The Case Against Alshon Jeffery
Alshon Jeffery dealing with a hamstring injury during practice? It must be football season. The Chicago Bears wide receiver struggled to stay healthy last year, missing 7 games due to various injuries. Earlier this month Jeffery missed a week of practice due to his hamstring. The injury concern, combined with the Bears offense looking horrendous this preseason, has me avoiding Jeffery everywhere.
Jay Cutty and the Bumbling Bears
In Week 3 of the preseason, the Bears first team offense looked horrific. Commonly used as the dress rehearsal for the season, the first half was ugly. The Bears were out-possessed by the Kansas City Chiefs 12:54 to 8:06. The team ran just 18 plays that resulted in 20 total yards and punted on every possession except when quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked to end the half. Cutler finished with -7 passing yards in the first half and ended the day 6 for 15 for 45 yards. The Chiefs are one of the better defenses in football and we try not to overreact to the preseason, but those numbers are startling. This also isn’t the first time Cutler has struggled with consistency.
Since 2010, Cutler has cracked the top 15 in passing yards just once.
|Jay Cutler||Passing Yards Rank|
The team also became very run heavy since head coach John Fox took over. The team had the sixth-most rushing attempts in the league last season and finished 25th in passing attempts. During his time in Denver, the Broncos finished in the top 12 in rushing attempts every single year he was the coach, finishing 1st in 2011. Cutler’s inconsistencies and another year of run heavy offense concern me the most when it comes to Jeffery.
Soft Tissue Injuries Linger
Jeffery played just nine games last season. Last year in the preseason, he missed time due to a calf strain. He played in the opener, but then pulled his hamstring and was absent from Weeks 2-5. He returned and performed well until he pulled his groin in Week 10. He then injured his shoulder in Week 11, re-hurt his calf in Week 15 and then missed Week 16 with a hamstring issue. Looking at his last two seasons, he’s played a full 16 so normally I would just write last year off as an outlier. However, Jeffery was already having trouble with his hamstring again last month. Soft tissue injuries like this are known to linger.
He returned to practice after a week but this is a huge red flag for me. Jeffery has had the whole offseason to recover and is already having issues with it. Head coach John Fox just makes the situation even worse. He’s easily one of the most secretive coaches in the NFL when it comes to injuries. Rookie wide receiver Kevin White last year had dealt with a stress fracture early in the season. Both Fox and White expressed to the media that White didn’t have a stress fracture. Sure enough, shortly after their denial, there were reports saying that White indeed had a stress fracture.
Soft tissue injuries scare me much more than broken bones and Jeffery is at risk to continue to suffer from the nagging injuries. If he does, we will never know where he’s at in his recovery as Fox will keep everyone in the dark for as long as he can. The injury risk combined with the secretiveness of Fox makes me want to avoid him at his third round price.
If the Front Office Doesn’t Believe In Him, Why Should You?
Jeffery is currently playing under a one-year franchise tag at just over $14 million. The Bears tried to get a long-term deal done, but the numbers were just too far apart. After failing to get a deal done, reports came out saying that there were questions of whether the Bears view Jeffery as “a true No. 1 receiver.” The report continued to mention that based on the negotiation tactics of the team, they view him more as an elite WR2.
This just goes to show that the team doesn’t believe Jeffery is the future for them. It’s no question someone will give him WR1 money next spring if he can stay healthy, but what do the Bears know that we don’t? The team expressed its concerns on Jeffery’s health, commenting that “he needs to stay healthy.” If the team really believed in Jeffery’s talent and health, they wouldn’t have hesitated to pay him.
There is no way I am taking Jeffery at the top of the 3rd Round when are receivers like Demaryius Thomas, Randall Cobb, Jarvis Landry, and Donte Moncrief going in the late 3rd or early 4th. Soft tissue injuries linger and it’s very concerning that he’s already had to miss time. The Bears offense looks like it’s on its way to another last place finish and will take Jeffery down with them.