Well so much for my pick that recently signed cornerback Brandon Boykin would be a player to watch this season… Boykin’s 2016 season is over after being placed on injured reserve when he suffered a pectoral injury on just his 2nd day of training camp with the Bears. It’s a tough break as Boykin has proven to be a play-maker at cornerback in his four years in the league, with eight interceptions and five forced fumbles in just seven starts.
Boykin played well late in the 2015 season with the Steelers after being stuck on the bench most of the year due to issues with the coaching staff. It’s tough luck for the Bears as Boykin hadn’t missed a game in his four NFL season. The Bears also lost free agent signings T Nate Chandler and C Manny Ramirez to retirement earlier this offseason.
With Boykin out for the season, the Bears signed cornerback Joel Ross as a replacement. The Cowboys signed Ross as an undrafted free agent out of Appalachian St in 2015 and he spent some time with the Bucs before being released and signed by the Bears today.
Ross (5’10, 182) has yet to appear in an NFL game, but was signed as an undrafted free agent after an impressive pro day where he ran a 4.40 40-time, with rumored times as low as 4.33. Ross has some potential, but is a huge downgrade from a proven play-maker like Boykin.
If that wasn’t bad enough news, Alshon Jeffery missed his 2nd consecutive day of practice with a hamstring injury (what a surprise). With Jeffery declining to sign a long-term deal with the Bears I assumed he would make an effort to play through minor tissue injuries and maybe he will once the season starts, but already being hurt this early in camp is a bad sign.
There was some good injury news for the Bears as free agent guard Amini Silatolu passed his physical. Simatolu was one of my favorite free agent moves of the offense and he could be a key contributor at guard or even tackle if needed.
The Bears made another roster move today with the signing of fullback Darrel Young, who played with the Redskins the last six seasons. New Bears OC Dowell Loggains is expected to use a fullback in short-yardage sets instead of the three-TE formations former OC Adam Gase preferred.
Young, 29, started 36 games for the Skins and appeared in 90 total with 609 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns. Young is known as a solid lead blocker with decent hands in the flat and is an excellent special teams player.
He’ll compete with 2nd year player (and former rugby star) Paul Lasike for the fullback role on the Bears final 53-man roster. In a corresponding move, the Bears released undrafted rookie TE/FB Joe Sommers.
It’s been a rough training camp for the Bears already with multiple injuries to key players and a couple of retirements. Hopefully this is the last of the bad news and the Bears will stay mostly healthy the rest of training camp.