The Chicago Bears have committed a number of errors this season. Those mistakes have prevented them from being more consistent and winning games. One of the players who has caught the ire of the fans with a number of mistakes is Velus Jones.
Jones is the Chicago Bears' third-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. It was a controversial pick, as many draft scouts projected him as a fifth-round pick. So far, picking him in the fifth round would have been a mistake, let alone in the third round.
Last season, Jones had two muffed punts that led to two losses. He also failed to carve out a spot on the wide receiver unit despite the absence of a lot of talent. That lack of talent was even worse when Darnell Mooney, the best receiver on the roster, had his season cut short.
This season, Jones' struggles have continued. He still can't find himself on the field as a receiver despite his blazing speed. When he does get a chance, he blows it. His time in Chicago might forever be associated with his infamous drop in Week 8's loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Jones was wide open in the end zone. Suddenly, however, he fell down. Despite that, he still had the opportunity to make the catch. While lying on his back, the ball fell right on him. He bobbled the ball and then dropped it. The video will haunt his career. It was far from his only mistake.
Special teams coach Richard Hightower said Velus Jones' penalty on a punt was unacceptable. It is the only criticism of Jones to come from the Chicago Bears coaching staff.
In their Week 9 loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Bears were down just 7 in the fourth quarter. They were trying to move the ball so they could tie the game. On one drive, they had to punt. Punter Trent Gill had to punt from his own end zone. He did a good job of getting the ball on the New Orleans side of the field. The Saints had good field position at their 47, but it could have been worse.
Then a Jones mistake did make it worse.
Jones was called for a facemask penalty even though he was far away from the play. That gave the Saints another 15 yards. They took over at the Chicago Bears' 38. It also put the Saints near field goal position without running a play.
We have not heard much criticism of Jones coming from head coach Matt Eberflus or general manager Ryan Poles. We have finally heard a coach criticize Jones, however. Special teams coach Richard Hightower spoke on Jones' facemask penalty last week.
"We have a penalty, which is a bad penalty 20 yards away from the play. Which then moves the ball 15 yards close to right outside field goal (range). So our defense held, and Kyler, as we talked about earlier, forced a missed kick from their kicker.- Richard Hightower
But that is unacceptable. It’s an unacceptable penalty. And why?
Because we pride ourselves on situational football, and in that situation, we could have had the ball at the 50-yard line..."
Could this be the start of the end of Jones' time in Chicago? The fans certainly want him out. Many of them have been calling for his head since the end of last season. They did not expect to see him on the roster after Poles added a lot of talent to the team. He is still there, however. How much longer might now be in question.
Some people feel that the fact that Jones was the third-round pick is a reason why Jones is still on the roster. However, Poles has shown to be someone who cuts his losses when his moves don't work. He cut P. J. Walker despite signing him to a three-year contract. Additionally, he shipped Chase Claypool despite giving up a second-round pick to acquire him. It should go to show that he would have no problem cutting Jones since he has struggled.
It is rare to see an assistant publicly criticize a player when the head coach does not do it. If it does happen it could be the start of the team looking to part ways with the player. There are plenty of receivers who have seen fewer snaps than he yet have better numbers.
It is time to see how those other players do when they receive more snaps. The Bears have likely seen enough snaps from Jones to determine that he is not a part of the team's future.