The 2022 season has been less than ideal for rookie Velus Jones Jr. The speedster out of Tennessee hasn’t been able to solidify a role for himself on the team, even as a return specialist. Jones’ had two costly muffed punts earlier in the season, forcing Head Coach Matt Eberflus to replace him with wide receiver Dante Pettis. Jones has shown flashes returning kickoffs, but other than that, he has been virtually non-existent in the Bears’ offense, which is cause for concern.
Against the Philadelphia Eagles, Jones had the opportunity to make some plays for the Bears’ offense, being that Chase Claypool and Darnell Mooney were both inactive. Unfortunately, Jones’s performance was overshadowed by a costly fumble in a drive that could’ve given the Bears the lead. While the Bears surely want Jones to succeed, this isn’t the only time he has let them down this year. Jones muffed two punts this year, one against the Washington Commanders and one against the New York Giants; both muffs happened at crucial points in the game.
Jones has found some footing returning kickoffs, but he has been left out of the Bears’ offense for quite some time now, even being a healthy scratch for two games this year. Fans are quick to label Jones a bust, but Eberflus stands behind Jones despite his issue controlling the football. At the end of the day, Jones is still a rookie, and he has plenty of time to fix his issues if he is willing to do the work. Jones may be amidst a poor rookie season, but fans should hold off on calling him a bust until he plays his second season, hopefully with a better Bears roster.