Injury To Chicago Bears’ Receiver Marquees Wilson An Opportunity For Others To Shine

Marquees Wilson’s season with the Chicago Bears is halfway over well before it has begun. The Bears wide receiver mysteriously left the practice field on the first day of minicamp on Tuesday. Nothing was reported on Wilson’s absence. Everyone was mum on why the fourth-year receiver left the field. That was until the following day.

According to CSN Chicago, Marquees Wilson fractured his foot during the first day of Bears’ minicamp.

The injury will likely keep Wilson out until after the beginning of the NFL season. Bears’ head coach John Fox spoke to reporters about the Marquees Wilson injury, and brought up the idea of the receiver landing on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

“What exactly the extent as far as timetable coming back, we’ll keep you posted on that. Could be a possibility that he starts the season on PUP, but we won’t know those things yet from a timing aspect.”

This is the second time that Marquees Wilson has suffered from a fractured foot. And since this is the same foot that was broken before, he may need more time to recover. The possibility of being on the PUP list would save the Bears a roster spot for the time being.

Wilson is set to have surgery on Monday according to CBS Local Chicago‘s Chris Emma.

Marquees Wilson always gets close to turning the corner in his career, only to suffer from a setback. Those setbacks, or injuries, have served as the difference between Wilson solidifying a spot on the Bears since he was drafted in the seventh round in the 2012 NFL Draft.

In the past Marquees Wilson’s injury would have put the Bears in a bind. This season seems different. No one will argue about the lack of overall wide receiver depth on the Bears. After Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal, the Bears have a group that is trying to prove themselves. Wilson getting hurt forces the other Bears receivers to step up their games. Several Bears can take advantage of Marquees Wilson’s absence. Rookie Daniel Braverman has the biggest opportunity of them all.

When Daniel Braverman was drafted by the Bears, it was widely assumed that he would compete for a roster spot immediately. With his 5-10 height, Braverman is reminiscent of Wes Welker and former Bears cult hero Tom Waddle. He is slated to play in the slot receiver spot for now.

Not having Marquees Wilson on the practice field will enable Braverman to play at a couple of positions among the receivers. That will increase his versatility going forward. Another thing that will take place are the adjustments made to the blocking schemes. Slot receivers block inside. Braverman will get reps on the outside now as a flanker with the Bears. That calls for a different set of blocking calls.

Josh Bellamy and Cameron Meredith are holdovers from last season. They both will also get increased work with the Bears until Wilson returns. They will have a chance to make a statement themselves and try to make this Bears team.

A player to watch out for is tight end Ben Braunecker. Braunecker, an undrafted free-agent from Harvard, can make a huge impression with Wilson sidelined.

The Bears are in need of a tight end to pair with Zach Miller. Miller has a history of injuries himself, and the Bears are short on depth at the position and they need someone to distinguish themselves. Braunecker has the chance to not only make the Bears’ roster, but also make an impact on the team.

No Marquees Wilson could translate into more targets for the tight ends. Ben Braunecker can get the lion’s share of those targets, because the Bears will likely take it easy on Zach Miller.

It is unfortunate for Marquees Wilson that he fractured his foot. It forces the Chicago Bears to look at other options. Now those options have a chance to shine.

[Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images]