Pro Bowl wide receiver Marty Booker caught 197 passes for 2,260 yards and 14
touchdowns the past two seasons, but he has just 8 catches for 58 yards, a
7.3-yard average, and no touchdowns in two games this season.
At that pace, Booker would finish the season with 64 catches for 464 yards. He and new quarterback Kordell Stewart, a Pro Bowl player in 2001, don't seem to be on the same page. Booker, who averaged 12.2 yards on his 97 catches last season, said there's nothing different or exotic about the defenses he's facing.
"It's not like I'm seeing a lot of double teams or anything," he said. "I don't know. I'm still trying to figure that out, too.
"All I can do is just go out there and run the routes that are called. If I get open, and (Stewart) chooses to go to the other side, that's his choice. If I'm open, and he decides to come my way and throw the ball to me, that's good. But it's not my decision. I just go out there and run the routes and when it comes my way just try to make a play."
Clearly, though, the league's least productive offense needs greater input from the closest thing it has to a difference-maker. In the Bears' four wins last season, Booker had 32 catches for 465 yards. Coach Dick Jauron knows Booker's number has to be called more often if the offense is to improve.
"We'll have to do a better job of getting the exact play called that we want and getting the ball delivered to Marty," Jauron said. "You can't guarantee that he's going to be open, but generally when Marty's the first read, the ball goes there, open or not. We trust him to come up with the football. We definitely need to get it to Marty more."
With Stewart having completed just 27 of 55 passes for 232 yards with 2 touchdowns, 3 interceptions and 8 sacks, it's apparent he needs a go-to receiver, although Dez White has 6 catches for 95 yards.
"A lot of guys haven't gotten involved in a lot of the games because we haven't gotten too many drives going or had an opportunity to keep drives going and get too much accomplished," Stewart said. "The time is going to come when guys are going to start getting the ball, so that's really not an issue right now."
Actually it is. But Stewart's point about the inability to sustain drives is valid. The Bears have run just 102 offensive plays this season, while their opponents have run 145.
--OG Chris Villarrial is expected to miss 3-5 more weeks with an MCL sprain
of his left knee suffered in the season opener.
--LB Bobbie Howard, a backup but a special-teams standout, won't do much at practice this week because of a hamstring injury that sidelined him in the second half of the Vikings game in Week Two.
--S Cameron Worrell, an effective special-teams player, will have his injured knee examined on Wednesday.
--P Brad Maynard, who has only had two punts blocked in his six previous NFL seasons, has had one blocked in each of the first two games this year.