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Bears’ top 2 receivers will be key for Mitch Trubisky

The Bears leaned on their receivers last year because they had to — a spate of injuries left them the worst tight end room in the game. This year, though, Trubisky should look for them because he wants to.

Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson (12) is congratulated by wide receiver Anthony Miller (17) after Robinson scored a touchdown against the Dolphins in 2018.
Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson (12) is congratulated by wide receiver Anthony Miller (17) after Robinson scored a touchdown against the Dolphins in 2018.
AP

Mitch Trubisky’s footwork was quicker in training camp, Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller said. The quarterback’s decision-making was better.

“I’ve been seeing changes in him that I’ve never seen before,” Miller said Tuesday.

Receiver Allen Robinson was with Trubisky in February when he began working out.

“For me, training with Mitch early in the spring and leading up into training camp, I was out there all those days with him when he was putting in the work,” Robinson said. “Constantly. Some days, there may just be a couple of us out there.

“To see him start is not surprising at all. When you put in the work, you get the results. . . . I saw him put the work in. So, I mean, it’s not surprising at all that he was able to improve his game how he set out to do.”

The Bears helped Trubisky — who was chosen as the starter Friday after a three-week competition with Nick Foles — by swapping in new pass catchers in the middle of the field during the offseason. Tight end Jimmy Graham is a red-zone threat, and rookie tight end Cole Kmet, the Bears’ second-round draft pick, has learned the offense quickly. Entering his 14th season, receiver Ted Ginn Jr. is still fast. Rookie receiver Darnell Mooney could be a secret weapon.

But to truly help Trubisky, the Bears’ top receivers — Robinson and Miller — must be his most dynamic weapons.

The Bears leaned on their receivers last year because they had to — a spate of injuries left them with the worst tight end room in the league.

This year, Trubisky should look for his receivers because he wants to.

Coming off a career-high 98 catches, Robinson is one of the NFL’s most under-appreciated receivers. His 1,147 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in 2019 were the second-highest totals of his career.

Miller, a second-round pick in 2018, had 52 catches for 656 yards last year, but his performance was too uneven. Receivers coach Mike Furrey challenged Miller this offseason after watching film of the Bears’ 2019 season opener, in which Miller played only 15 snaps.

“The reason why,” Furrey said last month, “is because you can’t trust him.”

But Furrey said Miller is starting to understand defenses, coverage and leverage. Last week, coach Matt Nagy said Miller “might have had the best training camp of a lot of players on this team.”

Miller said he has been given freedom within the scheme.

“I feel like I’m just more into what we have going as an offense,” he said. “I know every detail of what every guy has on every play. And that’s just playing a big part in what I can do in each play. You never know where I’ll be on the field on Sunday. I could play multiple roles in the offense now. That’s what I mean by that freedom — just me being more into what’s going on has opened a lot of doors for me within the offense.”

The uncertainty around Robinson this preseason comes in the form of negotiations for a contract extension. Although general manager Ryan Pace said there’s no hard deadline to work out a deal with Robinson, he likely has until Saturday night. If not, 2020 could be Robinson’s last year with the Bears.

“I’m not focused on that,” Robinson said. “I’m focused on the season. We got a game this week, so that’s where my concern is, focusing on the Detroit Lions right now [in the season opener Sunday], going out here trying to help my team get a ‘W.’ All that other stuff, I let it play out however it plays out. But that’s not my concern right now.”

That doesn’t surprise Miller.

“A-Rob’s always been focused,” he said. “I haven’t seen a change in his mindset at all. He’s always been the same A-Rob.”

Trubisky needs him to stay that way — and for Miller to remain the new Miller.