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Bears Prepared with Backup Strategies for Vikings' Aerial Attack


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Vince Carbonneau
November 25, 2023  (10:45 PM)
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The Bears find themselves balancing their primary strategy with an alternate approach as they await clarity on Justin Jefferson's status for their Monday night matchup.

Jefferson, whose practice week was limited due to a hamstring issue, remains on injured reserve and it's uncertain if he'll be activated to play. The Bears' knowledge of his availability will likely come just 90 minutes before kickoff, a situation they are monitoring closely.
"We're going to prep as if he's in," remarked safety Eddie Jackson, acknowledging the uncertainty.
Missing Jefferson would be a continuation for the Bears, who didn't face him earlier this season due to his injury occurring just before their Week 6 game.
Head Coach Eberflus mentioned staying informed about the Vikings' communications, with their coach Kevin O'Connell hinting at a longer-term recovery for Jefferson to ensure his availability later in the season.
"We're on top of the updates," Eberflus said. "Jefferson is an elite receiver, and we have plans whether he plays or not. We're ready to adapt."
On the Bears' side, cornerback Tyrique Stevenson's ankle injury from Saturday's practice has left his status as questionable, potentially thrusting Terell Smith into a starting role. Smith, recently back from illness, performed well in a backup capacity last week.
Eberflus praised Smith's maturity, technique, and speed, qualities that make him well-suited to handle the league's trend toward larger receivers.
As for Stevenson, despite a season of fluctuating performance, Eberflus values his ability to move on quickly from each play, a crucial trait for a cornerback.
So, the Bears are set for Monday night's game with plans that hinge on Jefferson's participation. Stevenson may be the one to take on the challenge of covering Jefferson, should he play, or it may fall to Smith to step up in his place.
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Bears Prepared with Backup Strategies for Vikings' Aerial Attack

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