One of the most discussed topics following the Bears 26-23 overtime loss to the Saints on Sunday was the ejection of wide receiver Javon Wims. Wims was ejected after punching Saints cornerback Chauncey Garner-Johnson and received a two-game suspension from the league on Monday. With the suspension being upheld, along with the release of fellow wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr on Wednesday, the Bears will, in all likelihood, have second-year receiver Riley Ridley make his 2020 debut.



Ridley has been a healthy inactive this entire season due in part to the deep depth the Bears have at the wide receiver position with Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Darnell Mooney, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Wims. The lack of a preseason schedule or training camp also hurt Ridley’s chance to see the field during the first half of the season.

It has been intriguing as to why Ridley hasn’t seen the field given his draft-day hype and what he showed at the end of last season. The fourth-round selection from Georgia was viewed as one of the biggest steals of the entire draft, given his route running ability. After making his debut on Thanksgiving, Ridley caught six passes for 69 yards in the team’s final four games.

In the team’s season finale against the Minnesota Vikings, the Georgia receiver recorded a majority of his receptions as he caught three passes for 54 yards. Ridley caught the most important pass of the game, which led to Eddy Pinerio’s game-winning field goal. On a 4th and nine with less than three minutes to go, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky rolled to his right and connected with the rookie receiver for a 32-yards pass. The catch helped the Bears finish the season at 8-8.

It will be interesting to see the role Ridley will play starting Sunday against the Titans. With Robinson, Miller, and Mooney most likely seeing a majority of the snaps, Ridley could play a role as both a possession receiver or a deep threat receiver. The second-year receiver has a decent catch radius due to his size and has shown an ability to make plays down-field.

The Bears are desperate for a win, and any production on offense would make a difference. Ridley, when drafted, had a lot of potential surrounding him but has yet to live up to that potential so far. With his second season debut coming against the Titans on Sunday, it will be interesting to see what he can do to help a struggling offense.

 

Steve Pusch
Eastern Illinois University graduate, Steve earned a Bachelor’s in Journalism with a concentration in sports. While at EIU, Steve co-hosted a weekly radio sports talk show focused on Chicago.