Last week a strong argument emerged that the Bears might be better off not extending Allen Robinson’s contract, instead relying on Anthony Miller to be the team’s top wide receiver.
That argument died on Sunday.
Calling the two passes Miller didn’t catch drops is disingenuous. Both would’ve required phenomenal moments from the young receiver. But Miller has that ability! What changed from Week One when he made those plays to Week Two when he couldn’t? How can the Bears rely on him when they don’t know what they’re getting from week-to-week?
Dan Pompei was among those who promoted that idea that the Bears could have a number one receiver in Miller. Nobody questions that Miller has the talent to be The Guy, but NFL history is littered with talented wide receivers who never developed the consistency to be The Guy. See: Price, Peerless.
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— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) September 15, 2020
Nobody should generally panic about Miller. We saw a slow start last year when he caught just four passes for 28 yards in the team’s first four games. Like last year, Miller is coming off of shoulder surgery and there’s no reason to think the light won’t come on for him.
But that’s less of an excuse for Miller and more of a reason why the Bears can’t rely on him to be their top wide receiver going forward. Are shoulder injuries going to be an annual problem? Are there other health concerns to worry about? So much of being a number one wide receiver is just being available so the team knows what they have any given week.
Even when it does click for the third-year receiver there are inconsistencies. Miller had three straight strong showings after his poor start last year, then caught just one pass for seven yards combined the next two weeks. Over the next five weeks, he had 431 yards, then caught one pass for two yards. Miller had eight games with two catches or fewer in 2018. Some of that is the nature of the position, but much of it is the inconsistency of the player. On any given week, the Bears don’t know which Anthony Miller they’re getting and that makes it impossible to build a position group around him.
However the Bears choose to try and solve the longstanding quarterback problem, they’re going to want the next passer to have a reliable supporting cast, especially if it’s a young quarterback. As tempting as it might be to save a few bucks and let Robinson go, doing so simply isn’t prudent. ARob is only about one year older than Miller and losing him would just leave the Bears with nothing but question marks at the position.