Three key Bears players are questionable to play in Sunday’s playoff game against the Saints due to their respective injuries.
But while we wait until game day for possible further updates regarding Roquan Smith, Darnell Mooney, and Jaylon Johnson, note that the Saints have already announced that two important players will be out of action:
Saints' Friday injury report for wild card vs. Bears:
• Trey Hendrickson (neck) is OUT
• Nick Easton (concussion) is OUT
Taysom Hill (concussion), Marcus Williams (ankle), Josh Hill (hand), J.T. Gray (shoulder) were all FP on Friday w/ no game designations. (Good to go.)
— Amie Just (@Amie_Just) January 8, 2021
Pass-rusher Trey Hendrickson and offensive lineman Nick Easton will not play on Super Wild Card Sunday against the Bears. Hendrickson is unavailable because of a neck injury, while Eason can’t play due to a concussion. Those are tow key losses for a Saints team that opens the postseason as the NFC’s No. 2 seed.
Hendrickson is the Saints’ sacks leader with 13.5, finishing second behind some guy named Aaron Donald who plays for the Rams. Kind of a big deal. Hendrickson is PFF’s 26th best edge defender on the site’s grading scale. He had 1 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss, and 1 QB Hit when the Bears and Saints played on Nov. 1.
Next man up on the depth chart behind Hendrickson is Marcus Davenport. The Saints made a draft-day trade with the Packers in 2018 to take Hendrickson with the 14th overall pick. Because of the Bears’ need for a pass-rusher at the time, we got a chance to get to know Davenport as a highly touted draft prospect. In fact, the Bears and Davenport had a meeting ahead of the Draft.
As for Easton, he started nine games for the Saints — including four of the last six. His 60.2 grade checks in at 54th among the 84 qualifiers at the position.
Rookie Cesar Ruiz appears to be in line to take Easton’s snaps. Ruiz was a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Ruiz was one of the best lineman prospects in the last draft class. Using our composite rankings, Ruiz our the highest-graded interior offensive line prospect. Moreover, he was someone who could’ve been on the Bears’ radar had he fallen to the second round.
For what it’s worth, the Saints didn’t make designations for Alvin Kamara (reserve/COVID-19) or Michael Thomas (ankle/IR), who must be activated by Saturday afternoon in order to play on Sunday, but Kamara might’ve been teasing his return already:
See y’all Sunday ❤️
— Alvin Kamara (@A_kamara6) January 8, 2021