Under the Radar

All the talk at receiver has focused on the addition of Muhsin Muhammad, but another wideout the Bears signed in free agency could also have an impact.

After lining up at both inside and outside with the Titans the past four seasons, wide receiver Eddie Berlin is expected to compete with third-year pro Bobby Wade for playing time in the slot this season with the Bears.

"From what I've seen so far," said offensive coordinator Ron Turner, "he has really good, consistent hands, good quickness and a good feel, especially as an inside receiver."

Berlin had 20 receptions for 278 yards and 1 TD as Tennessee's third receiver last season.

With the depth chart unsettled after No. 1 receiver Muhsin Muhammad, Berlin will compete in training camp with Wade, Justin Gage, Bernard Berrian and draft picks Mark Bradley and Airese Currie for playing time.

Focus Turns to Defense
--The Bears are finished tinkering in the off-season with the NFL's worst offense.

They added go-to wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad in free agency, along with backup WR/special-teams standout Eddie Berlin. They drafted Cedric Benson to be their every-down, franchise running back and later added swift wide receivers Mark Bradley and Airese Currie. Kyle Orton was added to the QB mix with what the Bears considered a value pick in the fourth round.

The porous offensive line was bolstered by free agents Fred Miller, at right tackle, and Roberto Garza at guard.

"We wanted to be specific in our goals and who we went after," G.M. Jerry Angelo said. "If we got them great; if we didn't then we weren't just going to sign a player at a position just to have a new face on campus. We feel that the players we signed are quality players; they've got good history in terms of (the) free agent players.

"We wanted to get older players. We felt like we needed a little bit more veteran leadership, and we felt that Fred Miller and Muhsin will give us that as well as good football in terms of their play. So feel good about that. We wanted to stick to the offensive side of the ball and we did do that."

However, the Bears appear ready to bolster the defense.

Free agent LB Anthony Simmons visited Halas Hall earlier in the week and could be signed with the idea of him stepping into the starting lineup on the strong-side.

Simmons, who will turn 29 in June, was the team's first-round pick in 1998. He had more than 100 tackles three times, while starting 79 games and playing in 86.

Although he's still rehabbing from wrist surgery that cut his 2004 campaign short, the seven-year veteran would be ready by training camp.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"He has a successful history behind him. We're trying to improve our football team, and we've added another good football player to the fold, so we're happy about that. I'm excited about bringing a veteran in. We've talked about creating a competition, and what better guy to bring in than Doug Brien?"
-- Bears coach Lovie Smith on the addition of place-kicker Doug Brien.


Bear Report Top Stories