Struggles continue for Bears WR Velus Jones Jr.
Despite having spurts of game-changing speed, Bears WR Velus Jones Jr. has struggled to catch the ball on both offense and special teams throughout his first two years in the NFL. In his rookie year (2022), he coughed up three punts throughout the season, and was then replaced. To begin the preseason in 2023, the 26 year-old second year reclaimed his spot as the punt-returner, until fumbling yet again in the preseason opener against the Titans. Since week one of the preseason, WR Trent Taylor has assumed the duty of punt-returner while Jones Jr. has been designated to the kick-returner.
Velus Jones Jr. misplays a Tress Way punt, giving the Commanders great field position. pic.twitter.com/u0HJGdsSVW
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) October 14, 2022
It was not until the Bears Week 8 matchup against the Chargers that we would see the return of Jones Jr.’s struggles. With the Bears down 17-0 with five minutes left in the second quarter, quarterback Tyson Bagent hurled a deep pass to a wide-open Jones Jr. in the end-zone. Not only did he slip, but he dropped the ball that hit him in the hands for what would’ve been a touchdown.
Bears, noooooooooo pic.twitter.com/zkeZ84af4f
— Christian D'Andrea (@TrainIsland) October 30, 2023
Velus Jones Jr.’s inability to catch the football in any scenario is a big liability in a hit-or-miss Bears offense. Because of this, many fans and analysts believe that he should be cut from the team. Former Bears defensive end Alex Brown even said that “This should be his last game on the roster” when discussing his future on the team.
"This should be his last game on the roster"
– Alex Brown on Velus Jones Jr. pic.twitter.com/wZLDhdkjJU
— Bears Talk (@NBCSBears) October 30, 2023
What should Chicago do with Velus Jones Jr.?
Bears General Manager Ryan Poles drafted the wide-receiver out of Tennessee with the 71st overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft. Jones Jr. had just finished his sixth and most successful year as a college football player when he was picked in the third round. Despite being picked as a wide-receiver, he has primarily been used on special teams as a return man, or a hybrid back on offense that occasionally gets a catch or two.
After being given multiple second-chances, it will be interesting to watch how the Bears address Jones Jr.’s continued struggles.
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