The Chicago Bears are rolling offensively and getting healthier defensively. But their Week 5 opponent, the Minnesota Vikings, is dealing with injuries and uncertainty. The uncertainty comes from the injuries, namely to stud wide receiver Justin Jones who landed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.
It’s good for the Bears. But, in announcing the tough blow for the Vikings, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter made an additional note of just how abysmal the Bears have been offensively.
“Vikings play the Bears this week, but they will be without Justin Jefferson, who has 5,396 career receiving yards in 55 NFL games —- more than any Chicago Bears’ player in their 100+ year history,” Schefter posted on October 9. “The Bears’ all-time leading receiver is Johnny Morris with 5,059 receiving yards.”
Vikings play the Bears this week, but they will be without Justin Jefferson, who has 5,396 career receiving yards in 55 NFL games —- more than any Chicago Bears’ player in their 100+ year history. The Bears’ all-time leading receiver is Johnny Morris with 5,059 receiving yards.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 10, 2023
The Bears could get cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson and Kyler Gordon — who was designated to return from injured reserve this week — back for this week. Gordon has been out since Week 1 with a broken hand while Johnson has already declared that he will play this week. They could also get safety Eddie Jackson back from a foot injury, though there has been nothing concrete for him yet.
Chicago welcomed back offensive linemen Nate Davis (personal) and Teven Jenkins (IR – calf) who both have missed time this season.
For as brutal as their wide receiver stat may be, it is less so when considering their quarterback history.
Bears WR Struggle Underscore QB Woes
The Bears are the only NFL franchise to never have a quarterback throw for at least 4,000 yards in a single season. Third-year passer Justin Fields has set that goal for this season. But, through five games, he has 1,143 passing yards.
That is a 3,429-yard pace for the campaign and well short of his goal. Even if his 300-plus-yard-per-game pace over the last two games holds, he will be roughly 300 yards short.
The additional context makes the Bears’ lack of a top wide receiver statistically since 1967 all the more understandable, albeit less palatable. What’s more, the next player on the list is Harlon Hill who last suited up for the Bears in 1961. After that is a modern player, though it is one that couldn’t wait to get out of town in Alshon Jeffery.
Jeffery finished his Bears tenure 67 yards from surpassing Hill and 510 yards from Morris.
Chicago drafted Jeffery, a former collegiate tight end in his freshman year at South Carolina, in the second round in 2012. He had amassed his yardage in a five-season span before letting Jeffery walk as a free agent in 2016.
Jeffery won a Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017 and helped Philly knock the Bears out of the postseason in the Wild Card Round in 2018.
DJ Moore Has Chance to Rocket Up Bears’ All-Time List
New No. 1 option D.J. Moore is just five games into his Bears’ tenure. But he comes with the skill set and resume to instill confidence that he can quickly rise up the ladder in the franchise’s all-time ranks for the position. Moore has three 1000-yard seasons under his belt with the Carolina Panthers with a hodgepodge of quarterbacks.
Jeffery had two in his entire Bears tenure and also missed time in 2012, 2015, and 2016.
If Moore – who already has 531 yards this season as the primary beneficiary of Fields’ hot streak – continues with what he has shown, he could surpass Jeffery in a fraction of the time with Hill and even Morris in the crosshairs, health permitting.