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Choosing Sides

Choosing Sides: How many Bears players will catch passes?

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Prior to every Bears game this season, we ask a panel of experts one question to test their clairvoyant powers. The panel consists of ChicagoBears.com writers Larry Mayer and Nathan Smith; former Bears players Alex Brown, Patrick Mannelly and Jim Miller; and one guest celebrity.

This week's question is: How many different Bears players will catch passes in Thursday night's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

Our guest celebrity this week is Adam L. Jahns, senior writer of The Athletic Chicago.

Larry Mayer, ChicagoBears.com
Prediction:
Nine different Bears will catch passes against the Buccaneers.
Comment: I expect star receiver Allen Robinson II to lead the Bears in targets as he has in each of the first four games this season. But I expect quarterback Nick Foles to spread the ball around Thursday night, with Jimmy Graham showing the Buccaneers' Rob Gronkowski that he's not the only veteran tight end who can still make plays, especially in the red zone.

Nathan Smith, ChicagoBears.com
Prediction:
Seven different Bears will catch passes against the Buccaneers.
Comment: The Bears seem to be moving toward Darnell Mooney as the No. 2 option behind Allen Robinson. Anthony Miller will be utilized as well, along with Jimmy Graham and David Montgomery. Those will form the bulk of Nick Foles' targets, with some situational possibilities for others, especially in the red zone.

Alex Brown, former Bears defensive end
Prediction:
Six different Bears will catch passes against the Buccaneers.
Comment: Darnell Mooney will lead the Bears in receptions. I think he will be the one that the Bucs will leave one-on-one, and he has shown he has the ability to make plays in those situations.

Patrick Mannelly, former Bears long-snapper
Prediction:
Eight different Bears will catch passes against the Buccaneers.
Comment: I am going to stick with the Bears' average number of receivers with eight per game through four games. And, as always, Allen Robinson will lead the team in targets and catches. I hope to see rookie tight end Cole Kmet used more this week in the passing game.

Jim Miller, former Bears quarterback
Prediction:
Seven different Bears will catch passes against the Buccaneers.
Comment: Allen Robinson should be targeted the most—10 times at the very minimum—because he's the Bears' best offensive player and should be targeted more than any other player every single week. I think Robinson snags eight grabs for 92 yards and one touchdown. Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles runs exotic blitzes, a lot like Baltimore. There will be one-on-one situations for Robinson and the other six Bears pass catchers to make plays.

Guest celebrity: Adam L. Jahns, The Athletic Chicago
Prediction:
Eight different Bears will catch passes against the Buccaneers.
Comment: Regardless of who has been at quarterback, the Bears have done a good job of spreading the ball around to different players over the first four games this season. It should continue, too. The numbers haven't been overwhelming, but I still expect to see an uptick in targets and production for tight ends Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet. Getting running back David Montgomery going in the passing game also sounds like a priority for the Bears. All that said, receiver Allen Robinson will still lead the way in targets and receptions against the Bucs and beyond. And that's just fine. He should as one of the best receivers in the NFL.

Recap of last week: ChicagoBears.com writer Larry Mayer came the closest to predicting how many yards Bears quarterback Nick Foles would pass for in his first start of the season. Foles completed 26 of 42 passes for 249 yards, just one shy of Mayer's prediction of 250.

How many Bears players do you think will catch passes Thursday night? Vote for your answer below.

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