Bears News: Matt Eberflus provides injury updates, talks Bagent’s high football IQ

Bears News: Matt Eberflus provides injury updates, talks Bagent’s high football IQ

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - Quarterback Justin Fields is out for the second straight week, meaning that undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent will once again be the starter. Bagent did everything that he needed to do in his first NFL start against the Las Vegas Raiders last week, helping to lead the Bears to a 30-12 victory.

While there are many on the outside who were surprised by his performance, head coach Matt Eberflus was not at all surprised, in part because of the high intelligence Bagent showed right when he walked in the door.

“(Bagent)’s one of the guys that grasped (the concepts of the plays) fast. So, he was able to chunk, like I’ve said before, a bunch of information in a fast period of time. He was able to learn more of the playbook faster than a lot of people,” Eberflus said. “So, that’s really important that you have that capacity as a quarterback, and I think it’s because he played a lot of ball. I think he understands concepts. I think it’s very important to him to work extra hard at it.”

Fields dislocated his thumb back in the Bears’ loss to the Minnesota Vikings in week six. Bagent stepped into the game to lead the Bears on their only touchdown drive of the game but threw an interception on the last drive to seal victory for Minnesota. Having a full week to develop chemistry with the offensive starters certainly helped to move Bagent beyond that performance. While this has created some talk of possible quarterback competition, Eberflus is standing behind Fields and says that the third-year quarterback is making progress.

“He’s progressing,” Eberflus said. “We’re happy with where he is, and he’s working with the trainers still this week, and we’ll give a better update on Monday.”

There are some injuries that need to be taken note of. The biggest would be that offensive lineman Braxton Jones will not be activated off injured reserve (IR) and will be out for this game.

On the bright side, rookie offensive lineman Darnell Wright has improved from his shoulder injury and is good to go for this Sunday night matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers (7:20 p.m./NBC). Another factor that helps is that lineman Teven Jenkins has been embracing his role as an interior lineman, but still offers that ability to play on the edge if he has to. He is a player that has grown a lot since his rookie season and has found his place on this line.

“It’s really been good. He’s a very talented young man, and I think being a professional is important to him. You can see that, how he’s starting to grow that way and being reliable for his other offensive linemen, being accountable. That’s very important to him,” Eberflus said. “So, we’re pleased with where he is, and he was all-in with the move back and forth, and he’s got to have some functional intelligence to be able to do that.”

Staying with the offense, Chicago has a big piece returning this week - rookie running back Roschon Johnson. Johnson is yet another member of the rookie class who has made an immediate impact on this team. Especially with running back Khalil Herbert still on IR, Johnson’s return was much needed. With D’Onta Foreman’s explosive performance last week, Johnson does not seem to rush back into things, but it provides the team more flexibility in the running game.

“We’re certainly pleased that he’s back. That’s an exciting piece for us, not only for our running backs but also for special teams,” Eberflus said. “He has a big role in that way too, and we’ll see where it is.”

Defensively, both starting safeties - Eddie Jackson and Jaquan Brisker - are still questionable. Brisker has been sick since Monday, while Jackson is dealing with a nagging foot injury. They both have a chance to play Sunday, and with the game as a night game, that allows them a little more time to determine if both players will be able to go.

“If we feel that we can get (Brisker) into the game and get him there, we’ll see what capacity that may be based on how he’s feeling. But, we’re going to give him every chance we can to get to the game,” Eberflus said. “(Jackson)’s getting close … We got some time, but he’s trending in the right direction. Looked a lot better this week than he did last week, and we like where he is too.”

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