Why aren't the Bears targeting Jeffery more?

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • "Why don't the Bears throw more to Alshon Jeffery?" It's a valid concern. Jeffery has only been targeted 31 times through five games, the same number as teammate Eddie Royal and 5 less than Kevin White, who played slightly more than 3 ½ games before he suffered a fractured leg.

    "Why don't the Bears throw more to Alshon Jeffery?" It's a valid concern. Jeffery has only been targeted 31 times through five games, the same number as teammate Eddie Royal and 5 less than Kevin White, who played slightly more than 3 ½ games before he suffered a fractured leg. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 10/13/2016 7:23 PM

One of the most frequently asked questions/complaints regarding the Bears' offense is: "Why don't they throw more to Alshon Jeffery?"

It's a valid concern. Jeffery has only been targeted 31 times through five games, the same number as teammate Eddie Royal and five less than Kevin White, who played slightly more than three-and-a-half games before he suffered a fractured leg.

 

Forty-eight receivers have been targeted more than Jeffery, including Tampa Bay's Mike Evans, who has been targeted 62 times, twice as many as Jeffery. The Bears' sometimes-go-to guy has 22 receptions, three more than White and three less than Royal and Bears tight end Zach Miller.

Jeffery has produced 394 yards on his 31 targets, an exceptional average. Even among players with as many as 40 targets, there's only one with more yards than Jeffery: the Pittsburgh Steelers' Sammie Coates, who has 421 yards on 31 targets.

Jeffery has refused to complain abut his role in the offense, even after last week's 29-23 loss when he was open in the end zone on the final play but went unnoticed. He was asked if injured starter Jay Cutler got him the ball more frequently than Brian Hoyer.

"All I know is we didn't win the game," Jeffery said. "I'm not concerned about who gets me the ball more or none of that. We didn't win the game. That's all that matters. As long as we win, that's all I care about. I don't care about who gets me the ball more or none of that."

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Jeffery is averaging a team-best 17.91 yards per catch. Among NFL players with 20 or more catches, only the Atlanta Falcons' Julio Jones (21.54) and the Detroit Lions' Marvin Jones (19.22) have higher averages.

So Jeffery is clearly making the most of the targets that he does receive.

Still, Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains is committed to a balanced attack and not forcing the ball unnecessarily, and quarterback Brian Hoyer has distributed the ball accordingly.

"Brian's done a real good job of trusting his progressions, and going through his progressions," Loggains said. "(He's) not trying to force balls and (he's) doing the right thing. Alshon's productive. When it's one-on-one, the ball's going to go to him. When they double-team him, the ball's going to go somewhere else."

The distribution of targets has been noticeably well-balanced: White (36), Royal and Jeffery (31), Miller (29).

"I'm just trying to go through (progressions) where I'm coached," Hoyer said. "A lot of times, Alshon's a big target, so people are trying to take him away, and that's why other people get the ball. If they don't take him away, we hit some big plays to him. That's just the way it works out. That's just the nature of the game."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Royal is averaging 11.4 yards on his 25 catches, commendable for a slot receiver, and he's got 2 touchdowns. Miller is averaging 9.2 per on his 25 receptions and has 3 scores. Cam Meredith stepped in last week for White with 9 catches for 130 yards. White had 19 catches for 187 yards before he was hurt.

"We'll continue to put (Jeffery) in positions, and if the coverage takes it that way, then he'll go there," Loggains said. "If not, we're more than pleased with Cam Meredith, Eddie Royal, Zach Miller, Josh Bellamy, all the guys who are playing -- Kevin White when he was playing.

"The coverage will dictate where the ball goes."

• Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.

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