Why did the Chicago Bears cut Tanner Gentry? This was by far the biggest question most fans were asking on social media. It didn’t make a lot of sense at the time. For most anyway. He was easily their most impressive receiver in training camp outside of Cameron Meredith. Given how thin the team was at the position, it was hard to see their reasoning.
The kid is 6’2″ with great body control and a strong pair of hands. He had the biggest play of the preseason, a 45-yard bomb from Mitch Trubisky against the Titans. The assumption was that play did enough to cement his spot on the roster. Then the Bears cut him anyway. Gentry was soon signed to the practice squad, leading many to wonder why take the risk.
At last some clarification has come on this subject.
Bears cut Tanner Gentry over his route running
Chris Emma of CBS Sports caught up with the rookie recently to discuss his time with the team. When the subject of his release came up, the wide receiver was matter-of-fact over why the Bears relegated him to the practice squad.
“Tanner Gentry, the undrafted free agent out of Wyoming who became a training camp fan favorite, was waived and signed to the practice squad after the team wanted to see him improve his route running. While Gentry showed he can go for a deep ball, the Bears want to see him become more crisp with cuts.
“Continue to work hard in practice and work hard on my route running,” Gentry said last week. “Just continue to get better. When my name is called, I’ll be ready.
“(I hope to) just to be able to run a variety of different routes, be able to drop my weight at the top of routes and get in and out of breaks.”
Indeed this is a common problem for rookie wide receiver in the NFL. Most of them have only rudimentary understand of proper route running. That’s why so many who play as rookies struggle to get open. Pro defensive backs are much better in coverage than college defensive backs. It takes precise, quick cuts to gain any sort of separation on them.
Having played his college career at Wyoming, route running was obviously not high on the priority list. The competition he faced wasn’t elite, so he was able to win on sheer talent and athleticism. That doesn’t work on this level. So the Bears are working with Gentry to correct that issue.
Turns out with Cameron Meredith and now Kevin White likely done for the year, they may test his progress sooner than expected.