Bears Playmaker Sounds Off on Breaking Record Amid Broken Season

Bears Record

Another Chicago Bears season ends in double-digit losses for the second year in a row. It is the sixth time in the last nine years. This one, however, has a different feel to it. And it’s not just because there seemed to be an understanding that their Week 18 tilt against the Minnesota Vikings would be better lost than won either.

The Bears will go into the offseason with an understanding that Justin Fields is their franchise quarterback. This should (which cannot be emphasized enough) allow them to operate with a better, more encouraging process in the offseason.

But the futility of this season did not reach the players – they cannot afford it to.

Along the way, the Bears broke several league and franchise records. That now includes the single-season franchise rushing record thanks to rookie wide receiver Velus Jones Jr.

Velus Jones Jr. Sounds Off on Etching Name in the History Books

Have Yourself A Day

There were signs that Jones would make a big play early in the contest – he caught a pass from fill-in starting quarterback Nathan Peterman for a nice 28-yard gain in the first quarter, drawing an illegal contact penalty (which the Bears declined) in the process on Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson.

Jones was quiet the rest of the quarter outside of a but had the Bears’ play of the game in the second quarter when he took an end around 42 yards to paydirt. The score was nice but Jones also showcased some nice footwork in negotiating the sideline to the end zone.

“I had ‘The Bulldozer’…[Khari Blasingame] ahead of me,” Jones said. “I has hiding away from the DB because he was trying to find an angle to get around me. I used my good blocker, KB, he sealed the deal for me. And, so when he finally committed outside, KB washed him down and just stayed in bounds and took off.”

Jones etched his name into franchise history with the carry.

The score is just Jones’ second of an up-and-down rookie season that saw him generate plenty of buzz despite being a later-round pick and older (25) than most rookies. Fields reportedly liked him pre-draft leading in part to Jones being drafted to Chicago.

Slow Out of the Gates

It was slow going for a while. Jones did not get much run during the preseason as he battled through injury. And, once he did finally get on the field, he found himself turning the ball over. Jones notched two lost fumbles in the first three weeks of the season. That only served to further stunt his growth as his ball security issues saw him removed from even returning kicks.

“I feel like in life itself, including football, everything’s a lesson,” he said sounding very philosophic. “God don’t make no mistakes. And so I feel like using this fuel going into next season will be major and turn this whole thing around.”

Jones had just five targets heading into the Bears’ Week 14 bye.

But things have taken a positive turn of late with the speedster garnering seven looks in the three weeks the Bears have been back leading into the finale and another pair in the game.

Bears LB Sounds Off on Silver Lining Amid Lost Season

That is nowhere near where he nor the Bears envisioned when he was billed as an offensive weapon – he does have nine carries on the season including the record-breaker. This offseason the Bears will presumably be looking to add to the wide receiver room. Jones has his work cut out for him but does have the added benefit of being drafted by this regime.

“I gave my all for my teammates and they gave their all for me,” Jones said. “At the end of the day it’s a brotherhood and we love each other and we go out there and lay our lives on the line each and every day for each other. So, it’s just a blessing to be with these guys.”

It will be just as interesting to see how much faith and patience they show in him as it will be to see how he comes back next year. He’s still the second-fastest player on the team behind Fields himself.

Never Settle, Never Surrender

The Bears’ season ended on a 10-game losing streak but there were several positives including the franchise rushing record. But Jones isn’t satisfied just hanging his hat on that one aspect of a long season.

“That’s good,” he said. “But overall, the bigger picture is about the team and stuff. And we didn’t have the season we wanted to. But it’s about everybody coming back to work, putting their all into this organization for the Bear. And so, everybody take a mental break this offseason and stuff but get back to work and better yourself.”

The Bears have a lot to work on and a roster that is sure to look very different come the spring.

Jones isn’t concerned with whether or not he will be around, saying the coaches “know what I can do” before speaking of the things he wants to work on this offseason.

“I would say the No. 1 thing I want to work on this offseason is,” he paused before continuing, “I want to do a lot of meditation and stuff like that. I feel like that plays a big part, calming yourself down when things are not going your way…And also, I mean obviously, perfect my craft when it comes to being a returner, when it comes to being a receiver.”

Perhaps Jones picked up the idea from his quarterback Fields whose breathing techniques learned through yoga saw the second-year passer become a meme.

Not surprisingly, Fields is also the greatest source of hope at Halas Hall, a palpable feeling.

“We know that we can compete with anybody in this league, especially win,” Jones affirmed. “You seen all the close games and stuff we didn’t finish off. So, like I said, use that fuel going into next season, remembering this feeling. Especially seeing these other teams that’s about to go into the playoffs and play. Use that as fuel as you’re training, bettering yourself.”

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