As a kid growing up going to baseball games, I’d beg my mother to buy me a pencil, scorecard, and media guide during our first visit at Wrigley Field each year for the sole purpose of getting to know the players.
After all, you can’t know the players without the scorecard. At least, that’s what the vendor would be bellowing at the iconic home of the Cubs.
Fast forward a great many years, and I find myself thinking that fans will certainly need scorecards to know who is taking the field for the Chicago Bears when they take on the Minnesota Vikings in the latest installment of Monday Night Football.
There are eight players being flexed from the practice squad and onto the active roster. Tack on offensive tackle Germain Ifedi coming off IR, and we’re looking at a cool nine (!) players joining the Bears’ game day roster.
The following players are getting the flex treatment from the practice squad:
⇒ Wide receivers Nsimba Webster and Dazz Newsome, come on down! You’re the next contestants on America’s newest hit show: Have a Catch With Justin Fields. With Allen Robinson II among those who were unable to gain clearance from the Reserve/COVID-19 list, the Bears were needing some healthy bodies at receiver. Webster was the Bears’ priority waiver claim at the end of the preseason, Jakeem Grant Sr. has since taken over return specialist duties. And to think, I felt Newsome would take that gig for himself on draft day. Instead, the 2021 sixth-round pick didn’t make the cut out of training camp and has been hanging on the practice squad all year.
⇒ Defensive backs Thomas Graham Jr., Dee Virgin, Michael Joseph, and Thakarius “BoPete” Keyes are also joining the group. Chicago’s football team is really scraping for secondary help. Virgin, Joseph, and Keyes were all relatively recent additions to the practice squad. Joseph has prior experience with the team, having been around on the practice squad and in prior training camps. Virgin came on board at the start of the month, while Keyes (a college teammate of Darnell Mooney) is the newest member of the secondary.
The player I’m most looking forward to is Graham Jr., a Day 3 pick with a unique prospect pedigree and enough potential to allow you to dream on him becoming the next late-round draft steal. It’s a bummer that it took a wave of unfortunate circumstances for others to get Graham an opportunity. But maybe he’ll make the most of it.
⇒ Two sets of fresh legs will join the front seven. Outside linebacker Charles Snowden and defensive end LaCale London round out the eight practice squad players jumping onto the active roster. Snowden and London were undrafted free agents brought in after each of the last two drafts. Snowden was a standout defender at Virginia, where he came away with second-team All-ACC honors in 2020. London is a Western Illinois product who was an all-conference performer in the Missouri Valley as a senior in 2019.
Rounding out the fresh faces set to join the huddle tonight is a familiar one. Germain Ifedi returns after being on IR with a knee injury since the start of Week 6. Ifedi went down with an injury during Chicago’s Week 5 win against the Raiders. The Bears have thrown Elijah Wilkinson, Lachavious Simmons, Alex Bars, and Larry Borom into the right tackle spot in Ifedi’s absence. Results aside, I suppose it’ll be nice to have someone with Ifedi’s professional experience starting opposite of rookie Teven Jenkins.
The Bears are in a roster crunch. Between injuries and players landing in COVID protocols, trying to find enough healthy bodies to field a team felt like a challenge. But when push came to shove, Chicago’s football team was able to unearth some able bodies to suit up for game time. We’ll figure out some they fit by the time Pre-Gamin’ rolls around later this afternoon.