He’s No. 1: Bears WR Dontrelle Inman gives Mitch Trubisky a go-to guy
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With two receptions Sunday against the Lions, receiver Dontrelle Inman finally will have an even ratio of catches to media scrums in his three-week tenure with the Bears.
The 6-3, 205-pound Inman has been a go-to guy more for reporters than for quarterback Mitch Trubisky since the Bears acquired him in a trade Oct. 25 with the Chargers — a sign of just how desperate the Bears and their fans are for a receiver who can get open and catch the ball.
Inman can do both, which makes him the Bears’ No. 1 receiver after only one game with them. Actually, he earned that distinction the moment he was acquired, based on his 58 receptions for 810 yards and four touchdowns with Philip Rivers and the Chargers last season.
That Inman was a spare part with the struggling Chargers but instantly has become the cat’s meow with the struggling Bears hasn’t been lost on him.
‘‘It feels awesome,’’ Inman said. ‘‘I always say it’s good to feel wanted in anything you do, so I cherish that. I’m humbled by it. And I’m appreciative of it.’’
With that attention comes responsibility to produce. And, for what it’s worth, the first impression he made was a good one. Inman caught six passes for 88 yards against the Packers. More than the numbers, he looked like a receiver Trubisky could believe in, count on and look to.
It’s rarely wise to get too excited too soon about anything the Bears do, especially on offense. But it sure looked like the start of a productive connection between a young quarterback with elite potential and a receiver he believes in.
‘‘It was definitely a building block; I want to build off of that,’’ Inman said. ‘‘I want to be great for this organization. I want to be great for my teammates. Just try to do everything I can to succeed.’’
Our desperation to see anything good in the passing game makes it difficult to trust our instincts after all these years, all these quarterbacks and all these receivers. But Trubisky’s trust in Inman as the game progressed seemed palpable.
‘‘Absolutely,’’ Inman said. ‘‘You can always look in the quarterback’s eyes when he’s starting to gain that confidence. You can see that he’s looking for you to depend on him to finish the play.’’
Inman noticed it. Fox analyst Chris Spielman noticed it. Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains not only noticed it but noticed that we noticed it.
‘‘It’s a big guy that was in the right spots, a calming presence for Mitchell,’’ Loggains said in his weekly news conference. ‘‘I think you guys felt, as the game [ensued], Mitchell’s confidence with him grew. And confidence is only born from demonstrated ability. Mitchell needed to see that. He needed to see Dontrelle go out and be in the right spots. He did a nice job with it.’’
The key to Inman’s success isn’t a secret: He gets open. And he gets open early enough for Trubisky to find him with his first read.
‘‘It’s tough in this league because [defenders] get paid, too,’’ Inman said. ‘‘And it’s one of the things you long for. . . . A receiver who can get open against man coverage is a legitimate receiver in this league.’’
Indeed, he is. And if Inman can continue to get open as defenses become more aware of him, the Bears might have something. Because Trubisky definitely will find him. It’s an enticing combination that makes the last-place Bears worth watching.
Follow me on Twitter @MarkPotash.