With the possibility that Jay Cutler might not play against the San Francisco 49ers next Monday night, Bears coach Lovie Smith was particularly hopeful that rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery will play in that game after missing the previous four games with a broken hand.
''Hopefully [Cutler and defensive end Shea McClellin] will be ready to go,'' Smith said Monday. ''Hopefully other players will get back ... like Alshon Jeffery, who's making a lot of progress. I don't know for sure on him. But we can use all guys now.''
Smith acknowledged that the Bears' offense needs somebody to provide support for Brandon Marshall, who again was the dominant receiver for the Bears on Sunday night. Marshall had eight receptions for 107 yards against the Texans. Earl Bennett added one reception for nine yards. Devin Hester had two receptions for four yards. Tight end Matt Spaeth added three catches for four yards.
''Someone does [have to step up] -- you're right,'' Smith said. ''Brandon has played outstanding ball. We had a few opportunities last night, where we dropped a couple of balls that could have been big plays for us. But, yes, getting Alshon Jeffery back should help a little bit too. But, yeah, we need to get more production out of that [No. 2] slot.''
Jeffery, a second-round draft pick from South Carolina, has 14 receptions for 184 yards (13.1 per catch) and two touchdowns in five games this season.