Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller has had some success in his two years but hasn’t put together a full, good season. Hopefully, better preparation this offseason changes that.
The Chicago Bears need their wide receivers unit needs to step up in 2020. Allen Robinson was practically the only receiver the offense could depend on the entire season. Of the 566 targets in 2019, Robinson had 154, or 27.2 percent of them. The next highest in targets wasn’t even a receiver; it was running back Tarik Cohen with 104, or 18 percent of the targets.
While Robinson is a great receiver in the Bears offense, there needs to be more of a balance. Despite getting fewer targets, a better balance of targets makes his targets more valuable. He’ll be able to gain more yards without having the defense zero in on him so much. He did a great job of making catches in 2019. He caught 63.6 percent of the balls targeted to him. That’s great, but he needs more help.
The receiver who could give him that help is Anthony Miller.
Miller was that receiver who ranked second in targets among Bears receiver. He was nowhere near Robinson’s percentage, however. Chicago Bears quarterbacks targeted him only 15 percent of the time.
Miller needs to put a full season together
Miller has the ability to do more but he doesn’t have Mitchell Trubisky‘s confidence. Don’t get it wrong, he’s had some good stretches over his two-year career with the Bears, but they’re just that, stretches. He still hasn’t been able to put an entire season together.
In his rookie season, Miller broke out and was electric. He led all rookies with seven touchdowns. Down the stretch, however, he suffered a shoulder injury and went four of the final five games of the season with one catch or less.
In 2019, Miller started the season out very slowly. He only had four catches in the first four games, including zero catches on just one target in Week 1 against the hated Green Bay Packers.
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Between Weeks 11 and 15, Miller heated up, though. He made 33 catches for 431 yards and 2 touchdowns. That includes a 9-catch, 140-yard effort on Thanksgiving Day against the Detroit Lions. He made some big catches in that game that helped keep drives going. However, he again had an injury concern and only had two catches for seven yards in the final two games of the season.
It’s time for Miller to put together an entire season full of good games. He’s a talented and electric player who makes plays.
Conditioning is a big part of his struggles
Despite his abilities, conditioning is a big problem for Miller. There’s a big jump in how a player conditions for the college game and how one prepares in the pros. One can take some shortcuts in the college game and get away with it. There are times when teams play other inferior teams or teams from smaller schools without the same facilities so it takes less to win those games. On the other hand, even with weaker teams, all the facilities are world-class. You need to be in top shape all the time.
In the middle of [last] season, I believe Anthony really started having an idea and understanding what it takes not just how to step inside the 4-inch line and go play football, but how to start developing himself as a professional through a process leading up to a game.
With better conditioning and a little less ego, Miller can have himself a big season. Apparently, he came into the NFL thinking he had it all figured out. The NFL has a way of humbling a player in a hurry, however. Furrey spoke on that recently.
He’s dropped the ego of this whole Memphis thing. Now he’s coming here and learning from Allen Robinson, asking Allen Robinson, watching Allen Robinson. . . If you’re starting to do that stuff, you’re definitely heading in the right direction and starting to grow individually.
If Miller indeed made the changes he needed to make to improve then the wide receivers unit will have an additional weapon that either Trubisky or Nick Foles can depend on in 2020.