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Two 2nd Year Receivers on Display in Cleveland

Bears' Alshon Jeffery, Browns' Josh Gordon a key matchup in Sunday's game

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Josh McCown isn't the only one benefiting from Marc Trestman's system. Alshon Jeffery is just one of eight players in NFL history to record a pair of 200 yard games in the same season.

    Jeffery is a big body with a natural ability to apply what he is learning in the classroom to the football field. Wide Receivers coach Mike Groh said it's all part of the science of Trestman's teachings.

    "It's technique work, number one. We're very specific about how we want certain things done," Groh explained. "And he's one of those unique players that can hear it said and can translate it to the physical form on the field. It's very natural for him."

    His natural instincts, body control, uncanny speed and great hands have caught 1,193 yards this year.

    "He has outstanding extension and catch radius," Groh said, comparing Jeffery's strong hands to a basketball player going up for a rebound around the rim. "He can [catch] without feeling the need to bring the ball down... keeping it away from the next closest defender."

    Trestman has watched Jeffery's maturity in practice, and said he's one of the hardest workers on and off the field.

    "He's understanding the position more, he's been in more situations to allow himself to develop," the head coach said. "And his release is better he's moved along."

    Jeffery just laughed at the suggestion of a Pro Bowl last week after making yet another highlight reel catch. But there will be another second year receiver on display on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.

    Josh Gordon is having an even better year than Jeffery. He's amassed a Browns franchise record 1,400 yards, 649 of them in the last three games alone.

    "Big play ability," Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker observed. "He has a large catch radius, he's fast, and he can take a five yard slant and turn it into a 60 yard touchdown." 

    Without the big body of Charles Tillman at cornerback, who is on the injured reserve list with a shoulder injury, Bears defensive backs coach Jon Hoke has been working Tim Jennings and Zack Bowman, teaching them how to defend Gordon.

    "You got to be able to put your body on him at times," Hoke said. "Other times you have to be able to stay away from him because his reach will be a big part of it too and you can't allow him to get his hands on you."

    The Bears secondary knows they can't give Gordon anymore confidence, despite seven 100-yard games this year. They practice against big body receivers in Jeffery and Brandon Marshall every day.

    "He's definitely a run after the catch receiver," Bears safety Major Wright agreed. "You don't want him to get any speed. You want to get him down the first time. You let him get any type of confidence it's over."