Bears' Jeffery lets his play do the talking
Ask Brandon Marshall what time it is, and he will tell you how to build a watch.
Ask Alshon Jeffery what time it is, and he might just point to his watch … or tell you to ask Marshall.
Jeffery doesn't talk much, but his play on the field this season has spoken volumes about the time and effort he has put in since last off-season to become the complement to Marshall the Bears' offense lacked last season.
“It started in the off-season,” coach Marc Trestman said. “He changed his body. He started to eat the right foods, and he worked out with Brandon to get his body right so he could elevate his game.
“Then he came here in OTAs and training camp and practiced like it was a game every day.
“Every single day he came out and was physical and practiced as hard as he could. I said this in training camp, from the moment we got out on the field, from stretch to individual drills, everything was at full speed.
“And now we're seeing a little bit of the product of all of his hard work.”
Jeffery's 218 receiving yards Sunday were the most in the 94-year history of the franchise.
A week earlier the 6-foot-3, 216-pound receiver produced his first 100-yard game, catching 5 passes for 107 yards. He had a TD catch in each game, and his 429 receiving yards lead the Bears and are eighth in the NFL.
Jeffery could be the poster boy for the adage that countless coaches have used over the years: “You play like you practice.” Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer has been impressed by Jeffery's attention to detail and his consistent effort.
“Alshon is very efficient,” Kromer said. “Every day in practice, every walk-through, he does a very good job of running routes exactly the way you want him to run, blocking where you want him blocking.
“You can see we use him a lot in the blocking schemes in the run game, and he has been a dynamic player.”
The Bears also have used Jeffery to carry the ball, and he has picked up 57 yards on three attempts. Whether it's catching the ball, running it or blocking for a teammate, the 2012 second-round pick out of South Carolina has prepared himself to excel in all phases.
“Practice does (that), and his mentality and his football intelligence and his willingness to work and overcome adversity on a daily basis,” Trestman said. “When you practice against (cornerbacks) Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings every single day, and you're competing against them, that's got to make (you) better.
“We're not practicing against cards (running scripted plays), where guys are sitting back there and letting you catch the ball.
“You've got to earn every route and every catch. You've got to have your techniques down or Charles and Tim are going to beat you every time.”
It will be interesting to see if the New York Giants pay more attention to Jeffery than the New Orleans Saints did, which could open up the field for Marshall and tight end Martellus Bennett.
The balance in the passing game has been significantly better than last season, when Marshall accounted for 41 percent of the catches and 45 percent of the receiving yards.
Marshall still leads with 31 catches, but he's followed closely by Jeffery (28), Forte (27) and Bennett (25).
“Last game they doubled ‘B,' sometimes triple-teamed him and Alshon had 1-on-1 coverage,” Bennett said. “When you have a presence like (Marshall), other guys have got to step up.
“If they're going to double-team him, whoever has the 1-on-1 coverage is going to win.
“Now they might have to double-team Alshon. I like it when he balls out. I'm rooting for him. He's a great kid. He works every single day. Now Brandon gets a chance to eat. This is going to be beneficial for everybody in the offense.”
Jeffery couldn't have said it better himself … and he wouldn't want to.
• Follow Bob's NFL and Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.