Brandon Marshall's hip problems have prevented him from participating much in offseason drill work for the Bears. Alshon Jeffery sat out minicamp with a hamstring injury. Devin Hester isn't even wearing the same-colored jersey as the receivers — he no longer is a part of the offense.

So that has left a cornucopia of snaps, and opportunities, for others.

And if this were September, Joe Anderson might be starting on Sunday.

The second-year undrafted free agent has been practicing with the first string quite a bit this offseason, and he has taken advantage of it.

"We've seen good improvement in Joe," wide receivers coach Mike Groh said. "As it has slowed down for him mentally, his speed has been more evident on the field. He's made good progress and had a very productive spring."

Anderson might be the most unlikely Bear. A product of a 4-7 FCS team at Texas Southern who caught 47 passes as a senior, he was not exactly a hot commodity on draft day.

But the Texans apparently took a liking to him after he had a killer workout for them. They had some long conversations with him in the days leading up to the draft, leaving Anderson with the impression they would take him in the fourth round.

They did not take him at all, nor did any other team.

That put a damper on the draft party his family held for him. Afterward, a discouraged Anderson found himself alone in his mother's bedroom, crying, praying and telling God he wouldn't give up.

The next morning, the phone rang. On the other line was Bears player development director Isaiah Harris, offering a tryout at rookie camp.

"I said, 'I'll take that,' " Anderson said. "All I asked for is an opportunity. That's all I needed."

Anderson was so impressive in his three-day tryout that the Bears signed him and brought him to training camp. He made the practice squad coming out of the preseason.

At one point, two teams were trying to sign Anderson to their 53-man roster from the Bears' practice squad. Anderson turned them down to stay.