The Bears announced on Wednesday morning that Justin Fields will not play in Sunday’s season finale due to a hip injury. A few hours later the team revealed three more players will be put on injured reserve, ending their seasons as well. The Bears placed Teven Jenkins, Michael Schofield and Josh Blackwell on IR on Wednesday, meaning players deep down the depth chart will have an opportunity to start against the Vikings in Week 18.
Jenkins hurt his neck in the first quarter of Week 15’s game against the Eagles and had to be taken off the field on a stretcher and sent to the hospital for testing. However, he made a quick recovery and started again at right guard in Week 17. Unfortunately Jenkins re-injured that neck in his first game back. Schofield replaced Jenkins at right guard, but not long after Schofield went down with a knee injury. So the Bears turned to their third-string guard, Dieter Eiselen, who struggled in his 29 relief snaps. Of those 29 snaps, 19 were pass blocking opportunities according to PFF, and Eiselen allowed five pressures on those 19 opportunities. The Bears used a rotation between Eiselen and Larry Borom at left guard when Cody Whitehair missed Week 16, so they could try that again this Sunday. Alex Leatherwood is an option as well, but Leatherwood has only played tackle this season and was made inactive last week, behind Eiselen and Borom.
It’s unclear when Blackwell hurt himself, or how he hurt himself. He didn’t appear on the injury report last week and seemed to finish last week’s game. Regardless, Blackwell’s absence is another blow to a secondary that’s been decimated this year. The Bears have already placed Jaylon Johnson and Kindle Vildor on IR. Further, Jaylon Jones suffered a concussion last week and remained in the protocol on Wednesday. That leaves the Bears with Kyler Gordon, Harrison Hand, Breon Borders and Michael Ojemudia as the only healthy cornerbacks on the active roster. The Bears signed Borders to their practice squad on Nov. 22 and signed him to the active roster on Dec. 24. They claimed Ojemudia off waivers on Dec. 28. Blackwell has also been one of the Bears’ best special teams players all season.
In corresponding moves, the Bears also signed linebacker DeMarquis Gates, defensive lineman Jalyn Holmes and defensive lineman Terrell Lewis from the practice squad to the active roster.
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