Drake rallies behind Bears wide receivers

Darryl Drake is tired of hearing the critics put down his wide receivers.

The Bears position coach, one of the few original members of Lovie Smith’s staff from 2004 to remain, has heard them for quite a while. At times, they were justified. Now, as his group installs Mike Martz’s scheme in preparation for a critical season in Chicago, he’s heard enough.

The Bears tied for the league lead with the fewest drops (20) in the NFL last season. His group was ninth in receptions of 20 or more yards. The young wide receivers were maybe the only bright spot for an offense that otherwise fizzled. That’s a primary reason why Drake was spared in the coaching purge in January.

Martz has said he expects the group to be a strength of the team – put it in granite, he said. Drake feels the same way and he’s grown weary of the doubters and on Saturday he interjected race into the equation.

"It's not (an easy offense to learn),” Drake said. “But they're going to be fine. Any time you are learning something new, it's a transition and it takes time. But the guys are willing to put in the time and they're going to be fine. They are right on schedule. Coach Martz is the master of putting guys in the best situation that they can be in to be successful. He knows and is learning the abilities and the limitations they have, understanding both sides of it.

"As far as them learning the offense, I've got very intelligent guys. Contrary to what people think, that myth came out a long time ago and I've really never understood it. Maybe because we have some black kids that are not articulate all the time, (people think) we're not very smart. But that is such a myth. I really don't understand why it has been said because those guys are as smart as any guys I have ever been around.

"I may get in trouble for saying what I said, but that's how I feel. I've never understood it. They are as smart and as intelligent as any guys I have been around."

Beyond Devin Hester, it’s not a group many people outside of Chicago are going to know a lot about. Johnny Knox went to the Pro Bowl as a rookie last season for his work as a return man. Earl Bennett made strides in his first season. Jay Cutler’s favorite target might be Devin Aromashodu, who came on at the end of the season. If you trust Drake, you’ll know more about this group before midseason.

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