In order for Chicago to overcome the expected loss of wide receiver Cameron Meredith, whom the team fears suffered a torn ACL on Sunday, White has to finally play like a guy worthy of being the seventh overall pick three years ago.
Meredith isn’t a Pro Bowler, but he was by far the Bears' most productive receiver last year with 66 receptions for 888 yards and four touchdowns.
Meredith is a former undrafted free agent. White is a top-10 pick.
Since 2015, White’s appeared in only four regular-season games because of two separate fractures in his left leg. He has 19 career catches for 187 yards.
And the only real headlines White made this training camp occurred when he publicly disputed Bears receivers coach Zach Azzanni’s assertion that he and White watched the receiver's old West Virginia highlight tape for motivational purposes.
That press conference wasn’t a good look for anyone.
Petty stuff like that won’t cut it anymore. Instead of bristling at what he perceives as media slights, White needs to reward the Bears’ faith in him, and do so quickly.
White was the only other big receiver on the roster before the Meredith injury. At 6-foot-3, 216 pounds, White is built to dominate defensive backs with his rare combination of size and speed.
That he hasn’t done so yet in games or consistently at practice is alarming, but still somewhat explainable given the injury history. But White no longer has the luxury of time on his side.
The Bears have been waiting all summer for their receivers to step up.
Rookie Tanner Gentry has made the most plays of anyone at the position since camp opened. But Gentry is undrafted out of Wyoming. He's not supposed to outplay a former first-round pick.
Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains trusts Kendall Wright, whom he coached in Tennessee. Wright is on the team and will play a big role, but his numbers declined every season over his final seasons with the Titans.
Veteran Markus Wheaton has barely practiced because of an appendectomy and left finger surgery.
Victor Cruz doesn’t seem like he’s going to be a factor.
You probably won’t see Meredith again until 2018.
Alshon Jeffery now plays for Philadelphia.
The stage is set for White to blossom into the player he’s supposed to be. The plan was always for White one day to become the Bears' No. 1 wide receiver. He'll never have a better opportunity to earn that distinction than now.