The Bears have been more healthy than not lately. And with that in mind, I wasn’t expecting any surprise inactives heading into their Week 9 matchup against the Dolphins.
But mere moments after writing about how I should come to expect the unexpected after news of Riley Reiff replacing Larry Borom in the starting lineup came out, today’s list of inactives threw me for a loop. Most notably because of the player at the top of the list.
Wide receiver and return specialist Velus Jones Jr., the team’s third-round pick in last April’s NFL Draft, isn’t suiting up for today’s game.
On the one hand, this news is a shocker. Even though Jones hadn’t been garnering a ton of offensive snaps, he was the team’s top kick return option going into this game. Moreover, I thought Chase Claypool’s arrival would allow the Bears to deploy Jones in different ways. A quick screen here. Some misdirection there. Gadget plays, jet sweeps, end arounds, reverses, and other plays that could get a speedster with the ball in space. All things I thought would be on the table with Claypool’s arrival pushing Jones down the depth chart. And maybe they still will be in the future. For today? Not so much.
This leaves Mooney, Claypool, Equanimeous St. Brown, N’Keal Harry, and Dante Pettis as the active receivers on the roster. It is a better group than what the Bears opened with, especially with Harry being healthy. But it would’ve been nice to see Jones get into the mix as a WR4 or WR5.
I’ll be curious to hear the explanation behind making Jones a healthy scratch. Maybe this is Head Coach Matt Eberflus sending a message. And if it is, I hope it resonates with everyone in the locker room.
As for the rest of the inactives, here you go:
We’ll have more for you in Pre-Gamin’ later this morning.