Yeah, we gotta talk about that Velus Jones Jr. play. Sorry.
The Chicago Bears ran 63 offensive plays against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday Night Football. On the other side of the ball, the Bears defense was on the SoFi Stadium turf for 65 plays. In total, there were 128 total plays run in that game — a 30-13 loss at the hands of the Chargers. But only one play best encapsulates Chicago Bears football.
The 2023 season can be surmised in this one clip:
The Bears finally schemed a non-DJ Moore receiver open. Their offensive line had it blocked up for a play. One potentially glorious play. And it was all for naught. Instead of a touchdown, we were left to watch the quarterback under-throw it a tad, the receiver slip, and still come close to making a play — only to watch it bounce away.
This is what it looks like when the guy who entered camp as QB4 throws to a guy who was WR6 to start the summer.
This is what they were cooking with on Sunday Night Football.
This is Chicago Bears football in a nutshell.
Wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. had an explanation for what happened. It won’t make you feel any better. But I doubt nothing will, so here goes nothing:
That is pretty much a perfect recap of what happened on that play. Sure, it still needs to be a catch and a touchdown. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t an accurate depiction of what happened. Seeing the Bears score later on that drive (despite what happened with Velus Jones Jr. on that play) gave me hope that the Bears could play a competitive second half. It was fun having hope (if only for an instant).
Velus Jones Jr. is running out of chances with the Bears
One thing we’re NOT going to do is make Velus Jones Jr. the scapegoat for that game. Jones’ boner was just one aspect of a team-wide failure. There is plenty of blame to go around for that loss and we need to act like the Bears’ problems aren’t just on one whiff of a draft pick. But one thing this team probably needs to do is cut its losses and part ways with Jones. Otherwise, the optics will make it look like the Bears brass is OK with what is happening here. And no one should be OK with what is happening here.
What makes this all the more frustrating is that using a third-round pick in search of receiver help in 2022 wasn’t a bad idea (in theory). Unfortunately, it is becoming crystal clear that Jones was the wrong player to hitch your wagons to in that class. Meanwhile, George Pickens (whom the Bears passed on twice in the second round in 2022) has three 100+ yard receiving performances in his last six games. He scored the Steelers’ only touchdown yesterday. We had eyes on him early in the draft process. And so did the Bears. What happened here?
On a human level, I feel bad for Velus Jones Jr.
By all accounts, he’s a hard worker who wants to prove himself to his teammates, fans, and even detractors. But hard work and the will to win can get you only so far. Running into a punt returner leading to a penalty, then slipping and falling en route to dropping a touchdown pass counts as just the tip of the iceberg.
Those are rookie mistakes.
But Jones isn’t a rookie anymore. He is a 26-year-old second-year player who was supposed to make us forget about last year’s miscues by being better this year. It hasn’t been the case. And I’m at a point where I feel as if that roster spot could be better used by someone else.