But bond, exactly, with what?
That is a common and direct slap at the Bears' current group of receivers that the team's management, coaching staff and wideouts loathe. The Bears like what they have at receiver, they keep reminding all. Still, the group's look for the season-opening Sept. 13th Sunday night affair at the Green Bay Packers could include more options, they insist.
The Bears will patiently wait for what else enters the market, especially players cut in camps, while using sessions like this week to discern how much this group can grow.
Earl Bennett (6-0, 203, 2nd year): Cutler is familiar with this receiver, since they both have a Vanderbilt connection. Not a lot of flash but deceptive and has a good feel for the position.
John Broussard (6-1, 176, 2nd year): Made a splash as a rookie in 2007 with the Jacksonville Jaguars, when he had a 47-yard touchdown catch against the Tennessee Titans. But he was cut by Jacksonville entering 2008 and then bounced around, first on the Giants' and then the Bears' practice squads. He's another receiver the Bears are eager to see more of in camp.
Devin Hester (5-11, 190, 4th year): The Bears expect big things from Hester as he becomes more comfortable in the receiving role and as he works to improve. His route-running, catching and myriad of intangibles have been on display thus far in offseason work. Rising. A player who, last season, according to Bears accounts, had 12 deep balls either overthrown or underthrown when he was running free.
Derek Kinder (6-0, 210, rookie): Good size, good hands and more of a possession receiver who could become a situational or red-zone specialist.
Eric Peterman (6-1, 200, rookie): The quickness and speed are there, and so is a penchant for making plays in a crowd. He likes to block, and that makes him well-equipped in the Bears' run-oriented mentality.
Brandon Rideau (6-3, 198, 3rd year): Injuries have slowed him in the past, but he is familiar with the Bears' system and has the ability and size to gain notice.
Besides Hester and maybe Davis, the lack of "names" among these receivers makes some Bears fans cringe.
They are not alone. One NFL team's personnel executive said of the group:
"There isn't one guy there, maybe Hester, that I'd be scared of. And Hester has the speed but has not really established himself as a dominant guy week in and out. They are young guys and nice players -- we really liked Iglesias and Knox -- but not a person that would stand out to a defensive coordinator that would make him worry what to do to stop that certain guy. The closest is Hester. I will say this: I can see why they are excited about them on paper. But as they always say, the game is not played on paper."
The Bears know that their passing game includes running back Matt Forte and tight ends Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark. Solid weapons. They also, especially with Cutler under center, believe that the quarterback makes the wide receiver, not the other way around. They believe the passing game is all about accuracy and putting the ball in the right spots, and that separation gained by receivers against defensive backs is often only a step. It's all about the quarterback, even under fire, putting the ball in the receiver's chest so he gets it in stride and can use his athletic ability to make plays.
And that is certainly Cutler's gift.
In prior practices, the Bears have seen Cutler's arrow-like arm, his commanding demeanor in the huddle, the way he has pushed some receivers, put an arm around others and ability to know when the difference is required. As much as Cutler has lit a fuse in the fan base, he is providing a calmness, an assuredness to the Bears offense.