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updated: 9/1/2013 7:46 PM

Anderson's confidence is catching for Bears

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  • Bears wide receiver Joe Anderson turns after catching a touchdown pass Thursday against the Cleveland Browns in the last preseason game at Soldier Field in Chicago.

      Bears wide receiver Joe Anderson turns after catching a touchdown pass Thursday against the Cleveland Browns in the last preseason game at Soldier Field in Chicago.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

Joe Anderson was too busy taking care of business in the days leading up to final cuts to worry about whether he'd be on the Bears' 53-man roster.

He's also way too confident to fret about the situation.

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All week long Anderson talked as if he belonged on the roster, and then he went out and proved it Thursday against the Cleveland Browns with 4 catches for 64 yards in the first half.

"Joe Anderson was the same Joe Anderson we saw all during training camp, playing hard, playing fast and being very efficient and catching the football," coach Marc Trestman said. "He showed it again (Thursday). He made plays. He made some awkward catches.

"Everything we saw during practice he has proven he can do under the lights, no doubt about it. He's right there in the mix. He has shown that he can certainly play in this league."

With Earl Bennett doubtful to be back at 100 percent from the concussion that kept him out of the entire preseason, Anderson will get his chance on opening day against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at Soldier Field as the No. 3 wide receiver behind Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.

The moment won't be too big for the first-year player who was undrafted out of Texas Southern, despite catching 154 passes in three seasons for 2,010 yards.

After spending the first 14 weeks of last season on the Bears' practice squad, Anderson played in the final three games on special teams.

As important as the third phase is, Anderson believes he's capable of a lot more.

"I always take advantage of my opportunity, whether it's in practice or in a game," he said. "Whenever my number's called I'm going to be there, whether it's a run play or they're throwing it to me. Whatever it is, I'm going to show up. That's what I've been doing all my life, just taking advantage of opportunities.

"I've always felt confident. I believe in myself, regardless of who else does. When you believe in yourself, you win.

"So, whether it's one play the whole preseason or 10 plays, that's the play that matters."

That's why Anderson's performance against the Browns didn't really impress him. It was just something to build on.

"There's always room for improvement," he said. "When you talk about trying to be great, you're not going to settle. I want to be great. I don't just want to be good, so I'm going to keep working.

"I work hard at practice and when the lights come on in the game I work hard in the game. I don't want to be an average guy in the league, I want to be the best, so I'm going to keep working at it."

Anderson helped veteran Jordan Palmer post a 98.2 passer rating against Cleveland, and the quarterback appreciated the effort.

"He ran some great routes, did some stuff after the catch," Palmer said. "I was very impressed; loved his demeanor. (He's a) playmaker; I like him a lot."

Unlike other young players who flash in practice but fade under the bright lights, Anderson relishes the moment.

"It's all about what you're going to do when the lights are on," he said. "It's easy to do it in practice, but can you do it when it matters, too?"

The Bears are about to find out how Anderson does when it matters.

•The Bears named seven players to their practice squad Sunday, including linebacker Jerry Franklin, cornerback Demontre Hurst, quarterback Jerrod Johnson, tight end Fendi Onobun, fullback Harvey Unga, defensive end Aston Whiteside and wide receiver Ricardo Lockette.

All but Lockette and Johnson were with the Bears in training camp. One practice squad spot still is available.

•Follow Bob's NFL reports on Twitter @BobLeGere, and check out his Bear Essentials blog at dailyherald.com/sports.

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