By Chris Emma—
(CBS) Still searching for answers at receiver, the Bears may be ready to make the recently acquired Dontrelle Inman a key target for their struggling offense.
The Bears have entered their bye week at 3-5 on the season and ranking 31st in passing yards per game with the mark of 157.5. Rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has lacked playmakers at receiver, which brought the Bears to trade a conditional seventh-round pick to the Chargers for Inman last week.
With the benefit of a bye, Inman is preparing himself to fill a void for the Bears.
“We’ve got plenty of time ahead of us, and he’ll definitely be part of our team going forward,” coach John Fox said Monday.
Through eight games, the Bears’ leading pass catcher has been rookie running back Tarik Cohen, who has hauled in 28 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Kendall Wright is the team’s yardage leader with 22 receptions for 259 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Zach Miller leads the team with two receiving touchdowns, but he suffered a severe leg injury in a loss to the Saints on Sunday and required emergency vascular surgery that will keep him out the rest of the season.
The Bears have been lacking production at receiver after losing Cam Meredith (torn ACL) and Kevin White (fractured scapula) to injured reserve. Markus Wheaton remains sidelined with a groin injury suffered three weeks ago in practice. White is a candidate to be designated for a return later in the season, though he has major strides to make in his recovery.
With the offense desperate for answers at receiver, the Bears now turn to Inman, who posted 58 receptions for 810 yards and four touchdowns with the Chargers last season. He lost out to competition at receiver after Los Angeles drafted Mike Williams in the first round.
Fox and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains have stated that Inman has the mental makeup to acclimate himself into the Bears’ schemes, which Inman himself said are familiar from previous stops. The next hurdle is getting Inman in sync with Trubisky, Fox said.
“He is a gunslinger,” Inman said of Trubisky upon arrival late last week. “You can see the confidence in him. Just for me today, just out there looking at him. For the past four, five weeks, I’ve been just watching him (thinking) this kid can be good. And he shows it. He shows that he can be great in this league.
“I can run, I can catch, I can run routes, I can get open and I love to just play the game. It’s the love of the game that if anything else and me having fun is what I bring to the table.”