Major concerns: Bears LB Roquan Smith, WR Darnell Mooney miss practice
All signs point to the Bears needing to plan to go without those two for the playoff game at the Saints on Sunday.
It’s looking more and more likely that the Bears will be without two of their best players when they visit the Saints for a wild-card playoff game Sunday. Inside linebacker Roquan Smith and wide receiver Darnell Mooney missed the team’s walkthrough Wednesday.
Coach Matt Nagy declined to give an update, saying everyone will have to wait until the final injury report Friday.
Given the nature of the injuries, how quickly they were ruled out when they got hurt against the Packers and the fact that they were unable to participate in something lighter than an actual practice, it seems that the Bears need to prepare to go without those two.
That means they’d rely on wide receiver Anthony Miller to be a bigger factor and give third-year linebacker Josh Woods his first career start in a playoff game.
Woods played 28 defensive snaps — his career total was 18 before that — against the Packers after Smith injured his elbow in the first quarter. Smith was sixth in the NFL in tackles (139) and fourth in tackles for loss (18) and had two interceptions, four sacks and a forced fumble while playing 95% of the snaps for the season.
Mooney has been one of the top rookie receivers in the NFL with 61 catches, 631 yards and four touchdowns. He overtook Miller in the offense almost as soon as he arrived and played 73% of the snaps to Miller’s 55%.
Against the Packers, Mooney led the Bears with 11 catches for 93 yards before hurting his ankle early in the fourth quarter and immediately being ruled out for the rest of the game.
Miller dropped off from last season in catches (52 to 49) and receiving yards (656 to 485) and had two touchdowns. He had seven games of two or fewer catches.
The Bears have little at wide receiver after Allen Robinson, Mooney and Miller. Javon Wims had six catches this season; Riley Ridley had four.