Packers CB Jaire Alexander Reminds Us That the Bears Still (REALLY) Need Receiver Help

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Packers CB Jaire Alexander Reminds Us That the Bears Still (REALLY) Need Receiver Help

Chicago Bears

A silver lining around (what was otherwise) another dark cloud of a Bears loss to the Packers? Justin Fields taking another step in his evolution as a passer.

Completing 80 percent of your passes is a good thing. As is averaging more than 10 yards per attempt. Interceptions aside, it was a good day at the office for Fields.

And these highlights have me wanting more when the Bears come back from the bye:

Of course, not everyone was a fan of those plays. Not unsurprisingly, Jaire Alexander wasn’t fond of getting cooked on multiple occasions at Soldier Field. Alexander just signed a big money extension in the offseason. One that pays him as one of the league’s richest cornerbacks. Admittedly, two plays represents a small sample, but getting worked by N’Keal Harry and Equanimeous St. Brown isn’t what you’d want to see if you gave out a big load of cash to a cornerback. I can’t imagine being on those highlight strips went over too well in Alexander’s world. But I can’t say I blame him. It isn’t often when Bears receivers get the best of defensive backs.

But Alexander would get the last laugh with a game-changing fourth-quarter interception. Not only was it essentially a game-sealer, but it came against a former teammate in St. Brown. And it was as if he saw it coming:

So, to answer your question: No, that pick wasn’t on Fields.

And I think that’s important to hash out here. If you’re one of those who groans about Fields not throwing with anticipation, it is a play like that which underscores the pitfalls of doing that with this group of receivers. This group just isn’t built to do those things as pass-catchers. Equanimeous might be a nice down-the-depth-chart receiver who is a superb run-blocker, but needing him to make a big play against a top-flight corner feels like it’s asking a lot.

In the end, what Alexander had to say about Equanimeous struck a chord with me. Not because it bugged me, but because it found a way to remind me that the Bears still need more receiver help. Darnell Mooney is a nice piece of the puzzle. So is Chase Claypool, who had six targets and five catches (but just 28 receiving yards). Cole Kmet has had his moments as a pass-catching tight end. As has David Montgomery when it comes to receptions out of the backfield. But beyond that collection of characters, Chicago’s group of pass-catchers leaves much to be desired. And while you don’t want to see the Bears lose in that fashion, doing so goes a long way to drive home a point. Frankly, I hope it comes across clearly to GM Ryan Poles.

So … what is a GM to do in a situation like this?

Well, I had this thought last week:

And it still sticks with me. Last year, we saw unprecedented receiver movement — mostly due to the Titans (AJ Brown) and Chiefs (Tyreek Hill) not wanting to extend star receivers at top-of-the-market prices. Plus, we also saw movement due to cap situations (Amari Cooper/Cowboys) and another receiver (Davante Adams) leave a situation and live my dream of leaving the midwest in March for Vegas. All of this to say that there are scenarios that exist in the future that we can’t predict are coming right now. There will be players who hit the market for one unforeseen reason or another this upcoming offseason. And I hope Poles is ready to pounce on the situation. With more than $100 million in cap space, he should be well-positioned to do so.

Let’s face it. Trading a second-round pick for Claypool can’t be the only way the team addresses its receiver needs. That would be unacceptable. Full stop.

So … who is going to be this year’s AJ Brown — and how can we get him on the Bears?



Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.