Every coach’s goal at the start of the regular season is to have all hands on deck for Week 1.
And while the Chicago Bears came close to reaching that accomplishment, they’ll fall short.
Wide receiver Velus Jones Jr., who hasn’t been practicing because of a hamstring injury, is doubtful to play in Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers. Jones, who was practicing on Monday, wasn’t participating on Wednesday and Thursday. Even still, there was a sliver of hope that Jones could progress enough to play Sunday because he was practicing on Monday. Instead, three straight days of “DNP” next to his name on the injury report make it highly unlikely the rookie will suit up on Sunday. And with rain in the forecast and the potential of a sloppy track being what it is, maybe the Bears should be proceeding with caution anyway.
Somehow, Head Coach Matt Eberflus paints a somewhat optimistic picture:
On the one hand, it is encouraging that Eberflus feels Jones is “close” and will be “ready soon.” But on the other hand, the Bears should’ve probably been more cautious in bringing Jones back. Especially if this hamstring injury has been problematic throughout the preseason.
Remember that Jones was the Bears’ highest-profile receiver addition this offseason. And with that in mind, whatever happens with him takes on greater importance. Because after staying out of the trade market and deep end of the free agent waters, then passing on receivers with both of their second-round picks, the Bears chose Jones with their third-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. And it was looking like things were going swimmingly throughout the offseason. Jones was in line to possibly start at receiver, as well as contribute as the team’s top punt return option. But a troublesome hamstring injury is throwing a wrench in those plans.
As for the rest of the injury report, here it is:
I suppose there is some good news to take away. It is nice to see defensive end Dominique Robinson getting the full participation designation on Friday. This lines him up to suit up and make his Bears debut. A Day 3 pick in last April’s draft, Robinson is somewhat of a project. He was a high school quarterback who became a collegiate receiver. But after that didn’t work out, he began the transition to the other side of the ball. Robinson is an ultra-athletic ballplayer with room to grow as a pass-rusher. I’ll be curious to see how Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams deploys him in Week 1.