Bears Believe More Mature Miller Ready For Breakout

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(670 The Score) Entering the 2019 campaign, Bears receiver Anthony Miller believed he was in for a breakout season.

The Bears held a different perspective. They saw a player in his second year who wasn't ready to play a key role in their offense quite yet, though not for a lack of talent. So Miller played in just 21% of the Bears' snaps in their season-opening loss to the Packers last September.

Miller's surge ended up coming later in the season, which dovetailed with a breakthrough in his approach to the game.

"I just don't think from a maturity standpoint, a preparation standpoint, that Anthony probably was 100% all in," Bears receivers coach Mike Furrey said of Miller. "I think he still had that college mentality that ability was going to be able to allow him overcome whatever he wanted to overcome in games. Talent can only get you so far when you get to the pros. You got to start learning the details of what you're supposed to do, the quarterback's got to trust where you're supposed to be. I just think he was really lacking in those areas.

"You go back to that Packers game sitting there thinking one of our best players isn't on the field. The reason why is because you can't trust him. I think that light went off for Anthony toward the latter half of the season."

Miller was targeted just once in that opener against the Packers. He caught only 17 passes in the Bears' first nine games as it became clear he had lost favor with the coaching staff.

Then it all clicked for Miller, who caught 35 passes and two touchdowns in the Bears' final seven games before suffering a shoulder injury in the regular-season finale.

This offseason, the Bears signed 14-year veteran receiver Ted Ginn Jr. Along with the example that top receiver Allen Robinson sets, Furrey feels Miller has a pair of strong influences who can help him learn.

In Furrey's eyes, Miller's success came because of his maturation. Now, he sees this as the season for the 25-year-old Miller to truly break out.

"It's just his continuing growth to understand what it takes off the field and how he's got to prepare during the week to be successful and allow these things to happen during the game," Furrey said. "I really believe he's learned it.

"From a maturity standpoint, from a development standpoint of being a pro, those are the things he's working on. This is the first year I can actually can sense there's an intent there. He gets it.

"He's a heck of a football player."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.