Chicago Bears coach Matt Eberflus met with reporters Monday to recap his team’s 30-12 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders at Soldier Field.
Here are three things we learned from that session.
1. Rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent is likely to start against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Eberflus said after Sunday’s game that quarterback Justin Fields would return to the starting job when his right thumb heals. But that isn’t likely to happen this week.
Eberflus said Fields is doubtful to play in the “Sunday Night Football” game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., because he is “just not there yet” in his recovery. Eberflus didn’t offer many other details besides saying Fields is “progressing” while working with trainers. He reiterated that Fields is not on a path to needing surgery.
The Bears previously said Fields needs to improve his grip strength before he can return.
Bagent, an undrafted rookie from Division II Shepherd, is in line to get another start after completing 21 of 29 passes for 162 yards with one touchdown, no turnovers and one sack in the victory. He also ran for 24 yards on three carries.
Eberflus complimented Bagent’s sense of when and how to get the ball out against a Raiders defense led by Pro Bowl end Maxx Crosby.
“It must be those 7,000 passes he’s thrown in his life,” Eberflus said. “He’s got a good knack for that. He really does. He understands the play design. He understands where it’s supposed to go, and he gets rid of it in a timely fashion.
“Even when it was off schedule in terms of the pressure, he was able because he’s athletic enough to be able to evade. He had that nice scramble on the first touchdown (drive).”
The Bears relied primarily on their rushing attack and short passing game against the Raiders, a plan Eberflus said was both opponent-specific and based on it being Bagent’s first NFL start. But he said Bagent’s skill set “no question” would allow the Bears to open up the offense.
“Yeah, he’s a rhythm and timing passer, and he’s got all the ability to do all those things,” Eberflus said.
2. Jaylon Johnson’s contract situation remains up in the air.
The veteran cornerback has 10 games left on his rookie deal and has been motivated all year to prove he’s worth signing to a lucrative multiyear extension. Johnson added to his case Sunday with two fourth-quarter interceptions, including one he returned 39 yards for a touchdown.
Negotiations, of course, are left up to general manager Ryan Pace and Johnson’s representatives. Therefore it was no surprise Eberflus was vague in answering questions Monday about Johnson’s contract status.
He had no problem, though, praising Johnson as a defensive difference maker who continues to develop, has improved his tackling and fits well in the Bears system.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked,” Eberflus said. “He was really good in training camp. He’s worked every single day during that process. He’s worked on his craft.
“He has always been really good in terms of being sticky at the top of routes and being able to close distances and make plays on the ball. Now he’s starting to make those interceptions (too), which is positive.”
3. Right guard Nate Davis will miss another game with an ankle injury.
Davis will miss his second straight game with the injury he suffered in Week 6, and Eberflus classified him as “week to week.”
The Bears offensive line had one of its better games after moving left guard Teven Jenkins to the right side and putting Cody Whitehair at left guard against the Raiders. And they potentially could get another starter back.
Eberflus said he would update the status of left tackle Braxton Jones on Wednesday. Jones is on injured reserve with a neck injury, and Eberflus said his window to return from IR “could potentially open up” this week. Larry Borom has been filling in for Jones.
Rookie running back Roschon Johnson is likely to return this week after missing the last two games with a concussion. Eberflus said Johnson has one more hurdle to clear before practicing Wednesday.
The Bears have relied on D’Onta Foreman and Darrynton Evans while Khalil Herbert (ankle) and Johnson have been out. Foreman had 16 carries for 89 yards and two touchdowns Sunday, plus three catches for 31 yards and a touchdown, and Evans had 14 carries for 48 yards.