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The Bears acquired receiver Dontrelle Inman from the Chargers. (AP)

Fixing the Bears’ pass game involves much more than Dontrelle Inman

SHARE Fixing the Bears’ pass game involves much more than Dontrelle Inman
SHARE Fixing the Bears’ pass game involves much more than Dontrelle Inman

Dontrelle Inman could be the receiver who brings balance to the Bears’ run-centric offense — or he merely could be another blocker for it.

Opening up the Bears’ offense and having rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky throw more involves more than acquiring Inman from the Chargers for a conditional seventh-round pick Wednesday.

Here is a look at the Bears’ passing game — or lack thereof — knowing Inman could be inactive Sunday against the Saints.

Run-first mindset

John Fox loves to share the story of how his Broncos beat the Chiefs in 2011 despite quarterback Tim Tebow completing only two passes.

Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains jokingly called it the game Fox “talks about more than any.”

But it’s important to remember that Trubisky faced three of the league’s best defenses — the Vikings (No. 4 overall), Ravens (No. 7 passing defense) and Panthers (No. 3 overall) — in his first three starts. The Bears ran to alleviate the pressure on Trubisky.

“He has faced some tough opponents,” Loggains said.

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first game plan also works better with leads. The Bears’ defense provided the offense with that against the Ravens and Panthers, which led to the 71-23 pass-to-run disparity.

A different approach is expected for the more offensive-minded Saints.

“We’re excited to go out and be aggressive and throw the ball and be balanced this week,” Loggains said.

Mitch has missed

The Bears’ receivers often are criticized, but Trubisky said his film “definitely” includes missed opportunities. He has completed exactly 50 percent of his passes (24-for-48).

Trubisky either has held the ball too long, struggled to get through progressions quickly or failed to anticipate routes through coverage.

It’s all part of the learning process for him. Tight end Zach Miller and receiver Tanner Gentry were open and missed during the past two games.

Trubisky said he tells his teammates during film review that he missed them.

“You’ve got to be honest, you’ve got be real, and you’ve got to be authentic, and I continue to do that,” Trubisky said. “I’ve got to better in my reads; I’ve got to be better in my timing. Nobody’s perfect, but you just keep it real, continue to work on stuff. They know I’m going to stay after practice and rep it even more.”

Inman fits where?

The Bears wanted to add a veteran, especially with Markus Wheaton (groin) sidelined. But Loggains has to figure out where Inman fits.

A Virginia product who spent two years in the Canadian Football League before joining the Chargers in 2014, Inman has only two catches for nine yards in four games this season.

Last year, Inman broke out with 58 catches for 810 yards and four touchdowns in 16 starts. But the Chargers still drafted receiver Mike Williams with the seventh overall pick this year.

At 6-3 and 205 pounds, Inman adds size, but according to Pro Football Focus, 61.9 percent of the routes he ran in 2016 were from the slot.

Veteran Kendall Wright, who leads Bears receivers with 20 catches, is primarily a slot receiver.

“It’s very difficult to bring a guy in,” Loggains said. “It’s obviously advantageous to go through training camp, to go through [organized team activities], and build chemistry and timing and really own the playbook and understand it.”

Follow me on Twitter@adamjahns.

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

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