Bears lose key receiver with broken collarbone
The Sports Xchange
NFL Team Report - Chicago Bears - INSIDE SLANT
Coach Marc Trestman said last week that 2013 seventh-round draft pick Marquess Wilson led the battle for third receiver behind Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall.
On Monday, Wilson went down in practice with a broken collarbone.
"I'm extremely disappointed," Trestman said. "He was continuing to ascend. That's football, unfortunately."
There was no immediate timetable for Wilson's return, but players have often returned from such an injury in the same season. The Bears experienced it last year when Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone against them in Green Bay at mid-season and then came back at the end of the year to beat them at Soldier Field in a game to decide a playoff berth.
Losing Wilson like they did made it all the more aggravating. He was laying out for a pass in the end zone on a deep route in a meaningless scrimmage play.
"That's the hardest part about coaching in practice," Trestman said. "You hear us say it all the time: stay off the ground, stay off the ground. And diving for balls is one of the most difficult things not to do when you're a competitive player.
"We promote (not diving), we talk about it a lot. But from my experience it's very difficult to stop. When a guy goes to make a play for the ball, you're not going to be disappointed with him if a guy doesn't go to the ground."
Wilson admitted it was just instinctive.
"It was just second nature," he said. "I look back at it and I probably shouldn't have done it. But it just happened."
Wilson was having one of his better practices in a series of them.
"He's been showing it consistently making plays," Bears tight end Martellus Bennett said of Wilson. "Back in the day, he was a flash player. But he's been working so hard and he's been stepping up.
"So those are going to be some hard shoes for us to fill because he's been doing a great job."
Bennett said Wilson, who had worked out extensively with Marshall and Jeffery in the offseason, had even understood the offense to the point that he was helping line veterans up on some plays.
"Another guy has a chance early in camp to step up to find out who that guy is going to be," Bennett said.
The problem is who?
Eric Weems is one possibility. Like the rest of the candidates, he isn't ideal. Weems has only 27 catches in six seasons because he's been large, considered a special teams player. He's also 5-foot-8, 182 pounds. Wilson is 6-3.