As has been the case in recent weeks, the Chicago Bears started their game-week practice schedule with a walk-through. And once again, one of their most important players was once again missing in action.
Rookie cornerback Jaylon Johnson didn’t practice on Wednesday. That is to say, Johnson would not have practiced had the Bears done more than a walk-through. Johnson hasn’t played or practiced since suffering a right shoulder injury during the Bears’ Week 14 win against the Texans on December 13. And while Kindle Vildor has held his own in Johnson’s absence, it would be nice to have all hands on deck for the most important game of the year on Sunday against the Packers.
A small part of me wants to be optimistic about Johnson’s chances, and this statement from Head Coach Matt Nagy will further fuel that hope:
Matt Nagy said Jaylon Johnson (right shoulder) is "day-to-day and progressively getting better."
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) December 30, 2020
Remember, Johnson was questionable to play in Week 15, but hasn’t played since leaving Week 14 early. And Nagy has said he doesn’t believe Johnson’s injury is season-ending. So it’s possible the Bears have been monitoring Johnson’s injured shoulder and preparing for a return in the season finale if the game was meaningful. A playoff berth on the line against your arch-rival is as meaningful as they come in the regular season. And that Nagy lists Johnson as “day-to-day” and considers him to be “progressively getting better” feels like a step in the right direction.
As for the rest of the injury report:
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) December 30, 2020
I’m digging the idea of Wednesday walk-through practices in place of going full bore. Especially since the intent behind this idea is to keep players fresh for the stretch run. So with that being said, I’m not worrying about Akiem Hicks’ DNP. I still have my concerns about Buster Skirne (concussion) still not practicing. But Duke Shelley playing will in his place eases those a bit.
But on the bright side, that’s a whole bunch of players who were full participants in Wednesday’s walk-through. It’s rather encouraging seeing all those starters with a “full” designation next to their names. Here’s hoping more of their teammates join them by the end of the week.