
According to the Chicago Tribune, there is no real time table for the return of White. The Bears are hopeful the first-round draft pick can begin running this upcoming week as he deals with a shin injury, but they have no plans on rushing White back into the mix just yet. That puts the offense in a hole. The injury to Jeffery only makes it bigger. The wide receiver who is now the default No.1 after the departure of Marshall was not active for the first preseason game. According to head coach John Fox via ESPN.com, Jeffery is dealing with a strained calf muscle that could leave him out for the near future. The receiver was wearing a walking boot during the preseason game.
The absence of the receiving duo who is supposed to help save Jay Cutler from another disappointing season has allowed other players to emerge as stars. The biggest beneficiary to the injuries might be Eddie Royal who signed in free agency. Cutler has been very complimentary of his new offensive weapon, but is Royal worth the hype? The entire Bears roster seems to believe that Royal is as good as advertised as he works in as the top receiver during practice at the moment.
"Eddie's got a special explosiveness that a lot of inside guys don't have," offensive coordinator Gase said, via the Tribune. "Eddie is a threat at all three levels. He can come underneath. He can break out intermediate. And he can get down the field. I'm glad I have Eddie back now. Because he's a finished product now. They gave him confidence."
Another player benefitting from injuries is Wilson who entered training camp as a bubble player. Injuries kept Wilson to just seven games last season, but the receiver is being predicted as a breakout star this upcoming season. He is getting plenty of work in with Cutler as White has yet to step on the field and that could be the deciding factor in his future. After a quiet first preseason game, Wilson is expected to show more.
With Gase expected to run a pass-happy offense that could help release the potential of Cutler, the run game will still play a major part. Matt Forte is back, but there is a battle as to who gets to back him up. Senorise Perry and Ka'Deem Carey were the stars of the first preseason game, but Jacquizz Rodgers is hoping to be the player that earns the backup job as he shows versatility that could help Cutler in the long run.