Chicago Bears: Dontrelle Inman isn’t special talent, but he absolutely helps offense

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Dontrelle Inman won’t set the world on fire, but he can help make this Chicago Bears offense more interesting anyway.

First off, let’s get this out of the way: Dontrelle Inman is no Alshon Jeffery. He’s no Martavis Bryant, either. Truthfully, we still have to see if he’s even Cameron Meredith-level for the Chicago Bears.

Until he plays a few games and gets integrated into the offense, we won’t clearly know what he brings.

But unless he got dramatically worse at football after last year’s breakout season, he’s going to help the Bears at wide receiver. In fact, his presence could open up a few doors, even if just a crack, for a very limited offensive game plan. And just in the nick of time, too.

Plus, I don’t think Bears fans need to worry Inman messing with the chemistry of the wide receiver group. Almost as soon as he steps on the field, he’ll make the Chicago Bears a better offensive team, if only a little.

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He could help every receiver, especially Kendall Wright

Now, when people take stock of the Inman trade, questions arise about how exactly the Chicago  Bears intend to use him.

He has the size at 6’3″, 205 to play outside, but his skill set may be best-suited for the slot. Much like Meredith, he has both good speed and very solid route-running ability.

In all likelihood, he’s easily better than any option the Bears could play on the outside. But if they want to use him a lot in the slot, how could this move impact Wright, currently the Bears’ best wide receiver?

Surely, another slot-type guy would just take snaps away from Wright, right? Why would you get another guy with a similar skill set rather than an outside receiver?

In my view, the answer is: it doesn’t matter where you play Inman. His presence should help Wright, and young receivers Tanner Gentry and Tre McBride, no matter where he plays. Plus, the Bears have far more incentive to play Inman and Wright together than to leave one on the bench.

Consider this: putting both Inman and Wright on the field gives you two legitimate threats from the slot that can threaten a defense up the seam or over the middle. Furthermore, if defenses insist on playing man, the Bears have another guy equipped to punish them.

And, should the Bears spread the field with three or four receivers, having both guys on the field could draw attention away from Gentry and McBride, especially in zone coverage.

Throw Zach Miller and the occasional throw to Tarik Cohen into this, and the Chicago Bears just made things way more interesting. Again, Inman’s no world-beater, but he’s a solid player that has proven he can produce. Just adding one more such player to the Bears’ offense will give teams more to consider.

He can stay in on running downs

Now, the part where Inman may diverge from Wright a little bit, which could lead to him out-snapping Wright eventually, could be his size and ability to function more effectively as a blocker.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen the Chicago Bears use their wide receivers as little more than extra blockers in the run game. And to their credit, they’ve done a decent job of it. In fact, Gentry has quietly developed into an excellent blocker from the receiver spot. PFF has him ranked the third-best blocking receiver in the league in fact.

Whereas Wright hasn’t gotten onto the field in those situations as much, Inman’s size puts him in better stead to stay on the field when the Bears want to run the ball. Plus, he has shown he can do a solid job blocking on the edge.

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Inman won’t duplicate his 58-catch, 810-yard performance for this season at this point; he has just two grabs for nine yards this year.

But just by showing up to play, he’s already easily one of the Chicago Bears’ top two receivers. Hopefully, he can get on the field this Sunday against the New Orleans Saints and show us a glimpse of what he can do.

Whether anyone wants to admit it, this offense could badly use a spark from him.