Before the 2020 season began, the Bears had major questions to answer at inside linebacker depth. Considering both Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith missed time the year prior, and backup Nick Kwiatkowski signed with the Las Vegas Raiders in the offseason, the Bears were looking at inserting either Josh Woods or Joel Iyiegbuniwe at linebacker if either starter went down in 2020.
Fortune favored the Bears during the regular season, and both Trevathan and Smith have been healthy enough to start all 16 games so far this year. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the Bears’ postseason. Early in the week 17 matchup against the Green Bay Packers, Roquan Smith pursued running back Jamaal Williams on a outside run route. As he teamed with Akiem Hicks to bring Williams to the turf, his elbow appeared to bend the wrong direction. Smith exited the game and did not return.
The fear is that he dislocated his elbow and will miss the remainder of the season, but so far there has been no concrete news on his status.
Head coach Matt Nagy didn’t elaborate on Smith’s injury at his press conference today, but the injury report indicated that had the Bears conducted an actual practice, and not just a walk-through, Smith would have received the DNP (did not practice) designation.
Also getting a DNP today due to injury were wide out Darnell Mooney (ankle) and nickel Buster Skrine (concussion). Rumors have circulated around social media that Mooney intends to play, but the final decision on his status won’t be made until later this week.
Corner Jaylon Johnson was listed as limited with his shoulder injury, which is good news considering he’s missed the last few weeks.
But back to Roquan...
Smith was drafted by the Bears in the 1st round of the 2018 NFL Draft, number 8 overall. So far this year, he has led the team in tackles by far with 139 total, 99 solo, and 18 tackles for a loss. He was a favorite to make the Pro Bowl from Bears fans, and some may say he was snubbed when he missed the nod. Smith has often called the pre-snap adjustments for the Bears defense this year, a role he has flourished in. As the Bears enter the Superdome this Sunday, they will need others to step up if Smith can’t go.