Which Non-Headline Bear Needs to Have a Great Season?

Leon Halip

We're digging a little deeper for a player just under the radar that needs to perform in order for the Bears to have some success this season.

When it comes to previewing the upcoming season, it's easy to look at the new players or the Pro-Bowlers currently on roster, or the guys that are in key positions and say they need to have a good season in order for the team to succeed. In the Bears' case, it's entirely true - Jermon Bushrod, Jay Cutler, Lance Briggs, Matt Forte, Julius Peppers, Charles Tillman, Kyle Long, and Martellus Bennett, to name a few.

I'm not attempting to spoil Lester's Most Important Bears series, since he's usually absolutely right (and because even we don't know what he's got left in the series - and speaking of series, his annual Position Battles series is coming up!), but we also like to dig a little deeper sometimes.

Shea McClellin also somewhat counts as a headline player, being last year's first-round pick and being at a position of key importance, of which his contributions need to help solidify a position that doesn't have a lot behind it.

So for my pick of a non-headline Bear, I'm going with Alshon Jeffery. Under the new offensive system where the ball's being spread everywhere, he's down the target list behind Brandon Marshall, Bennett, and possibly even Matt Forte, but last year he showed flashes of being that reliable outside target opposite Marshall. If he can cut back on the offensive pass interference penalties and not break his hand against a Jacksonville player's helmet, and can have legit #2 receiver production, that's a huge step forward for an offense that hasn't done much in, well, a few years.

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