Chicago Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery did not participate in Monday’s practice at Halas Hall, still hindered by the calf strain he suffered during a practice on Aug. 12. Marquess Wilson was also a spectator Monday, sidelined himself after suffering a hamstring injury during Saturday night’s 23-11 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
That left the first-unit offense significantly short-handed once again as the Bears dived into preparation for their third game of the preseason. It’s too early to say yet whether either Jeffery or Wilson will return to practice this week or play in Saturday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Jeffery, coach John Fox asserted, is still “day to day” with his injury. And the Bears will certainly focus more on assuring their top receiver’s ability for the season opener than pushing him back into action for exhibition action this week.
“When they clear him medically and we feel like it’s the smartest thing to do, he’ll be out there,” Fox said. “So I won’t be able to tell you (where he is) until we get closer to game day. … We’d prefer him out there and he’s doing everything he can to get out there. But it’s nobody’s fault. It’s not his fault. It’s not our fault. It’s part of football.”
During team drills at the end of Monday’s practice, the three receivers working with quarterback Jay Cutler and the starting offense were Eddie Royal, Josh Bellamy and Rashad Lawrence. That’s not exactly the murderer’s row of big-play targets that Cutler and offensive coordinator Adam Gase envisioned. But the Bears will push forward, hoping Jeffery and Wilson get well soon, the story said.
A calf injury kept Alshon Jeffery from playing in Chicago’s preseason opener and Bears General Manager Ryan Pace said that the wideout will be on the sideline again this week, although he added that the team isn’t worried about a long absence.
“He has a mild calf strain,” Pace said, via ESPNChicago.com. “He’s not going to participate versus Indianapolis. But this isn’t a long-term injury with Alshon,” Pace said. “We don’t anticipate that [he’ll] miss the Green Bay game.”
In PPR formats, Jeffery finished #8 in 2013 and #10 last year. With Brandon Marshall gone, there is no serious threat to his targets, so he should once again post WR1 numbers. Sure, Marc Trestman is gone, but it’s not like the Denver passing game suffered under Adam Gase. Jeffery will play the Demaryius Thomas role in Gase’s offense. The calf injury is a minor concern, and while the Bears have lied about injuries before (e.g. Kevin White), we would think that they'd be making major moves at the position if they thought Jeffery would miss regular season action.
As if the news that rookie receiver Kevin White needs surgery on a stress fracture in his shin wasn’t bad enough, the Chicago Bears will also continue holding their breath with distressing injury news about top receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Jeffery suffered a calf strain last week, sat out the team’s preseason opener against the Dolphins on Thursday night and isn’t likely to return to practice for more than a week. On Saturday morning, general manager Ryan Pace framed Jeffery’s injury as minor while confirming that the fourth-year receiver won’t be back on the field at any point before the team’s next preseason game Aug. 22 in Indianapolis.
“This isn't a long-term injury with Alshon,” Pace asserted.
The Bears are going to be very careful with Jeffery after the news of White broke today. The Bears GM also said he has no reason to worry that Jeffery won’t be fully healthy again by the start of the regular season four weeks from now. But any outside skepticism surrounding the team’s injury updates seems to be warranted. The Bears cast White’s shin injury as minor when training camp opened, labeling the receiver as "day to day," the story said.
This is good news for the Bears; it doesn't sound like the injury is serious. In PPR formats, Jeffery finished #8 in 2013 and #10 last year. With Brandon Marshall gone, there is no serious threat to his targets, so he should once again post WR1 numbers. Sure, Marc Trestman is gone, but it’s not like the Denver passing game suffered under Adam Gase. Jeffery will play the Demaryius Thomas role in Gase’s offense.
"He did it in a practice before we came [back to Chicago]," HC John Fox said. "He'll be day to day."
Fox said he is unsure when Jeffery will receive the necessary medical clearance to practice.
"He'll be back in Bourbonnais because he has to get treatment," Fox said. "But I can't [say when he'll back on the practice field]. I'll keep you posted."
This is a bit concerning but the walking boot may just be a precaution. For now, we'll take Fox at his word that Jeffery is truly 'day to day.'
Monday, August 10, 2015, 8:33pm
Alshon Jeffery was the MVP of Monday's practice, making a handful of excellent catches.
"On a hot, humid day like this was today, I thought he did a heck of a job competing each period," said receivers coach Mike Groh. "When he was in there it was full go. It was as hard as he could go, as much as he could give us offensively. He made plays. He's got to be that guy that Jay can count on in those sticky situations, and I think he's becoming that."
Receiver Marquess Wilson also excelled in Monday's practice, making a one-handed grab deep down the middle of the field.
Wilson has performed well in training camp just like he was doing a year ago in Bourbonnais before sustaining a broken collarbone that sidelined him for the first nine games of the season.
"He made a great catch today, didn't he, making that play in a two-minute situation for us," Groh said. "I think he's had a productive camp, really kind of picked up where he was last summer.
"I'm pleased with his progress. He's a guy that we believe has enough skills to be a productive player for us in this offense and in this system."
Meanwhile, first round pick Kevin White can't get on the field because of a shin injury and his stock continues to fall a bit. He did do some running but the team said they won't rush him and he may not play in the preseason. With Wilson standing out so far, and veteran Eddie Royal around, White will have some catching up to do.
