LAKE FOREST, Ill. – After catching a career-high 34 passes last season, Zach Miller anticipates being a featured weapon on the Chicago Bears' offense, especially now that Martellus Bennett plays in New England.
“I think everyone, as a playmaker, you expect to be [a top weapon],” Miller said at the Bears' organized team activities. “I’m going to have an opportunity to show that ability and really kind of just take over, kind of how we left off last season. I showed there were opportunities where I could make plays. That’s kind of how I’m going to approach how we begin the year.”
Miller, 31, made plenty of plays alongside Bennett last year, leading the Bears with five receiving touchdowns. Miller made a one-handed game-winning touchdown grab against San Diego in Week 9, and the next week he had five catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over St. Louis.
A free agent in the offseason, Miller re-signed with Chicago for two years, with $3 million guaranteed, after a brief flirtation with the Los Angeles Rams.
The belief is that with an increased workload on offense, Miller could double his output from 2015.
“I just want to win,” Miller said. “I don’t set personal, like, ‘I need this many catches, X amount.’ I got money things that matter [incentives built in the contract], but those take care of themselves. I just want to win. If we produce and we play well, those things will kind of take care of themselves. I’m sure there are certain goals that I’ll set when the season gets closer. But at this point, it’s just doing what we can do to get better on a daily basis.”
Miller’s offseason priorities include assuming a leadership role in the tight ends’ room, where outside of Miller and Rob Housler the Bears are light on experience.
“There’s a leadership role that I have to embrace and take over, which I’m comfortable doing," Miller said. “I did that kind of that my entire career, as far as the quarterback position through college. I’m comfortable in that role. There’s definitely leadership value to it.
"But things [have] got to carry over, how we finished the year out. That kind of started at the end of last year; that transition [to being the No. 1 tight end] kind of started to happen. There’s not much that I’m doing differently off the field, meeting room, practice-wise. I practiced that way even when Marty was here. When he was the No. 1 guy, I was still practicing like I was that guy. So now, it’s sort of just carrying it over and making it happen in the games.”