When looking at the Chicago Bears roster going into training camp, there isn’t a lot of uncertainty regarding most of the starting jobs. Almost every spot on offense and defense seems to have a likely guy ready to step up. Only quarterback remains a true unknown as Nick Foles and Mitch Trubisky prepare to do battle. Still, is there a possibility for an upset anywhere on the depth chart?
Possibly. One name that people might want to pay closer attention to is Riley Ridley. Remember him? The Bears selected the wide receiver out of Georgia in the 4th round last April. After that, people didn’t see a lot of him. In the entirety of the 2019 season, Ridley logged just 108 snaps on offense total over a span of five games. That isn’t a lot of playing time.
It didn’t stop him from making an impression though. Ridley was targeted five times in that stretch, catching four passes for 69 yards including a clutch 32-yard bomb on 4th and 9 in the season finale to set up the winning field goal. Yes it was against mostly backups, but the progress was clear.
Chicago Bears could leave the door open for Ridley
Right now the Bears have two of the top three wide receiver spots locked up. Allen Robinson is the obvious leading man while Anthony Miller did enough last season to establish himself as the primary slot guy. What the team doesn’t know yet is who will fill that other outside spot. The one vacated by Taylor Gabriel. Most seem to think that will be earmarked for incoming veteran Ted Ginn Jr.
A logical idea given his experience. However, it’s important to remember something.
Ginn has zero contact with the Bears’ quarterbacks and has only just started absorbing the offense. He’ll be operating on a learning curve due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, Ridley is entering his second season in the system. That advantage could be huge if he’s able to make a strong initial impression when camp opens. The Bears drafted him for a reason. They feel he can be a good player.
The opportunity is there for him. Matt Nagy said competition will be roster-wide. So nobody is being handed anything. It must be earned.