Bears News: Eberflus updates injuries on team against Raiders

Bears News: Eberflus updates injuries on team against Raiders

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - Head coach Matt Eberflus got straight to the point when speaking to the media on Friday - quarterback Justin Fields is out. Tyson Bagent will be the starter, making him just the fourth quarterback from a Division II school in the past 20 years to start in an NFL game. But, Eberflus did provide a positive update regarding Fields.

“Justin Fields … he will be out this week, but he’s improving and the mobility’s getting better, swelling went down, the grip strength is better,” Eberflus said. “So, it’s trending in the right direction but again, he’ll be week to week and we’ll know more on Monday. But, that’s where it is.”

Eberflus further said that Fields will not go on injured reserve (IR) for this week and there are currently no plans for him to have surgery. However, he did not eliminate IR as a future option and implied that surgery could still be in play if his condition does not improve.

Historically, the Chicago Bears like to rely on the running game. This is a bit difficult to do when your starter, Khalil Herbert is on IR. But that is even more difficult when his backup, rookie running back Roschon Johnson. He is out yet again as he still has not cleared concussion protocol.

“It’s always a concern. You’re more concerned for the individual to make sure they’re okay because that’s a real deal and when you go through concussion protocol, everybody’s different. Sometimes guys come right back and it’s not that big of a deal. Some guys have lasting effects, and that’s why the NFL has put that concussion protocol in,” Eberflus said. “(Johnson)’s just where he is right now. He’s progressing and hopefully he works forward to where he can come back.”

Keeping with the theme of offensive injuries, offensive lineman Nate Davis also exited Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. He has been ruled out for the game with an ankle injury; Eberflus declined to comment on whether Davis could be placed on IR. Offensive lineman Dan Feeney is questionable with a knee injury. Thus, practice has been a bit difficult shuffling the offensive line, trying to prepare for who will be in and who will be out.

“In terms of the o-line depth, we’ve had a lot of different combinations this week and we’ll see where that goes during the course of later today. We’ll solidify that. Again, not going to talk about who's playing left, guard, right guard, center, all those things for obvious reasons and, again, we’ll solidify that as we go.”

Of course, there must also be some injuries on defense. Safety Eddie Jackson is out with a foot injury; he has only been able to play in three games this week. Fellow safety Jaquan Brisker is questionable with a groin injury. He has yet to miss a game this season.

“Brisker had a little groin tightness during practice today and he was limited. He started out practice and we sat him out the last few periods,” Eberflus said. “But, we feel he’s in a good spot there too. But we’ll have to access him later today and see where it is.”

Injuries are affecting all NFL teams, including the Las Vegas Raiders. Like the Bears, they will be without their starting quarterback. However, their backup has a bit more experience than Bagent with Brian Hoyer. If Hoyer’s name sounds familiar, that is because he spent the 2016 season with the Bears and started five games before breaking his arm against the Green Bay Packers. Hoyer and his head coach, Josh McDaniels, also spent a lot of time with Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, so they bring some of that knowledge into this game. Eberflus, especially because he is calling defensive plays and was with Hoyer in Indianapolis in 2019, has prepared to face off against Hoyer.

“Hoyer has (had) a lot of ball. He’s seen a lot of coverages, he’s seen everything. So, he’s been (in a) lot of meetings with Josh (McDaniels),” Eberflus said. “They have a lot of familiarity there, has a good feeling for that offense. So I think there’s a comfort level there. He’s got solid mobility to escape when needed … He’s a rhythm passer.”

Another familiar face for Chicago is receiver Davante Adams, who spent his first eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers. Adams is one of those elite receivers who, especially with a change in quarterback, is going to be getting the ball often, another aspect defensive-play caller Eberflus must prepare for.

“Anytime Davante (Adams)’s on the field, we expect a heavy dose of him. So, he’s one of those top receivers in the NFL and he’s been that and he’s a great athlete, great competitor,” Eberflus said. “He’s a great technician. He’s got really good ability to make guys miss off the line, to get up and down the field and he’s got really good start and stop for his size.”

One bright side with the defense is defensive end Yannick Ngakoue who was acquired back on August 3. Because of Ngakoue’s off the field leadership, as well as being tied for No. 1 on the team in sacks, he has been made an honorary captain for this Sunday’s game against the Raiders (Noon / Fox).

“He’s worked, he’s been a great teammate. He’s helped the younger guys. We got a couple young tackles in there,” Eberflus said. “He’s been very helpful to those guys, just been an outstanding teammate in terms of his work patterns and he earned that right.”

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