New Chicago Bears wide receiver Dontrelle Inman was among the five players who did not participate in Thursday’s practice, but it might not stop him from making his debut on Sunday when the team travels to face the New Orleans Saints.
Inman passed what was described as an in-depth physical by Head Coach John Fox (he described the physical, that is … I’m pretty sure he didn’t administer it), which made the transaction official. But because Inman was a late arrival, he simply missed practice, meaning his absence was not injury related.
During his Thursday meeting with reporters at Halas Hall, Fox didn’t rule out the possibility of Inman playing Sunday despite sitting out Thursday’s practice. Further, CBS Chicago’s Chris Emma tweets that Fox believes Inman is an intelligent player with experience in a similar system, so a smooth transition into life with the Bears seems plausible.
Of course, that’s easier said than done.
When speaking about the move on Wednesday, Offensive Coordinator Dowell Loggains said Inman was “a smart, savvy player that should be able to provide some leadership in a young room.” The average age of Bears receivers is 25.4.
Loggains added Inman can play inside and out, but his strength is in the slot. According to Pro Football Focus’ data, Inman played in the slot on 60 percent of his snaps in what was a very productive 2016 season. If he assumes that role in the Bears offense, that could mean Kendall Wright – who has lined up in the slot 72 percent of the time in 2017 – could see his playing time cut again.
He also chimed in to temper some expectations:
Dowell Loggains says it's very difficult to work in a new WR at mid-season, so don't expect to see Dontrelle Inman until after the bye week.
— Mark Schanowski (@MarkSchanowski) October 25, 2017
So while Inman should provide an immediate upgrade at the position whenever he gets in the lineup, but it remains to be seen when he’ll enter the rotation – let alone practice. Perhaps more clarity will come of the situation after Friday’s practice.