People can sometimes get a bit too caught up in raw numbers when evaluating a player. Anthony Miller might be the best example. On the surface, his 423 yards last year look modest while his seven touchdowns were best on the team. In truth, the rookie Chicago Bears receiver was one of their best targets all season long. This despite playing with an often-dislocated shoulder that gave him all sort of pain.
If one watched the tape, there were plenty of instances where he was open but either didn’t get thrown the ball or the ball was overthrown. It’s quite likely his numbers would’ve been significantly better had Mitch Trubisky been able to find him a bit more often. Something the two no doubt discussed at length to their frequent film sessions together this offseason. Perhaps what people don’t appreciate most about Miller is his versatility.
He isn’t some one-trick pony. He does everything well. This explains why Pro Football Focus tagged him as one of the best “triple threat” receivers in the NFL. A player who can separate from defensive backs, run after the catch, and consistently catch the ball.
“If teams are lucky though, they’ll find themselves with a player who does all three at a high level over the course of a season — a wide receiving triple threat — a player who can come down with the tough contested catches, separate from defensive backs and rack up the yards after the catch.
Chicago’s second-year slot man caught 33 of his 54 targets a season ago, recording 423 yards, seven touchdowns and 12 first downs in the process. The shifty Memphis product created separation on 60.0% of his targets — surpassing the average of 54.6% — and he recorded 5.24 yards after the catch per reception and a contested-catch rate of 62.5% to better the league averages of 4.40 and 45.1%, respectively.”
Anthony Miller is anxious to prove he’s way better than before
Miller is a competitive guy. Very competitive. Though his rookie season went well, especially by Bears standards, he is hardly satisfied with it. He feels he could’ve and should’ve done more. The arm problem got in the way a lot. He couldn’t run with any degree of aggressiveness for fear of it popping out of place and couldn’t reach for high throws either. This is a big reason he is so anxious to get back on the field.
Offseason surgery saw the problem fixed and he’s spent the time since recovering. Watching teammates practice in minicamps and OTAs was near-torture for him. So much that he’s been pestering head coach Matt Nagy every day, asking questions. Expectations are that Miller will be 100% ready for training camp. One can imagine he’ll hit the field with a level of intensity that might even surprise teammates.
If he’s able to stay healthy this season, this balanced skill set and added experience in the offense could lead to one of the biggest breakouts in recent memory for a Bears receiver.