- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler notices a major difference in the talent level at receiver from when he first joined the team in 2009 to now, and credits the club’s personnel department led by new general manager Phil Emery.
Upon reporting for training camp, Cutler characterized the situation with all the new offensive weaponry “like Christmas.”
“It’s like Easter,” Cutler said, smiling. “We’re still in holidays. We’ve got a lot of guys. It’s fun; got a lot of weapons. Even the (undrafted rookie) free-agent receivers we’ve got, they’re getting better and better. They’re asking questions. I think Phil Emery and the scouting department, you could definitely tell the difference in the three years I was here (before) to (now). Even the guys that didn’t get drafted can play football.”
Players such as Brittan Golden, Chris Summers, Terriun Crump and Joe Anderson fall into that category, but Cutler singled out second-year veteran Dane Sanzenbacher for what he’s done so far at training camp while acknowledging the difficulty the former Ohio State standout might have in making the roster.
It’s unknown how many receivers the club plans to keep, but it appears at least five of the potential roster spots are locked down by Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Devin Hester, Eric Weems and Earl Bennett.
“Yeah, it’s gonna be tough. I don’t know how many we’re gonna keep,” Cutler said. A lot of the guys contribute on special teams. Dane (Sanzenbacher) and Eric Weems, they’re right there with those guys. You’ll have to make a hard case to cut either one of those guys because they’re good; definitely gonna get picked up somewhere else, and they’re definitely gonna contribute somewhere else if we do let them go.”
As for Sanzenbacher specifically, Cutler says if “you watch the film on Dane, you have to keep him (from) a quarterback’s perspective.”
“I know there’s numbers, (and) he’s got to contribute with (special teams coordinator) Dave (Toub) and the special teams group,” Cutler said. “But every single day he’s come out, he’s catching balls. He’s doing what he’s supposed to do. He’s gonna be hard to let go if we have to.”