Bears’ young receivers becoming weapons - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Bears’ young receivers becoming weapons

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Posted: Saturday, November 7, 2009 4:22 pm | Updated: 12:58 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

CHICAGO — There’s no truth to the notion Jay Cutler will turn green with envy, if not Cardinals red, at the sight of the receivers on the other side when the Chicago Bears host Arizona today.

No offense to Larry Fitzgerald or Anquan Boldin, but he likes what he has.

“I think we’re fine in that area,” Cutler said. “I think we have three or four very reliable if not above-average guys who can go out there and make things happen. ”

And the Bears will need more of that if they’re going to make a playoff run.

At 4-3, they’re at an important point after a less-than-impressive 30-6 win over lowly Cleveland followed back-to-back losses to Atlanta and Cincinnati.

Three of their next four games are against division leaders, starting with a visit by the defending NFC champion Cardinals (4-3), and they don’t have much room for error in their quest to get back to the postseason after back-to-back misses.

It would help if they beat Arizona, the team on the receiving end of one of Chicago’s most memorable wins in recent memory.

That was three years ago, when the Bears rallied from 20 down at the half to win 24-23 and spark that memorable “The Bears are who we thought they were!” rant by then-Cardinals coach Dennis Green.

That team reached the Super Bowl. Now, the Bears are tough to figure.

Cutler is taking a beating, and drives inside the 20 are stalling, with a touchdown conversion rate at just 44.4 percent.

So there certainly are issues. The wide receivers, however, are not on that list. While Devin Hester, Earl Bennett and Johnny Knox have a ways to go before they’re mentioned in the same breath as Fitzgerald, Boldin and Steve Breaston, they’re at least backing up the Bears’ decision not to bring in outside help.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, aren’t getting the big plays that carried them to the Super Bowl last season.

“You’re not going to get all the bounces or make all the plays, but we certainly had our share of opportunities to make plays that could affect games, and we just haven’t done that,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said.

After setting league records with 30 catches for 546 yards and seven touchdowns in the postseason, Fitzgerald does not have a reception for 40 or more yards. He broke off five a year ago.

And he’s averaging 10.8 yards per catch, down from 14.9.

Warner, meanwhile, has only two completions for more than 30 yards, and he threw five interceptions in a 34-21 loss to Carolina last week, a rare performance for a quarterback who’s enjoyed a recent renaissance.

“I think the last couple of years I’ve played some of the best football of my career,” Warner said.

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