The 2012 NFL regular season kicked off last week, and today we kick off one of many Chicago Bears Huddle stock reports for the 2012 year. Let’s begin on . . .
Brandon Marshall: Rising
The Colts’ secondary did all they could to contain Marshall, but whether it was Vontae Davis or Jerraud Powers, Marshall had his way throughout the afternoon. Marshall was targeted 15 times Sunday, and of those 15, he caught nine of passes for 119 yards and a touchdown.
The Bears finally have an elite WR who fans can be confident will win against just about any CB lined up across from him.
Alshon Jeffery: Rising
It looks like the Devin Hester full-time WR experiment is coming to an end. In the first half of the game you saw Jeffery only featured in the red zone portion of the field. In the second half, however, Jeffery’s reps increased beyond the red zone, and it didn’t help Hester that Jeffery proved to be a downfield threat on the 42-yard TD strike.
I wasn’t expecting Jeffery to be a full-time starter until maybe midway through the season, but his insertion into the starting line-up may come sooner than that.
Devin Hester: Falling
Two catches for 27 yards is not the production you want to see from a WR paired with Brandon Marshall. This is mainly because the presence of Marshall gives that player the opportunity to face one-on-one coverage a majority of the time.
Hester’s starting role could be diminishing, or maybe this was part of the “Hester Package.”
Kellen Davis: Falling
“He can do anything the good tight ends in this league can do.”
That quote is from Lovie Smith back in January in his end-of-season press conference. The Bears have been through a month of training camp, four weeks of preseason play, last week’s opener, and we are still waiting for Davis to flash said potential.
This past Sunday was simply a very bad game for Davis, who just seemed like he didn’t have a good understanding of what was going on. If Davis keeps struggling, he might go from “doing anything the good TEs can do,” to sitting on the bench in place of Kyle Adams.
J’Marcus Webb: Rising
There’s nothing wrong with your eyes, Webb had a solid preseason that carried over to the regular season, and he deserves the credit. Yes, he has dodged guys like Brian Orakpo, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Dwight Freeney, but you can only block the guys placed in front of you. He’s done that.
Henry Melton: Rising
Melton had himself a great game against the Colts, collecting two sacks, and he also made his presence felt throughout the game against the run. Just like last year, Melton has gotten off to a fast start, but fans want to see him bring that same intensity week-in and week-out, which Melton seems to understand.
Tim Jennings: Rising
Jennings backed up Pro Football Focus’ “Secret Superstar” proclamation with a great performance against the Colts this past Sunday. Jennings smothered the Colts’ young WRs and managed to tally two spectacular interceptions and some great passes defended.
This was a classic case of a player carrying over a strong training camp into the regular season. If he keeps up this momentum, you can make the argument that he’s the best defensive back on the team.
Nick Roach: Falling
The Bears might think they have a solid replacement in Nick Roach, should Brian Urlacher miss playing time, but in my opinion, the Bears are only fooling themselves. Roach is a solid starting strong-side LB, but his instincts diminish when he is asked to play the middle LB spot.
The Bears’ defense can’t afford to lose Urlacher for entire games this season.
Shea McClellin: Neutral
The rookie was up and down in his NFL debut, which is what you kind of expected. He got a few nice pressures on Andrew Luck, but other times he either got stonewalled or pushed out of the play. If anyone is expecting a big season from McClellin, they will need to pump their breaks. He is a work in progress. He’ll get some sacks this season, but won’t have a major impact until, possibly, year two.
Corey Wootton: Rising
The first-round rookie’s struggles are another player gain, and the other player is third-year defensive end Corey Wootton. The veteran recorded a sack and forced fumble this past Sunday against the Colts, and he looks healthier and more explosive than his previous two seasons.
You can expect Wootton to get more snaps as the season goes on, and possibly challenge Israel Idonije for his starting spot.