In what is nothing short of a cruel twist of fate, Kevin White might get an up-tick in playing time because of another player’s uncertain injury status.
Chris Emma of 670 The Score notes that Head Coach Matt Nagy said the team will continue to take precautionary measures with wide receiver Allen Robinson (as well as edge rusher Khalil Mack) in this week’s practices leading up to the team’s Week 8 matchup against the New York Jets. With that being the case, it’s possible White could move into a spot where he is getting practice reps with the first-team offense in place of Robinson. That would be a big change of direction in the story arc of White’s season. Because while Sunday’s work load wasn’t his highest snap share of the season, it was the first extended playing time in which he saw action in the passing game.
White played 20 snaps in Sunday’s 38-31 loss to the Patriots, many of which came late in the game in relief of Robinson, whose work day was cut short because of a groin injury that flared up. It’s ironic that an injury to the Bears’ No. 1 receiver thrust White into the spotlight when his injuries in previous years have pushed others into what was supposed to be his role at WR1, but let’s not overlook the obvious here. If Robinson is limited in any capacity, someone has to take those snaps and that someone could be White.
Josh Bellamy appeared to be the next man up in case an injury happened above him on the depth chart, but the special teams ace didn’t do himself any favors on Sunday. Bellamy lost a ball in the sun after shaking free and getting open, then later lost a battle against a Patriots defensive back on a Mitch Trubisky interception. White out-snapped Bellamy 20-19, which is telling because Bellamy’s playing time had been trending like someone who was going to get the lion’s share of leftover snaps.
White said it felt good to get involved in that aspect of the game after primarily being used on rub-blocking plays. Feel good, play good … right?
“It felt good to quiet the noise and to show everyone I’m the same guy,” White said after Sunday’s game. “I can make the big-time plays, I’ve just got to stay focused and control what I can control.”
White hasn’t been able to control much during the first four years of his NFL career, but he is well-positioned to grasp some additional playing time starting as early as this week. He made the first two catches of the year on Sunday, and while one was more memorable than the other, more could be in store for the 2015 first-round pick. As long as White stays ready for the call, he could be someone to keep an eye on depending on how things unfold in practice this week.