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Bears receivers feeling pressure to deliver

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears

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With the Bears desperate for a victory, receivers coach Darryl Drake said his group needed to rebound quickly after turning in a forgettable performance.

‘‘In this game, you have to have a short memory,’’ Drake said. ‘‘Now, that’s easier said than done. But guys have to understand those things happen. We look at tape to see why that happens and make sure it doesn’t happen again.’’

Drake made those comments Friday, five days after
receivers dropped three passes — two of which likely would have resulted in touchdowns — in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Instead, the receivers
regressed in a 21-13 loss Sunday to the Green Bay Packers.

No. 1 receiver Brandon Marshall hauled in a touchdown pass but finished with only six catches for 56 yards as the Packers often double-teamed him. Marshall expressed confidence last week that his supporting cast would step up, but no other receiver made an official catch against the Packers.

Alshon Jeffery had three receptions, including a one-yard touchdown, wiped out because of offensive pass-
interference penalties, and he didn’t catch any of the other four passes thrown his way. Devin Hester was targeted only once — on Jay Cutler’s interception late in the second quarter.

Afterward, Marshall deviated from his usually optimistic approach.

‘‘Everybody involved in offense should be held
accountable, even if that means jobs,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘Everyone on offense should be held accountable. It’s been this way all year. There’s no excuse.’’

Marshall is among the league leaders in catches (107), receiving yards (1,398) and receiving touchdowns (10). He publicly has backed his fellow receivers all season, constantly praising them and insisting they would step up. But no receiver has emerged as a second — or even a third — option this season.

Jeffery, Hester and Earl Bennett have combined for 65 catches for 748 yards and five touchdowns this season. By contrast, three Packers receivers have at least 45 catches, 500 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

Drake suggested Friday the Bears’ other receivers might be pressing because of Marshall’s production.

‘‘They want to hold on to their end of it,’’ Drake said. ‘‘We put pressure on them in our room because of what Brandon does, and that’s
OK. But we also tell them
to relax.’’

Drake said Marshall has been a positive influence on the other receivers, sharing his insights and encouraging them not to fear mistakes.

‘‘He tells them: ‘Hey, I’m going to make mistakes. But I’m going to have a short memory, and I’m
going to come back and catch the next 20,’ ’’ Drake said. ‘‘Things are going to happen, but you have to be resilient and persevere. Guys see it, and hopefully it wears off on them.’’

Jeffery played his second consecutive game Sunday after missing two with a knee injury, and Bennett has missed the last two games with a concussion. There’s hope that Bennett will return Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.

Bennett signed a four-year, $18 million contract extension last December,
but he hasn’t been nearly as effective as he was in 2009
or 2010.



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