Alshon Jeffery Silencing Critics

20130801_mm_bearscamp0133bearsThere is nothing quite like getting called out by your employer. All of us have been there at some point. Whether you failed to do a job properly or maybe just got a bit too lazy for the bosses liking, there comes a time for almost everyone where you are made an example of, and often, it doesn’t paint the greatest picture of you.

This past Sunday, I stood in that very position. It all started earlier this season, when Chicago Bears second year wide receiver Alshon Jeffery put up the first of his 200-plus yard games. That week on the Bears Cast, a debate on what type of receiver Jeffery was to this point as well moving forward took place.

Although Jeffery had just had a dominant performance, albeit in a loss, I was far from convinced. Citing a lack of ability to create separation, I had convinced myself that Jeffery’s monster performance was purely based on the defense strictly focusing on shutting down Brandon Marshall. I mean look at it, they did just that and the Bears lost.

Nothing like grasping for any conceivable reason to support an argument that was slowly crumbling in front of me.

The start of the season didn’t get off to the greatest of starts for Jeffery. While it seemed quarterback Jay Cutler was doing everything in his power to spread the ball around, Jeffery had trouble getting touches. There was no bigger example of that than in week two, when Jeffery managed just one catch for 11 yards against the Minnesota Vikings.

Two weeks later, Jeffery would begin to make his impact, catching five passes for 107 yards and a touchdown in Detroit. That still couldn’t prepare most for what was to come the following week against New Orleans. Jeffery went off, catching 10 passes for 218 yards and a score, prompting the lively debate I discussed earlier.

Jeffery would go on to be a consistent receiver throughout the middle part of the season, silencing critics by showing his ability to be a potential number one receiver.

Then this past Sunday, Jeffery was at it again. Almost as if to avenge his disappearance in week two against Minnesota, Jeffery would dominate in the Metrodome, catching 12 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns, breaking his own franchise record for yards caught in a single game that he had set just eight weeks earlier.

When the Bears brought in Marshall, there was a sigh of relief amongst those who are consumed with Bears football. The thought of having a legit number one receiver was a calming feeling that was unknown to Bears fans. What we didn’t know at the time, was there was a change in culture coming at Halas Hall. An offensive minded shift was about to occur, and it would lead to not just one top wide receiver, but another who will be able to step into Marshall’s place once he moves on.

It’s never easy to admit when you are wrong. In this case, however, I couldn’t have been any further from the truth.