With Marshall sidelined, Jeffery out to prove he’s the future
If there’s something worth watching for during the remaining three games this season, two Chicago Bears receivers deserve your attention.
The Bears will be without wide receiver Brandon Marshall for the final three games of the season, after he suffered a lung injury vs. the Cowboys. With Marshall out, it gives receiver Alshon Jeffery the chance to prove he’s the future of the Chicago Bears at the position.
Starting tonight, Jeffery will slide into the number one receiver slot with Marshall out. The Bears are out of the playoff race, so one can argue that there is not much to play for and even much to root for. But that’s not the case for Jeffery, who should be a cornerstone for this organization on the offensive side of the ball as it moves forward.
With Marshall out and Jeffery the number one guy, he can show the Bears that he deserves an extension; which the team can offer after this season. Jeffery will become can become an unrestricted free agent after the 2015 season and with Marshall’s contract, he likely be using that as a measuring stick for his own.
Jeffery had a slow start to the season with 20 receptions and just 1 touchdown in his first four games. But the last four games, Jeffery has started to turn it on and is on pace to match his career-best season from last year. The 6-foot-3 receiver has 29 receptions and five touchdowns in those games and now should get more looks in the final three games.
In these past four games he’s been targeted 43 times, asserting that Cutler has been looking his way more often. That shouldn’t change with Jeffery now being the main target in Chicago. Coming into the season, Bears fans had high expectations of a big play offense that can score points in bunches. That hasn’t been a reality thus far, instead it’s been a major struggle. So why not try and pinpoint something successful this season? Jeffery can certainly do that with his play over the next few weeks.
But Jeffery isn’t the only receiver who is out to prove he belongs here.
After an injury kept him out for the first half of the season, Marquess Wilson will now be the number two receiver in the offense. Heading into the season there was a lot of hype surrounding the second-year guy out of Washington State as he trained with Marshall and Jeffery all offseason. But that hype went away when Wilson went down with an injury in training camp.
In four games this season, Wilson has logged just 5 receptions for 40 yards. But that’s not all Wilson’s fault. Being the number three receiver in the system often means your the fourth or fifth option on a lot of plays. That’s due to Martellus Bennett having a great season and Matt Forte being a constant threat out of the backfield for the Bears.
Now Wilson has the chance to make an impact and hopefully provide a bright spot as the Bears move into the future.
With the Bears season crumbling away, many offseason decisions will need to be made to ensure success in the future. And Brandon Marshall, the teams number one receiver won’t be here forever. Now as the organization decides whether or not to blow this all up and restart, they will need to make a decision on Jeffery who has shown flashes of being a top receiver in the NFL.
You could be playing for a lot, Alshon.