Alshon Jeffery is unstoppable.
The second year man from St. Matthews, South Carolina…
…is one of the most physically imposing receivers in the game at 6’3″ and more than 215 pounds. His sub-4.5 speed makes him hell to deal with down the sideline and a realistic threat over the top on every snap. The existence of Brandon Marshall, one of the game’s best players, makes Jeffery a defensive coordinator’s afterthought. The Dom Capers and Rob Ryans of the world will intentionally walk Marshall and pitch to Jeffery. That approach has led to some remarkably productive seasons from lesser talents, i.e. Price comma Peerless.
Two questions hang over Jefferey’s 2013 season. (1) Can he handle the pressure and spotlight of being a big star in a big city? (2) Can he stay healthy?
There is no way to answer the first and speculation of any kind would be unnecessary and unfair. To this point Jeffery’s professional career has been a relatively anonymous one, plagued by injuries and overshadowed by the scope of Marshall’s 2012 work. Hell, watch NFL Network and drink every time someone calls him “Jefferies” and you’ll be pissing on the side of a convenience store by the end of NFL AM – TV’s worst show. But Jeffery is no longer a rookie in the development stage of his career. In year two he is being asked to make the leap.
There will be a fumble here or there. There will be a drop in a big spot. There will be a young player brain cramp when the football is in the air. Those errors will be accompanied by Tribune column space featuring words he’s rarely seen written about him during his football life. How he handles it may define his career in Chicago.
As for his health, it’s always been an issue. After a breakout sophomore season at South Carolina (88-1,517-9) he struggled to stay on the field as a junior and many believe his decision to jump the college ship early was based upon he and his team deciding it was not in the best interest of his body to continue taking a beating without monetary compensation. Needless to say Jeffery does the Bears no good in a jumper on Sunday afternoons, leaving Earl Bennett and Marquess Wilson and Joe Anderson to cover the slack.
No sir, he does not. This situation is clear. The Bears receiving corps is only dynamic if Jeffery is on the field. Otherwise it’s just Brandon Marshall and a bunch of other guys. Jeffery is the element that can elevate the Bears from a good passing game to a great one.
If you ask me, the only person who can stop him is himself.