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Bears Make Clear Statement on Velus Jones' Future Before OTAs


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Vince Carbonneau
May 13, 2024  (10:08)
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Velus jones Jr.
Photo credit: BearsWire

Velus Jones Jr. has yet to establish himself as a significant offensive player for the Chicago Bears throughout his first two seasons. However, with the introduction of new NFL kickoff rules for the 2024 season, the Bears appear increasingly optimistic about his ability to revolutionize the game as their kickoff returner.

During the final day of rookie minicamp on May 11, Bears special teams coordinator Richard Hightower highlighted Jones' potential under the new kickoff regulations he helped develop. These changes aim to encourage more returns by eliminating fair catches and establishing a "landing zone" for returners. Under these rules, the kicking team's players, except for the kicker, must line up at the opposing 40, while the receiving team's non-returners are positioned between their own 30 and 35-yard lines. This setup allows only the kicker and the two designated return specialists to move before the ball is touched or hits the ground.
Hightower emphasized Jones' formidable combination of speed and power, likening him to "a freight train running at you." He anticipates that Jones will handle the ball more frequently, enhancing his impact as a dynamic playmaker.
Despite his modest offensive stats—281 scrimmage yards in 26 games and more rushing attempts (17) than receptions (11)—Jones has excelled as a kickoff returner. With an average of 27.4 yards over 38 returns, he ranks among the NFL's top kickoff returners in recent seasons. He has also demonstrated reliability in ball security as a kick returner, with no fumbles recorded in this role.
Looking ahead to 2024, the Bears are evaluating whether Jones' prowess as a returner will suffice to secure his spot on the roster. His potential contribution to the receiving corps could also play a critical role, especially with the arrival of talents like Keenan Allen and rookie Rome Odunze. Jones, with two more years on his cost-effective rookie contract, must now prove his versatility and utility in the Bears' offensive strategies during the upcoming OTAs and training camp to solidify his role.
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MAY 13   |   85 ANSWERS
Bears Make Clear Statement on Velus Jones' Future Before OTAs

Do you think Velus Jones will secure his roster spot for 2024?

Yes2428.2 %
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