There's a belief throughout the Bears organization that the eighth-year veteran WR Eddie Royal could ignite the offense, a potential blowtorch to the wick of a unit that knows it has more firepower than it showed a year ago, when it finished 21st in the NFL in total yards (327.1 per game) and 23rd in scoring (19.9 ppg).
"Eddie's one of the smartest guys around," Alshon Jeffery adds. "He has a knack for this game and a feel for the right places to be at the right times."
Quarterback Jay Cutler shows similar excitement when he describes Royal's versatility and savvy. Offensive coordinator Adam Gase expresses unabashed optimism when he thinks of all the ways Royal's presence should loosen defenses. General manager Ryan Pace exudes positivity when he considers Royal just might be the offseason acquisition that pays the biggest dividends in 2015.
With a Chicago offense offering up a little more skill than San Deigo's, Royal may have a better chance to put up more consistent fantasy numbers as a forgotten man. Royal was hit and miss last year, having a big week or two which always seemed followed by a clunker. That's been the case for Royal with the Chargers though. Royal is 55th on our list and has deep league potential at least. He's perhaps a late-round option to take a chance on producing more consistent fantasy numbers.
Monday, August 3, 2015, 3:52pm
Here are some notes from Bears camp on Monday:
The results are precisely in line with goal No. 1 for Cutler, to reduce the turnovers that have been his undoing and unfortunately his hallmark through nine NFL seasons. Audibles have been minimized to reduce decision-making, long considered a weakness in Cutler’s overall game.
- That was the good news of the day, that the Bears No. 1 quarterback has not given the ball away. The bad news is that Bears backups were not quite so pristine in their execution. Jimmy Clausen threw his first pick of camp, overthrowing his receiver in coverage and landing the ball in the hands of cornerback Al Louis-Jean. No. 3 Shane Carden continued to struggle, missing several open receivers but also having a ball go off the hands of wideout Ify Umodu and picked off by safety Anthony Jefferson. That was followed shortly by an interception by veteran safety Sherrod Martin.
- The offense threw another creative surprise at the defense but if failed to connect when Marquess Wilson appeared to run the proper route, at least based on the look and hands on hips by Cutler. The two talked after the play with offensive coordinator Adam Gase in an effort to clarify the missed connection.
- Alshon Jeffery sat out practice after dinging his shoulder on Sunday, leaving the Bears without either of what was projected to be their 1-2 receiver tandem. Kevin White remains on the PUP list, doing some cardio work to maintain fitness, but his camp debut is uncertain.
Jeffery, who is only under contract through 2015, is the favorite to assume the No. 1 wide receiver role previously occupied by Brandon Marshall.
“I’ve liked what he’s done and like the way he competes,” Fox said. “He’s got a big wingspan and a big ball radius as far as plucking catches away from defenders. I’ve liked what I’ve seen.”
In three years with Chicago, Jeffery has 198 receptions for 2,921 yards and 20 touchdowns over 42 games (36 starts). He became only the fourth player in franchise history to record consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons and has eight career 100-yard receiving games. Jeffery was not entirely healthy for much of 2014, but ranked in the NFL's top-15 in receiving touchdowns, receptions and receiving yards.
Royal got off to a fast start in his first year, catching 91 passes for 980 yards and five touchdowns while Jay Cutler was throwing for a career-high 4,526 yards en route to the only Pro Bowl appearance of his career.
It was the only year that the two men worked together, but both remember it fondly and Royal says they’re putting in the same work now that they did then to build the same chemistry.
Bears WR Marquess Wilson is still in the mix, even though Chicago drafted Kevin White No. 7 overall. Because White missed the final week of practice, Wilson received increased reps with the first and second teams. HC John Fox seems impressed by Wilson, who suffered a broken collarbone in training camp last year that derailed his sophomore season.
Rookie receiver Kevin White was held out of the entire minicamp this week with what John Fox indicated was an undisclosed medical issue. The Bears coach, however, said he fully expects White on the field for the first training camp practice July 30.
"Kevin is doing a good job for us, picking up the offense," Cutler said. "He has a bright future."
An undisclosed injury kept White out of the Bears' minicamp practice Tuesday, coach John Fox indicated.
This raises a few eyebrows at 4for4 headquarters, but we still expect White to start opposite Alshon Jeffery. It's a reminder that rookies carry extra risk since their roles are not defined, especially early in the summer.
ESPN's Mike Sando:
Eddie Royal's resurgence over the past two seasons and his early grasp of the Bears' new offense has him in great position to play a prominent role right away. The staff seemed excited about him when I visited Bears camp earlier in the offseason. Royal has 10 red zone touchdowns over the past two seasons, tied for ninth in the league among wide receivers.
Royal could continue to be a headache for fantasy owners. He's production tends to be spotty and comes in bunches, which makes it difficult to know when to use him. There's also the possibility that he draws targets away from Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White, Martellus Bennett and/or Matt Forte.
“He’s a great player,” Jeffery said, rare praise for a rookie. “He’s an explosive player. We can’t wait for the season. What he’s going to do on the field is going to be great.”
White should start immediately and is a threat to post WR3 (or even WR2) numbers as a rookie. The team is installing a new offense under OC Adam Gase, and QB Jay Cutler hasn't been the model of stability, but there are plenty of targets available for White in Gase's offense.
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