A Bears rookie is having trouble fielding the ball
Muffing two returns in three games was not the start to Velus Jones Jr.’s NFL career that the Chicago Bears had hoped for when they drafted him this year. General manager Ryan Poles received some fair criticism when he drafted the 25-year-old in the third round. Poles said after the draft that age was a plus for the Bears rookie as he’d bring maturity and would be pro-ready this season.
Jones’ start to the season has been a mixed bag. Jones battled a hamstring injury that kept him sidelined for the first three weeks. (He also had hamstring issues in college.) He’s been limited in the offense since returning in Week 4. However, Jones was able to score a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings. Offense aside, the Bears rookie has been awful at special teams. And that was what he was supposed to excel at in Chicago. Jones has fumbled the ball in crucial moments twice for the Bears.
— Cover 3 Dynasty (@Cover3Dynasty) October 14, 2022
He’s also just made dumb decisions.
Not only is Velus Jones dropping punts he’s not fielding punts that he should. This ball drops at the 20 and the Bears lose 15 yards of much needed field position bc he doesn’t catch it. #DaBears #Bears pic.twitter.com/1rmycyLH7I
— Clay Harbor (@clayharbs82) October 14, 2022
The Bears might move on at returner
Two fumbles in three games are concerning. Before the Bears’ Week 7 game, the team appears to be trying out other players for punt and kick return duties. According to Chris Emma with 670 The Score, the Bears special-teams coordinator said Friday that he wasn’t set on who would return kicks against the New England Patriots. Richard Hightower suggested that safety Eddie Jackson, cornerback Josh Blackwell, and wide receiver Dante Pettis are also contending for the job.
Bears special-teams coordinator Richard Hightower declined to reveal whether rookie Velus Jones Jr. will continue as the punt returner. He said there's an ongoing competition for that role, which includes Eddie Jackson, Josh Blackwell and Dante Pettis.
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) October 21, 2022
This is about as disastrous of a start as Jones could have, and it’s making the new regime look bad for drafting him so high this year. The Bears rookie had said he was “manifesting” success while rehabbing his hamstring. So far, that visualization has yet to come to fruition. If Jones gets the opportunity to return kicks against the Patriots, he needs to hold on to the ball and make the most of what could be limited opportunities with the Bears.
Velus Jones Jr. on how he can help Justin Fields/Bears offense: "I can help him out a lot. That’s why they drafted me early in the third round. That’s really been on my mind. I’ve been visualizing that and manifesting, so when that day comes, I’m definitely going to go out there
— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) September 28, 2022
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