The Bears have the injury bug, and the players are starting to pile up on the injury report. Rookie DBs Jaquan Brisker and Kyler Gordon both haven’t practiced this week. Safety Eddie Jackson and receiver Darnell Mooney have both been put on IR and are done for the season. This leaves a lot of holes on both sides of the ball. However, it will give some of the younger players a chance to step up.
1.) Velus Jones Jr.
With Darnell Mooney out, Velus Jones Jr. should have an increased role in the offense. He has been on the sideline for the past few weeks due to his punt return mishaps. With Mooney out, he should expect a larger role in the offense, and if he wants to be on this team past this year, he needs to step up his game big time.
2.) Elijah Hicks
Another rookie, Hicks, hasn’t had much playing time this year. His first snaps in the NFL were last week when Eddie Jackson went down. He wasn’t incredibly impressive, but he can show his worth this week, as he will most likely get many more snaps.
3.) Chase Claypool
Claypool was traded to the Bears in Week Eight for a second-round pick. So far, he hasn’t looked great, but a decent game against the Jets might be a step in the right direction. Now with Darnell Mooney out, Claypool is listed as the Bear’s WR1. He needs to step up and help Justin Fields and the offense score some points. He has proven in the past that he is a good receiver. Now he needs to show Fields and the Bears that he can be their number one option.
4.) The Offensive Line
The Bears O-line has been less than good this year, and they haven’t gotten better lately. Lucas Patrick is done for the year, Larry Borom hasn’t practiced this week, and Riley Reiff was limited on Thursday. Teven Jenkins was banged up a couple of weeks ago but is back in his starting role at guard. If the Bears want to succeed and help Fields, the offensive line needs to step up and ball at their best.
5.) Jack Sanborn
Sanborn has been phenomenal as a UDFA from Wisconsin. He has over 40 tackles in just four starts. He also has two sacks and four TFLs. He has been one of the bright spots on the Bear’s defense so far this year. However, with most of the defensive leaders out, Sanborn should look to step up and lead the defense. He has already shown he is capable of being a productive player, and now he has the chance to take the next step into a leadership role.