NEW ORLEANS — Already down two of their best players, the Bears also won’t have cornerback Jaylon Johnson for their playoff game against the Saints on Sunday. He is inactive for the fourth game in a row.
Johnson, the team’s best corner other than Kyle Fuller, has been out since hurting his shoulder Dec. 13 against the Texans. The Bears have been calling him week-to-week since then. He was limited in practice during the week, leading to optimism that he was trending toward being available.
The team already ruled out linebacker Roquan Smith and wide receiver Darnell Mooney, both of whom were injured last week against the Packers and didn’t practice all week.
Here are the Bears’ inactives:
WR Darnell Mooney
OL Lachavious Simmons
LB Roquan Smith
OLB Trevis Gipson
CB Buster Skrine
CB Jaylon Johnson
NT Daniel McCullers
Smith hurt his elbow in the first quarter and Mooney hurt his ankle in the fourth. Bears coach Matt Nagy declined to give any specifics on their injuries and listed them as questionable on Friday, but that appeared to be a smokescreen. Both players were declared out Saturday afternoon.
The Bears will attempt to replace those players’ production in various ways.
At wide receiver, Anthony Miller likely will have an increased role after sitting behind Mooney in the pecking order most of the season. Javon Wims probably will play more, too.
Josh Woods is next in line behind Smith, though he’s dealing with through toe and glute injuries that appeared to be suffered in practice Wednesday or Thursday. Woods played 28 snaps in place of Smith last week; his career total before that was 18.
The Bears also promoted linebacker Manti Te’o from their practice squad, and he is expected to make his franchise debut against his former team. Te’o, from Notre Dame, was a second-round pick of the Chargers and played for the Saints from 2017 through ‘19. He has been on the Bears’ practice squad since mid-October.
The Saints will be without defensive end Trey Hendrickson, but they have star running back Alvin Kamara and wide receiver Michael Thomas active for the game.