CHICAGO — Every year, every team, there is always that guy who jumps off the screen during the first preseason game that forces you to scratch your head and ask yourself, “who’s this guy?” One game in, that guy is Zach Miller.
Miller, a 6th round draft pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2009, is a former quarterback turned tight end out of Nebraska-Omaha. An extremely gifted athlete who just never caught on and was waived in 2012, before being picked up and dropped by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013.
At 6’5″, 240 pounds, Miller ran a 4.53 40-yard dash and a 37.5 vertical jump. Qualities that are becoming much more the norm at the ever increasing hybrid tight end position in today’s NFL.
Now, nobody’s saying Zach is going to take over the world here, but he may have very well jumped Dante Rosario on next week’s depth chart and at the very least created a nice little competition to be Martellus Bennett’s backup.
— World-Herald Mavs (@OWHmavs) August 9, 2014
Throughout tonight’s contest, albeit preseason, Miller made the most of every opportunity and even had a few design plays drawn up to specifically get him the ball. Not common for a backup tight end. He put together a very nice game, finishing with six catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns — all coming in the first half.
From radio broadcast, Jay Cutler on Zach Miller: "He has been a nice addition for the offense and we’re excited to use him more.”
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) August 9, 2014
As mentioned before, Miller’s athletic ability was on display nearly every time the opportunity presented itself whether it was a leaping grab or shedding tackles to pick up a first down. He looked solid — another game like that and it won’t be long before #MillerTime becomes a thing.
The past two seasons Miller has been hampered with injuries which have led to his exile, but he appears to be fully healthy and hungry to make an impression here in Chicago.
As for the starter, Bennett’s status appears to be up in the air at the moment. Head coach Marc Trestman is clearly undecided whether he’ll be back with the team on Sunday when it resumes training camp.
“I can’t say that. It has not been decided one way or the other,” Trestman said. “We’ll continue to get focused a little bit on that over the next 24 hours, and certainly I’ll let you know on Sunday where we are.”