It was encouraging to hear Bears Head Coach Matt Eberflus say the team would re-evaluate players, scheme, personnel, and more the mini-bye between their Thursday Night Football loss to the Commanders and Monday Night Football showdown against the Patriots.
But even still, part of me was saying: “Don’t talk about it. Be about it.”
Today, Eberflus took the first steps in enacting change with a series of roster moves announced by the Bears:
- Wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette was waived.
- In place of IMS, receiver Isaiah Coulter has been promoted from the practice squad.
- Filling Coulter’s spot is Sammis Reyes, a 6-5, 260-pound tight end who was a college basketball player before turning to the pigskin. Reyes, the NFL’s first Chilean-born player, suited up for 11 games with the Commanders last season.
Bing. Bang. Boom. A trio of moves that usher in the first bit of in-season changes that Eberflus spoke of at the end of last week.
Maybe it feels like these moves are too little, too late. Especially when Smith-Marsette had two of the worst games one could possibly imagine — and in consecutive weeks, too. Smith-Marsette’s block-in-the-back negated a Justin Fields rushing touchdown and his getting stripped by Cameron Dantzler put an end to the team’s comeback tries. And in last week’s game, Smith-Marsette ran for a loss on a handoff and had a costly fourth-quarter drop. For what it’s worth, I didn’t mind giving IMS a second chance after his Vikings blunders. But that he fumbled the bag on his second chance made it easy to cut ties.
As for Coulter replacing Smith-Marsette on the roster, this works two-fold. Firstly, Coulter joins the Bears as a down-the-depth chart wide receiver option. But it could move us toward discussing replacing Velus Jones Jr. on punt return duties. Coulter isn’t a punt returner by trade. So I’m not suggesting there is a potential 1-for-1 swap. But Coulter’s arrival after IMS’ missteps should put everyone on notice that their jobs could be had by someone behind them on the depth chart. And that includes Jones, a third-round pick who has been used minimally on offense to this point.
We’ll see if more such moves are on the horizon. I can’t imagine the shuffling stops here.