The NFL’s independent concussion spotters missed one on Sunday, and it could have been a factor in what was the biggest defensive play of the game:
#Bears coach John Fox on defensive confusion leading to 88-yd TD: "That might have been a result of Jerrell with the concussion or not."
— Zach Zaidman (@ZachZaidman) September 11, 2017
It seems as if head coach John Fox believes Austin Hooper’s 88-yard touchdown grab on third down might have been a result of Jerrell Freeman’s concussion. The play featured chaos, confusion, and disorganization before the snap, so there might be something to Fox’s angle, but he didn’t go all the way in jumping to that conclusion. Freeman wasn’t the only one with a missed assignment, and tackles could have been made down the field later, but it was a mess from the get-go. (And an UGH Update: Freeman to IR.)
Sunday was a rough one for the Chicago Bears on the injury front, to say the least.
- There is probably no one more distraught about White’s injury than White himself. John Fox said White was “disappointed and discouraged” in the locker room after the game, according to Patrick Finley of the Sun-Times. And that’s only natural for a player whose career simply hasn’t started because it’s been one injury after another slowing him down or stopping him altogether.
- (Michael: I’ll leave the following bullet, which was written earlier, for posterity, but note that the Bears have since signed wide receiver and return specialist Mario Alford and have indeed added Tanner Gentry to the 53-man roster).
- The Bears are going to evaluate the situation by looking into (a quite thin) free agent market, while also thumbing through candidates currently on their active roster and practice squad. One of the internal options could be practice squad receiver Tanner Gentry, who offers up an explanation to Chris Emma of CBS Chicago on why he didn’t end up on the season-opening 53-man roster. “Continue to work hard in practice and work hard on my route running,” Gentry told Emma. “Just continue to get better. When my name is called, I’ll be ready.” Gentry also noted he wanted to add variety to his routes, which would make him a more feasible target for quarterbacks looking to get him the ball. Gentry was one of the premier deep route runners in college football last year, so the Bears might be wise to tap into that skill set as the team didn’t show much of a vertical threat against the Falcons in Week 1.
- Running backs are on their way back, writes SI.com’s Jacob Feldman. Life at the most demanding skill position in football isn’t easy. The competition is fierce and endless, the injuries are always mounting because of constant hits, the average career span is short, and the window for a big-time payday is small. Bears star Jordan Howard is featured in Feldman’s piece, detailing his rise and pin-pointing the starting point as the team’s fourth preseason game in 2016 when Fox was overheard on the team’s headset saying “I’m not sure this guy isn’t the best back we have.” after a 16-yard touchdown run.
- Speaking of running backs, we tried to give you a heads up on Tarik Cohen. If you are at the top of your fantasy league’s waiver wire after Week 1, you might want to pick him up:
If I need someone to play ASAP, I would grab Tarik Cohen or Buck Allen. If I like my team & just want to swing for fences: Carson. https://t.co/vnBTh6WkVm
— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR) September 12, 2017
- He might not average 16 points per game in a standard scoring league, but he’ll get plenty of time as RB2 behind Howard, and projects to get a ton of looks as a receiver out of the backfield and that can be very valuable in a PPR league. Especially if the Bears don’t address their receiver problems in short order.
- Cohen wasn’t the only rookie running back lighting up the highlight reels on Week 1. Mark Strotman of CSN Chicago stacks up Cohen’s play against seven other rookies who stood out over the weekend, a group that includes three backs who were picked in the first two rounds. For as impressive as Cohen was on Sunday, fellow rookies Kareem Hunt (246 scrimmage yards, 2 TDs for the Chiefs against the Patriots) and Dalvin Cook (127 rushing yards for the Vikings on Monday Night Football) stole the show.
- Even though the Bears defense surrendered 23 points and a couple of big plays to an unlikely hero, Vic Fangio’s squad is getting some props. Specifically defensive end Akiem Hicks, who impressed Bleacher Report’s Chris Simms with his play against the defending NFC champs. Despite a painful roughing the quarterback penalty that kept a Falcons drive alive and led to a score, Hicks was the Bears’ best player on the defensive side of the ball and showed why the front office made it a priority to keep him in Chicago for four more years.
- There was short-lived doubt that Sunday’s Week 2 matchup between the Bears and Buccaneers would not go on as scheduled because of damage caused by Hurricane Irma, but the Bucs have announced the game will be played as scheduled at Raymond James Stadium. Game on!