If you’re a lifelong Bears fan, I don’t need to tell you just how much a treat it was to watch wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery go to work last season. The Bears offense has been so bad for so long that the kind of season these two players put together was like a sip of water for Bears fans stuck in the desert for more than 20 years.
Marshall caught 100 passes for 1,295 yards and 12 touchdowns while Jeffery hauled in 89 passes for 1,421 yards and 7 touchdowns. To even comprehend the magnitude of what they did last season, we only have to look back to the Bears’ previous 100-catch player, a certain Marty Booker, who is not even in the same class as these two gifted men.
The way of the NFL is passing, and the Bears have been absent for longer than I care to remember. They’ve lacked not only playmaking wide receivers, but a quarterback to get the ball to them. In order to compete in this era of the NFL, the Bears have had to dink and dunk their way down the field with short routes from undersized receivers.
But those days are gone.
The shocking transformation the Bears made in just one season under Marc Trestman has led them to go from offensive doormat to offensive elite. And a big part of that reason is because of Marshall and Jeffery.
There are only a dozen or so genetic freaks at wide receiver in the NFL who possess a rare combination of size and speed, making them near impossible to defend for average-sized cornerbacks. And for a team to have even one of this type of receiver is a luxury, let alone two of them like the Bears have.
My concern heading into this offseason was that we would only get the pleasure of enjoying this pairing of Marshall and Jeffery for one more season, given that Marshall was heading into the final year of his deal. But with Marshall recently re-signing his extension, it has given us a renewed sense of excitement, as we can now continue to watch these two athletes wreak havoc on opposing defenses.
How much longer they remain together is unclear. Will Jeffery re-sign with the team when his contract is up in a few years? Will the Bears part ways with Marshall in order to retain Jeffery? These are questions for the future, which I don’t even want to think about right now.
For now, let’s just enjoy this rare commodity the Bears have and appreciate what they bring to the table, because the pairing won’t be around forever.