There is little doubt what the Cowboys game plan on defense will be to beat the Bears, take away Brandon Marshall in the passing game. The NFL is a copy cat league which means teams are going to to play a lot of two deep man coverage on Marshall until the Bears can show they can beat it.
The player most capable of making the Cowboys pay is rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery is first among rookies in receiving yards and is working his way into the role of solid number two receiver.
That role tonight is likely going to need to take on a whole different level of production if the Bears are going to win on the road. Jeffery needs to be the go to guy tonight and Jay Cutler (if he still has a brain left in his head) needs to make Jeffery a priority in the passing game.
His production tonight is all the more critical with Earl Bennett battling a hand injury that his him listed as questionable on the injury report. We know what the Bears have in Brandon Marshall, and the Cowboys will work to take him away. Devin Hester can complain about his role in the offense, but his role is diminished because he’s a one-dimensional receiver at best. Jeffery has to step up under the bright lights of Monday Night Football.
Jeffery however isn’t going to have an easy go of it as he faces another rookie who has started out equally as strong as he has, Morris Claiborne of the Cowobys.
The Cowboys traded up to the sixth overall pick in the draft to select Claiborne who was seen by many as a lock down cornerback. He is has good size at 5-foot-11 185-pounds, but that puts him a full four inches shorter than Jeffery.
With all the hope and promise surrounding Jeffery and Claiborne both, tonight would be a great way for Jeffery to assert himself at this level.
Despite both prospects playing in the SEC, Jeffery and Claiborne have never faced each other on the field. This will be their first match up and for Jeffery a necessary victory to prove that he can play against the best CBs at the NFL level.
Jeffery can out jump and out physical Claiborne and he needs to show that tonight. Jeffery needs to be the go to guy in the red-zone and take the pressure off of Marshall.
Talk before the season was Jeffery was likely to be the full-time starter after the third game of the season, game four is tonight so Jeffery should take his play to that next level.
What has to happen is Jeffery being targeted a high number of times through a variety of routes and schemes. Treat Jeffery like a number one receiver and make him show that he has what it takes to be a play-maker in prime time against another highly regarded rookie.