Before this season even began, many NFL Analysts were quick to say that the Chicago Bears would have the worst receiving corps in the league. In the eyes of many fans, that statement may be true. However, injuries have plagued the Bears’ route runners all season.
Byron Pringle, N’Keal Harry, and Darnell Mooney were the receivers many believed to be Justin Fields’s most reliable targets, but Byron Pringle has struggled to make an impact after injuring his calf; N’Keal Harry has been battling a hip injury all season, and Darnell Mooney suffered a season-ending ankle injury in week 12.
The Bears’ front office tried boosting things by trading for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool, but he has had trouble finding his groove in Chicago similar to free agent add Byron Pringle. To make things worse, Claypool was listed as out this week, and N’Keal Harry was downgraded to questionable as the Bears prepare for the league-best Philadelphia Eagles.
With these receivers out, the Bears need to resort to Velus Jones Jr., Equanimeous St. Brown, and Dante Pettis as primary options this week. The rookie out of Tennessee, Velus Jones Jr., has been very disappointing this season. Jones Jr. is barely in the offensive game plan and has had multiple mistakes on special teams causing him to be a healthy scratch on multiple occasions. Equanimeous St. Brown and Dante Pettis have each made notable plays this season, but they have also had crucial drops.
These three guys need to be at the top of their games against Philadelphia this week, or else Justin Fields will need to use his legs on every snap. Jalen Hurts receives a boatload of credit for this team’s success, as he should, but many don’t seem to realize that Philly’s defense leads the league in interceptions and sacks – just ask Micah Parsons.
We’ll see if Justin Fields can work his magic again this week with the limited help he has, but I wouldn’t be surprised if things got ugly fast. Hopefully, Chase Claypool will return to practice next week, and maybe N’Keal Harry’s game-time decision will be in our favor.