BOURBONNAIS — For all the focus on Mike Glennon, Mitch Trubisky and Mark Sanchez, quarterback is nowhere near the most controversial or important position on the Bears’ offense.
In fact, it’s completely settled, whether fans like it or not.
Glennon is the starter, and the only way Trubisky gets on the field this season is if Sanchez gets cut and Glennon gets hurt, or if Glennon and/or Sanchez lead the Bears to something like a 3-9 start and the club decides to throw the rookie to the wolves.
Wide receiver, on the other hand, is a total unknown.
Is Kevin White a No. 1 wideout or a top-10 bust?
Does Cam Meredith still have a long climb to get to his ceiling, or will he struggle with top defensive backs now watching him more closely?
Can White, Markus Wheaton and Victor Cruz stay healthy?
Do Cruz, Kendall Wright and Rueben Randle still have gas in the tank, or are they running on fumes?
Is there more than meets the eye to Josh Bellamy, Deonte Thompson or Daniel Braverman?
Is the next Meredith, an undrafted free agent, hiding in camp in plain sight?
For the group to become a success, White has to become a star. In his third season, there is no wiggle room left in evaluating how well the Bears used the seventh overall pick in 2015.
In spite of all his injury setbacks, White is confident in himself and the group.
“I think we got a lot of guys that can do a lot of things,” he said. “Guys like Victor Cruz, Kendall, Wheaton, along with myself, Cam, DT, Josh Bellamy, Brave. We all can do whatever the coaches put us in position to do. I do have a lot of confidence for us.”
Meredith is the only pass catcher on the team with a clearly defined spot on the depth chart. He’s locked in on the outside, and he has earned White’s confidence.
“Cam plays a lot faster,” White said. “He understands the game better. He has confidence. He’s a good receiver, does a lot of things well.”
White makes him sound like a No. 2.
Of the veteran group, Wheaton will get the most opportunities early thanks to the dollars spent on him in free agency.
When Wheaton arrived, he was asked where he saw himself on the depth chart.
“I see myself as a deep threat that can make plays down the field,” he said. “You can label it how you want to label it, but I’m here to make plays. I want to score touchdowns. I want to win games.”
Still, following the money, Cruz is most likely to round out the top four pass catchers. While he and Wheaton likely will compete for time in the slot, Cruz believes he’s expected to do more than just make plays.
“It comes natural. If you have to sit a guy down and tell him to be a leader, it kind of adds a different energy to it,” he said. “It just kind of comes with the territory, being my eighth year and being through the ups and downs that I’ve been through, it just kind of falls in my lap.”
White and Wheaton have the special speed and athleticism NFL teams crave at wide receiver.
In Cruz’s first three full seasons (2011-2013), he caught 241 passes for 3,626 yards and 23 touchdowns, including a 1,536-yard rookie campaign. Wright had 94 catches for 1,079 yards in his second year with the Titans playing for Dowell Loggains, now the Bears’ offensive coordinator.
Should the Bears get anything from Wright, Randle, Bellamy, Thompson or Braverman, that would be icing on the cake.
If the next Meredith is here, his name is Tanner Gentry out of Wyoming.
There is a lot that can go wrong, but should White and his fellow receivers finally play with just some decent luck healthwise, there’s a lot that could go right, too.
If it does, the Bears’ season could take on a whole different spin.
Hub Arkush is the executive editor of Pro Football Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @Hub_Arkush.