The Bears have any number of players capable of delivering big numbers on the offensive side of the ball this season, but one newcomer, in particular, has caught the eye of an analyst ahead of the 2019 season.
ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson predicts all-purpose talent Cordarrelle Patterson to be the breakout performer on Chicago’s offense this season. It’s a bold prediction, to be sure, but a sensible one if you (1) are willing to ignore the history of Patterson not living up to being a first-round receiver and (2) talk your way through how many ways he can impact the team.
To start, Dickerson envisions the Bears using Patterson in various roles within the offense. Because of Head Coach Matt Nagy’s obsessive pursuit of mismatches, it’s safe to expect Patterson to be deployed as a wide receiver (both outside the numbers and in the slot), a running back who lines up in the backfield (behind or next to the quarterback), and a rusher who gets the ball on end arounds, reverses, and jet sweeps. And because the Bears offense throws out so many different formations and looks, Patterson could be used in any role at any given time, out of any number of formations. Just thinking about the possibilities makes me giddy.
Seriously, get this guy the ball as often as possible, sit back, relax, and watch the good things happen:
And if that’s not enough, Dickerson even hints at the Bears using Patterson as a throwing option. So while I don’t think Patterson is going to push Chase Daniel as QB2, the Bears did see Anthony Miller and Tarik Cohen throw passes last year. Who wants next?
The only thing that could keep Patterson from a breakout year is that he is one of many Bears who could conceivably come through with a big year.
Allen Robinson is a Pro Bowl caliber receiver with an 80-catch, 1,400-yard, 14-touchdown season under his belt. Taylor Gabriel is just two seasons removed from averaging 16.5 yards per catch on a team that was an epic defensive collapse away from knocking off the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Trey Burton was part of a Super Bowl winner and is regarded as a tight end with upside, particularly in this offense. Anthony Miller was an All-American receiver as a senior at Memphis. Riley Ridley and Javon Wims were talented receivers at an SEC powerhouse in Georgia. Adam Shaheen has some prospect pedigree that (if healthy) could be tapped into this season. And I can’t believe I’ve gone this far without mentioning the likes of Tarik Cohen or David Montgomery.
There are times when I have to stop and pinch myself when thinking about the wealth of talent the Bears have throughout the offensive unit.
Then there is Patterson, a two-time Pro Bowl return specialist whose speed and knack for making big plays is impossible to ignore. So much so, the Patriots did everything possible to get him involved on the offense. And if the breakout happens, Nagy will have to send Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels a “thank you” gift basket for setting the foundation and creating a blueprint to what would otherwise be an unforeseen breakthrough year.