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Why did Bears put Johnson on IR? | Chalk Talk

Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson
Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on

Why did the Bears put Jaylon Johnson on injured reserve last week? I thought the plan was to see if he could play against the Bills with a club on his hand.
Thomas P. Wheeling, Illinois

Cornerback Jaylon Johnson was limited in practice last Thursday due to a broken ring finger. But he sat out Friday's practice and was then placed on injured reserve later in the day. Coach Matt Eberflus explained following Saturday's loss to the Bills that Johnson wanted to play, but both the player and the team ultimately felt it was best to shut him down for the season. Said Eberflus: "It was an interesting week with that because we wanted him to go. He wanted to go. We worked him through the early part of the week, and then working with the doctors, with [general manager] Ryan [Poles] and I and also the player, at the end of the day he didn't feel comfortable. We didn't feel comfortable putting him out there in a situation to be able to execute the right way to play his position with his ring finger. It was a broken ring finger, so we thought it was in the best interest for our organization to put him onto IR." Johnson addressed the situation during his weekly appearance on WSCR-AM 670 Monday, saying on the "Parkins & Spiegel Show" that he didn't want to risk further injuring the finger which may have required surgery.

If by chance the Bears and Texans end up with the same number of losses, does the tie the Texans have give them the higher draft spot or will that go to the Bears?
Las Vegas, Nevada

The Bears (3-12) are currently a half-game ahead of the Texans (2-12-1) in the standings (and behind them in the draft order) by virtue of Houston's one tie. So, assuming neither team ties either of their final two games, the Bears would only earn the No. 1 overall pick if the Texans gain a game on the Bears in the standings. The Texans close the season against the Jaguars and Colts, while the Bears face the Lions and Vikings.

It looks like Alex Leatherwood barely played against the Bills. What do you make of that?
Bill S.

You are correct in that Alex Leatherwood only played one snap versus the Bills. He had been rotating in at right tackle the previous few games, but veteran Riley Reiff played every snap at that position. There was speculation that Leatherwood would see some action at guard with starters Cody Whitehair and Teven Jenkins inactive due to injuries. But Larry Borom and Michael Schofield III started at guard and Dieter Eiselen played 28 snaps in relief, first at right guard after Schofield exited briefly with a thumb injury and later rotating in for Borom at left guard. Coach Matt Eberflus explained that Eiselen earned the opportunity by performing well in practice, saying: "Dieter did a nice job. We thought he warranted a rotation in there with Larry, so it was just that. Everything's based off practice." In terms of Leatherwood, I assume he needs to show improvement in practice to get more chances to play in games.

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